With never-before publically exhibited works, the Bard Graduate Center (BGC) Gallery presents the first in-depth U.S. exhibition of the works of the modern architect, furniture designer, and artist Eileen Gray.
The 200-piece exhibition was curated by Cloé Pitiot, a leading Eileen Gray scholar at the Centre Pompidou in Paris; and Nina Stritzler-Levine, BGC Gallery Director and curator of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris; with help from Jennifer Goff, curator of the Eileen Gray collection at the National Museum of Ireland.
Born in Ireland in 1878, Eileen Gray was one of the few prominent female architects and designers before World War II, with work spanning photography, textiles, lacquer works, furniture, and residential interior design.
Inspired by both the Dutch de Stijl movement and Imagist literature movement of the early 20th century, Gray wove enigmas—some easier to decode than others—into her pieces, carving architectural plans into tabletops and pressing letters into drawer fronts.
“Everything is a code,” Goff said in a preview of the exhibition on February 28. “When you look at a piece by Eileen Gray, you have to try to look outside the box. If you think that something is abstract, it’s really not,” she explained, pointing to an etching of a site plan on a piece of furniture.