Client hypothetical. This is the term pioneering architect and designer Eileen Gray used to classify the many Modernist masterpieces she designed in the absence of actual paid commissions. She was simply making things because that was what she was made to do.
Gray now stands alongside other towering talents whose under-recognized body of work were later exalted by their artworld peers. First among Gray’s admirers is artist Kim Schoenstadt who spent the past two years creating an entire exhibition inspired by the way Gray essentially designed her way through the many challenges laid in her path.
The Eileen Gray project was absolutely rooted in that moment when I was just like, ‘Wait a second, this is messed up. Why is her life and work not more celebrated?’Kim SchoenstadtArtist
Enter Slowly, The Legacy of an Idea, which opened last fall in ArtCenter’s Mullin Gallery, paid homage to Eileen Gray as heroine of Twentieth Century Modernist design despite the fact that her work was often misattributed to her male collaborators and counterparts. Indeed, for much of her life, E-1027, the house she designed in the South of France, was credited to superstar designer, Le Corbusier, who did little to correct the record.
Shining a light on Gray’s legacy was a task tailor-made for Kim, an artist best known for her “mash-up drawings” layering elements of architecture and history. She’s also demonstrated an equally steadfast commitment to moving the needle toward gender parity in today’s art world through her Now Be Here project.
We were particularly fascinated by the idea of an artist who creates a body of work based on the struggles she shares with an artist from another era. It’s an act of deep empathy and bravery and a perfect example of how adversity and creativity often coexist on the path toward redemption.
Selections of music in this episode were provided by Paco Casanova and J.C. Furmanski.