National Design Triennial: Why Design Now?

May 14, 2010 – January 9, 2011
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York

Bleached Reef, part of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Triennial: Why Design Now?

Alyssa Gorelick

Why Design Now? is the fourth iteration of the National Design Triennial held at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. This year’s theme focuses on artists and designers “addressing human and environmental problems across many fields of design practice.”

The Bleached Reef is a small and particularly delicate component of the Institute For Figuring’s Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project that uses feminine handicraft as a medium to construct an artistic simulation of living reefs. The Crochet Reef project, which now engages thousands of people and dozens of communities all over the world, is an elegiac response to the destruction of coral reefs that is being caused by global warming and ocean acidification. The Bleached Reef itself offers a quiet, domestically inflected meditation on the environmental tragedy of coral bleaching. Just as living corals are colonial organisms whose beauty results from a co-operative community of tiny coral polyps, so too, the Bleached Reef has been made by a cooperating community of dedicated female crafters.

Additional collaborators to the Bleached Reef

  • Lily M. Chin
  • Ellen Davis
  • Dagmar Frinta
  • Evelyn Hardin
  • Helle Jorgensen
  • Nancy Lewis
  • Anna Mayer
  • Heather McCarren
  • Marianne Midelburg
  • Arlene Mintzer
  • Jill Schreier
  • Nadia Severns
  • Sarah Simons
  • Pamela Stiles
  • Barbara Van Elsen
  • Ann Wertheim
  • Barbara Wertheim

Thank you also to the Chinese factory workers and unknown doily makers who contributed to this project.