Last week I saw ‘Beauty’, the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial at the San Jose Museum of Art.  

Divided into seven themes -- extravagant, intricate, ethereal, transgressive, emergent, elemental and transformative – it is a thought provoking feast. Three standouts for me:

PolyThread Knitted Textile Pavilion by Jenny Sabin. Polythread yarn can absorb and collect light during the day and deliver it at night. It is a stunning structure, wonderful to walk in and around, to look at up close and far away. Exciting and uplifting to think of where this could go. Transformative indeed.  

Also in the ‘transformative’ section of the exhibition were 3D-printed glass vessels with lights suspended above on pendulums.  When the lights move, the light patterns change. These were ethereal, exquisite, transfixing. As it was put to me that day, what is the art: the vessels or the light patterns they create? by Neri Oxman + MIT Media Lab Mediated Matter Group.

And last, Tuomas Markunpoika’s powerful piece ‘Cabinet’, part of the ‘ethereal’ section. From the wall label: "In honor of his grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, Markunpoika created his Engineering Temporality (2012) series by welding hand-cut rings of tubular steel over a traditional wooden cabinet. He burned away the cabinet, leaving behind a shell of blackened metal rings, a ghost or shadow of the original form." Intensely moving.

The exhibition is on until February 19, 2017. I highly recommend it.