Egg Collective show celebrates female talent and mothers

Egg Collective presents ‘Designing Women III: Mother’, until 29 May 2021, an exhibition celebrating female talent in art and design, and including work by Louise Bourgeois, Charlotte Perriand and Renate Müller alongside contemporary creatives

Modular geometric toys and playscape by Renate Muller
‘Universe II: Shadows on the Moon’ by Renate Müller; and TBT by Carolyn Salas (on the wall), part of the exhibition ‘Designing Women III: Mother’, on show in New York until 29 May 2021
(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

An art and design exhibition organised and curated by all-female trio Egg Collective and photographer Tealia Ellis Ritter celebrates female designers and motherhood. It comes as mothers around the world have been bearing the brunt of the hardship the pandemic has dealt, be it balancing being a working parent while supporting children with virtual school, or having to leave the workforce altogether in order to do so.

The show, ‘Designing Women III: Mother’, is inspired by a Harvard study that found that a large proportion of the pay gap between men and women can be explained by the so-called ‘motherhood penalty’. This stems from the belief that women who become mothers are less committed to their jobs than fathers, who, in turn, are perceived as the family breadwinners. The exhibition seeks to address this inherent societal inequity by highlighting how women who are mothers have contributed notably to the art and design canons.

This is the third exhibition by Egg Collective celebrating female designers, following a debut of the concept in 2017 during NYCxDesign, and a 2018 show titled ‘Masters, Mavericks and Mavens’

‘Designing Women III: Mother’ – celebrating female designers and artists

Female designers and curators Crystal Ellis, Hillary Petrie, Stephanie Beamer and Tealia Ellis Ritter on grey couch

Crystal Ellis, Hillary Petrie, Stephanie Beamer and Tealia Ellis Ritter, who together collaborated on the exhibition 

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

Curated together with Ritter, the sister of Egg Collective’s Crystal Ellis, the exhibition brings together historical and contemporary works from the art and design worlds by 28 women. From pieces by icons such as Louise Bourgeois, and Charlotte Perriand, whose dining table, low stool and oak and rush chair are on display, to a nature-inspired lighting piece by Jean Pelle, a site-specific installation by Rachel Cope of Calico Wallpaper, who worked alongside her six-year old daughter to create the design, and a playscape of children’s furniture by Renate Müller, the diverse array of creations mirrors the complexities of motherhood.

‘Something that we explore in this show, and in learning about the women and their practices, is how they figured out how to make it work on their terms,’ explains Ellis of the curatorial direction. ‘That’s something especially interesting to explore in art and design, because you can see how their creative processes changed or were affected sometimes by becoming a mother.’ She adds that the photographer Imogen Cunningham, whose Glacial Lily (1926) is on view, pivoted to capturing nature in her garden when she had her children, because she was mostly at home during that time.

‘We hope to foster a conversation about significant contributions made to the art and design landscape by creatives who happen to be women, and happen to be mothers’


In addition to works from recognisable names, the exhibition is filled with some surprises as well. At the entrance of the show, a silkscreen titled Dear Selma, Every Time I See A Dime, I Think of You (2010), by the mixed media artist Faith Ringgold, now in her nineties, powerfully depicts the story of Selma Burke, the African-American sculptor who created a bas-relief portrait of Franklin D Roosevelt that later appeared, albeit uncredited, on the American dime. 

Artwork by Faith Ringgold titled ‘Dear Selma, Every Time I See A Dime, I Think Of You’ on the wall

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

‘We hope to foster a conversation about significant contributions made to the art and design landscape by creatives who happen to be women, and happen to be mothers,’ says Egg Collective co-founder Hillary Petrie, who has a young child herself. ‘What kind of cultural capital are we missing out on when we consider the extraordinary hurdles presented to mothers not only during this global pandemic year, but in all years? Why are women not supported culturally in the pursuit of roles they choose? Where is the childcare and where is the paid family leave? Until we can successfully challenge the norm, this deficit will not equalise.’

She adds, ‘Since becoming a mother, I battle considerable guilt about how and where I spend my time, unable to focus on each of my roles and feel successful at each of my jobs: creative, mother, business partner, life partner. Highlighting the works of someone like Maria Pergay, an icon in my creative practice, fills me with the confidence and knowledge it can be done, and gracefully so. Moreover, I feel buoyed by the camaraderie of my contemporaries featured in the exhibition, for whom I have deep admiration. Sharing stories of how we all make it work, as creatives and mothers, pushing forward in both roles provides the understanding that I am not alone in my pursuit.’

Stone coffee table and black floor lamp

‘Armor’ floor lamp by Natasha and Helena Sultan, for Konekt; and ‘Jumbo’ coffee table (c.1970), by Gae Aulenti. 'Protective Gestures' by Tealia Ellis Ritter hangs on the wall alongside 'Two Wangs' and 'Moms' by Elizabeth Atterbury

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

White sofa and metal coffee table with colourful patchwork artwork on the wall

Tank (on the wall), by Loretta Pettway Bennett

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

Black and white photographic collage by Carmen Winant

Body Index, a 2018 photographic collage by Carmen Winant

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

Red foliage lamp on the wall and stone and glass coffee table on cream floor

‘Metaphora’ coffee table (c.1970), by Lella Vignelli; and ‘Lure Radiata’ wall light sculpture by Jean Pelle

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

Two collage artworks on the wall above two metal and wood consoles by Maria Pergay

Salute and Kick by Hannah Whitaker (on the wall); and ‘Drape Cabinet A and B’ by Maria Pergay

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

White and red artwork on the wall by Louise Bourgeois with gold boxes on plinth

Hair (2000) by Louise Bourgeois, © The Easton Foundation/VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Courtesy of Harlan & Weaver.
‘Plume’ box, ‘La Mer’ box and ‘Puzzle’ box by Line Vautrin

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

Black and white frame photograph on wall

Glacial Lily (False Hellebore), a 1926 photograph by Imogen Cunningham; and Pink Letter by Golnar Adili

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

Two gold boxes by Line Vautrin

Detail of ‘Plume’ box and ‘La Mer’ box by Line Vautrin

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

Red room divider with illustrated wallpaper and metal stool on cream floor

‘DV1’ divider by Kai Avent-deLeon; and ‘Charm’ table by Kelly Behun

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

Cream coloured modern sofa in front of painted wallpaper

Duet, a site-specific installation by Rachel Cope of Calico Wallpaper and her six-year-old daughter Willow Cope, serves as the background for the ‘Hornbake’ sofa by Egg Collective

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

Two black and white framed photographic collages hanging on painted wallpaper

Two works by Tahereh Fallahzadeh

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

Colourful textile artwork by Loretta Pettway Bennett with wooden table, stool and chair by Charlotte Perriand

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)

A wooden chair in the foreground with dark wooden shelves on the wall and golden leaves sculpture in the background

‘Bow Chair’ by Katrina Vonnegut of Vonnegut Kraft; Yucca sculpture by Luna Paiva and Egg Collective's Landry wall-mounted bookcase

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen)


‘Designing Women III: Mother’, is on show until 29 May 2021


151 Hudson Street
New York
NY 10013


Pei-Ru Keh is a former US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru held various titles at Wallpaper* between 2007 and 2023. She reports on design, tech, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru took a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars, actively seeking out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.

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