Imagining Interiors at the Cheekwood Museum of Art
In the Spring of 1929, architect Bryant Fleming was commissioned to design and build a new home for the Cheek family. Now known as the Cheekwood Estate, his building and grounds have transformed into a botanical garden, contemporary art venue, and historic landmark in Nashville, TN. To honor the legacy of Bryant Fleming in Nashville and to explore the design and building process itself, Cheekwood’s upper galleries hosted a unique exhibition celebrating history of the museum. "Using Fleming as inspiration, this exhibition explores the process of creating an American Country Place Era estate, taking visitors on a journey through the development of a place like Cheekwood – with unexpected surprises along the way.” I designed and built a series of installations for the exhibit, aiming to give viewers a sense of excitement and tie Fleming’s sketchbook, one of the few original objects that remains from the project, to a particularly fruitful trip to Europe. I was fascinated to learn that the Cheeks bought furniture and textiles for their home long before it was built as they accompanied Fleming on a European tour to decide on the style for their home. Fleming then designed a a space for the their opulent belongings to live.
I wanted to bring visitors into Fleming’s creative process and multifaceted role as architect & interior designer, so I focused on visual ways to make ideas physical. Creating a fluid, sculptural line as Flemings’ drawing literally becomes a patterned bolt of fabric tumbling from a shipping crate fit captured that concept. Since my role as an artist was to offer an unexpected, thought provoking experience the gallery, I wanted the installation to connect with wider ideas about the creative process alongside Fleming’s specific experience. Cheekwood is the product of a different time in both architectural and societal attitudes, but the excitement of imagining what a space could become is the heart of all design projects today.