MoMA's Feminist Future: A Picture Of Eileen Gray


WPS1 has posted the audio for MoMA's recent symposium, "The Feminist Future: Theory and Practice in the Visual Arts." Listening to a panel discussion with no access to the visuals can be a tough sell, but the two talks I heard were frankly awesome:

Artist Coco Fusco's performance as Sargeant Fusco sounded fierce and relevant, while the Guerrilla Girls, bless their hearts, sounded a bit out of touch.

The killer, though, is Beatriz Colomina's discussion of Eileen Gray and Le Corbusier. The thrust, if you will, of her presentation was that Corbu essentially raped Gray's most important architectural work, E.1027, a house she built in Roquebrune/Cap Martin on the far side of Monaco, by putting murals depicting Algerian concubines throughout the house.

It's obviously more complicated than that, and I find it remarkable that so little of what she talked about is generally known. I've heard people who should know better dismiss and diminish Gray's work as recently as 2004.

Anyway, what's also remarkable is that E1027 is still a deteriorating ruin. When I lived in Monaco in 1995-7, I tried once to find it, but no locals could figure out what I was talking about. The most comprehensive images I've seen, though, are on flickr, a photoset made by Daniel, an Irish architect, who hopped the fence in 1997 when the house was a squat [the last owner had been murdered a couple of months prior.]

I can't find any images of Gray's last house, Lou Perou, which was done near St Tropez, either. And I can't find any word on the status of her own house, Tempe a Pailla, which was inland, up the mountains from Roquebrune & Menton in the village of Castellar. How is it that no modernist pilgrims have tracked and documented this stuff?

Listen to 'The Feminist Future' on WPS1 []
E1027: A Photoset by It's Daniel [flickr]

update: Tropolist Chad points out that Colomina's talk is an architectural classic. here's the text of "Battle Lines: E.1027," from 1995, for example, a lot of which she also presented at MoMA. As Chad puts it, "Of course, if I had to pick a dozen such texts to keep bandying about, that one would be near the top of the list. " As Tropolism pointed out in Dec. 06, Colomina's paper was also reprinted in the first issue of Pin-Up Magazine.

later update: Guy points out that Lou Perou is included in Caroline Constant's 2000 monograph on Eileen Gray from Phaidon. I put it on my to-get list from the storage unit...

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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