NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Born 1968, Corduroy Freeman died today, aged 46. Noted interior decorator, artist, and author of such books as Buttons and Boudoirs, and Disappearing Landscapes: Department Stores and Beyond, Corduroy leaves behind his adoptive sister, Lisa, and his pets, Earl the squirrel and Hattie the bat.
“We don’t know where he was before he came to us,” Lisa was quoted saying in a recent New Yorker profile of Corduroy. “Mom wanted me in on the adoption process so I helped find him and when we picked him up. It was like magic—we became best friends right then.”
Corduroy himself was reticent when describing his life. “I was lucky, and I got taken in by my amazing family, and they educated me and let me follow the path I loved… Other kids made fun of me for being so into design but when I got to RISD everyone there had a passion for it and I wasn’t the odd one out anymore.”
Known to the New York design scene as an eccentric with volatile moods, he notoriously threw a vase out the window of his agent’s office when offered to his own reality TV show in which he would redesign families’ small apartments. The show’s tentative title – J-u-u-ust Right – leaked to the press, forcing Corduroy to tell reporters that he resented the allusion to the Goldilocks folk tale and was “very disappointed that these television buffoons are still playing up stupid stereotypes.” Once, when asked about the film Ted, starring a furry bear as a man’s best friend, Corduroy irately told the press to “go stuff yourselves.”
Corduroy’s artwork made a splash in the Brooklyn art scene in the mid-‘90s, when he began to experiment with room design as installation art. “It’s immersive, it’s what we live in, we live in art,” he said about his early work. “Take me for instance. I’ve always loved department stores. I love that feeling of opulence, that everything is within reach, even when it isn’t. Those places don’t really exist anymore. It’s all Amazon this and online sales that. Macy’s is maybe my favorite place in the world now.”
In a statement issued earlier today regarding Corduroy’s abrupt death, Lisa announced the cause was found to have been canine hepatitis, contracted from one of his former pets, Floaty the coyote, who died shortly before Corduroy himself. “He always had a wild side to him,” runs Lisa’s statement, “and he liked keeping familiar animals around him. All his pets were registered as Emotional Support Animals. He really needed them to do his work.”
A retrospective of Corduroy’s installation art was in the works prior to his death, and a spokesperson for MoMA has announced that the museum is honored to have the chance to “bear witness to Corduroy’s life and work in this fashion.”
The funeral will take place on November 30th, at Maple Grove Cemetery in Queens, New York. Lisa has asked that in lieu of flowers, well-wishers donate to the ASPCA.