Museum of Arts and Design

2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019 - United States

212-299-7777

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The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) champions contemporary makers across creative fields—presenting artists, designers, and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill to their work. Since the Museum’s founding in 1956 by philanthropist and visionary Aileen Osborn Webb, MAD has celebrated all facets of making and the creative processes by which materials are transformed, from traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies. Today, the Museum’s curatorial program builds upon a rich history of exhibitions that emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, and reveals the workmanship behind the objects and environments that shape our everyday lives. MAD provides an international platform for practitioners who are influencing the direction of cultural production and driving 21st-century innovation, fostering a participatory setting for visitors to have direct encounters with skilled making and compelling works of art and design.

For information about our Covid-19 health and safety protocols, visit madmuseum.org.

Exhibits

Exhibitions on View

Craft Front & Center
Through Feb. 13, 2022

Craft was once at the margins of the art world, but no longer. Today it is front and center in art galleries, museums, and fairs, widely recognized for its expressive potential and cultural significance. Assembled from the eclectic richness of MAD’s permanent collection, Craft Front & Center brings together more than 70 iconic and lesser-known works to highlight key thematic touchpoints in craft’s history that have brought us to this moment. Challenging traditional thinking of craft as separate from fine art, the exhibition reveals the field's deep engagement in art’s major movements, such as Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, and Postmodernism, while also launching its own revolutions, particularly the elevation of women and people of color as significant artists.

The Museum of Arts and Design collection comprises over 3,000 artworks in clay, fiber, glass, metal, and wood, dating from the post-war studio craft movement through to contemporary art and design. With an aim to subvert traditional hierarchies in the arts, the collection advocates for the central role of craft in art and society. Toward that end, Craft Front & Center is organized into eight themes exploring craft’s impact. Each section is punctuated with pivotal and rarely seen works from iconic makers, such as Betty Woodman, Marvin Lipofsky, and Magdalena Abakanowicz. The exhibition also casts a fresh eye on craft’s pioneers; celebrating Olga de Amaral, Charles Loloma, Patti Warashina, and others who pushed the boundaries of materials and sought more inclusive sources of inspiration. Showcasing the diversity and expressive power of the handmade as only MAD can, the exhibition affirms craft as one of the most exciting spaces for experimentation and wonder in art today.

Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe: Tabernacles for Trying Times
Through Feb. 13, 2022

The first major museum survey of painter Carrie Moyer and sculptor Sheila Pepe, whose abstract works, rich with color and materiality, explore themes of craft, feminism, and queer activism. Highlighting the artists’ individual styles and techniques, collaborative works, and new directions, the exhibition presents their most ambitious collaboration to date. The impressively scaled Parlor for the People is a site-specific installation that reimagines the religious tradition of the tabernacle as a communal space open to all for the discussion of justice, equality, knowledge, and these “trying times.”

For Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe, the evolution of their artistic practices is inextricably linked to their twenty-five-year love story. A couple since 1998, they married in 2015. Over the decades, they have broken through homophobic and sexist barriers to build careers of international acclaim. As a painter, Moyer developed a visual language that weaves together abstraction, bodily forms, and logo-like imagery. Pepe is best known for her use of industrial materials, which she knots, knits, and crochets into monumental structures. In the exhibition, individual works from over the last decade demonstrate how Moyer and Pepe have informed each other’s development while maintaining their distinct identities as artists, scholars, women, lesbians, and activists. The couple’s more recent collaborations represent an exciting new advancement for these two radical artists’ trajectories, as together they challenge our understanding of craft while expanding definitions of abstract painting.

Beth Lipman: Collective Elegy
Jan. 2, 2022

For more than twenty years, Beth Lipman has transformed glass, metal, clay, video, and photographs into powerful statements addressing mortality, temporality, identity, and excess. The exhibition brings together a decade of work, and is the first major scholarly assessment of the artist’s career. In these turbulent times, Lipman’s art reminds us of where we came from, the subjectivity of history, and the need for harmony with the larger world.

45 Stories in Jewelry: 1947 to Now
Ongoing

MAD was an early advocate of jewelry as a form of artistic expression. Its 1956 inaugural exhibition, Craftsmanship in a Changing World, gave many Americans their first exposure to metalsmiths who were challenging the norms of conventional jewelry design and creating works rooted in sculptural experimentation. Because of the support of MAD and like-minded institutions, makers, and collectors around the world, the concept of jewelry as an art form took hold and flourished. To date, the Museum has presented more than 150 exhibitions featuring art jewelry and there are more than 950 pieces in the Museum’s permanent collection. This exhibition highlights the Museum of Arts and Design’s contributions to the field’s advancements and contextualizes the bold experimental practices of its most compelling artists within the key historical moments that ultimately broadened the scope and reach of art as a wearable medium.
Selected by an advisory committee to represent significant developments in art jewelry since the mid-century, the featured pieces showcase jewelry artists for whom anything can serve as inspiration—from a material or found object to the pressing social and political issues of our time. Unlike costume and precious jewelry, it is the concept that takes center stage in these works.

The Fisher Dollhouse: A Venetian Palazzo in Miniature
Through Sept. 26, 2021

A magnificent diorama of ten rooms filled with an eclectic range of historical and contemporary craft, art, and design rendered in miniature, the Fisher Dollhouse was created within the confines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Inspired by Venice’s glamourous Gritti Palace and memories of a world once on the move, the dollhouse provided a haven for its creator and, during the months of quarantine, an escape. Like other crafts, its making offered a form of therapy: an activity to occupy the mind and hands as a means of coping with anxiety and immobility.
Joanna Fisher is a New York-based arts patron and collector. When the city went into lockdown, she felt her world shrink…and embraced it, literally. For this project, Fisher enlisted the talents of dozens of celebrated crafts persons, designers, artisans, and artists. The house itself was made to order by British set designer Holly Jo Beck. The stunning Murano-style glass chandelier came from glass artists Mario Ramos and Mariana Grande in Madrid. A painted bombe chest and bust of Julius Caesar are by David Castillo, a miniaturist in Barcelona. Fred Cobbs, a revered miniature metalworker in Georgia, made a range of tools and other items, from a watering can to a wine vat to an espresso machine. Most extraordinary are the miniature works of contemporary art created by ten prominent international artists, among them Dustin Yellin, Ryan McGinness, Hunt Slomen, and Veronica Gaido.

Programs

Art Alive in Craft Front and Center
12–2 pm
Join us for Art Alive, a drop-in gallery visit and art-making experience for all ages. Discussions and activities are ongoing, so visitors can join at any time between 12 and 2 pm and stay as long as they like. The program is offered in accordance with the Museum’s safe social-distancing practices.

Participation in Museum Day is open to any tax-exempt or governmental museum or cultural venue on a voluntary basis. Smithsonian magazine encourages museum visitation, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of the participating museums and cultural venues, and does not subsidize museums that participate.