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The Year Ahead: MAD's 2017/2018 Exhibitions Focus on the Future of Craft

New York, NY (July 10, 2017)

Museum of Arts and Design

Studio Views: Craft in the Expanded Field
August 22, 2017–January 7, 2018

Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sound
September 14, 2017–February 25, 2018

Derrick Adams: Sanctuary
January 25–August 12, 2018

Surface/Depth: The Decorative After Miriam Schapiro
March 22–September 2, 2018

New York, NY (July 10, 2017) – The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) is proud to announce its program of exhibitions for fall 2017 and winter/spring 2018, highlighting artists and designers who expand perceptions of craft while offering new visions for its future. From exploring the relationship between design, craft, and sound to illuminating the connection between historically marginalized narratives and craft as a means of communication, MAD’s next year of programming embraces craft inclusively, incisively, and progressively.

“Since MAD’s founding in 1956, our mission has been rooted in craftsmanship and the ways that skilled makers transform the world around us,” said William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator Shannon R. Stratton. “As we look to the future of craft, MAD is embracing all of the disciplines, materials, and expressions that keep craft alive. From new technologies, materials, and experimental processes to the celebration of historic figures and the transformative ideas that pushed artistic practice forward, MAD is dedicated to highlighting the innovative makers and critical thinkers who constantly redefine what skilled making can do in, and say about, our contemporary world.”

Opening August 22, Studio Views: Craft in the Expanded Field invites four alumni of MAD’s Artist Studios Program, Sarah Zapata, LJ Roberts, Xenobia Bailey, and Maria Hupfield, to stage large-scale and immersive installations in celebration of the program’s ten-year anniversary.

And on September 14, Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sound takes over three floors of the Museum, as well as the subway station below, to explore sound as a material that is both shaped by artists and itself capable of shaping space. The exhibition includes installations by Foo + Skou, Julianne Swartz, Naama Tsabar, MSHR, Arjen Noordeman and Christie Wright, and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, among others.

In 2018, the Museum will open Derrick Adams: Sanctuary, a solo exhibition of large-scale sculptures and mixed-media collages inspired by the historic Green Book, published by New York postal worker Victor Hugo Green, and Surface/Depth: The Decorative After Miriam Schapiro, an exhibition of works by the pioneering feminist artist in conversation with works by a select group of contemporary artists whose practices are influenced by her legacy.


Museum of Arts and Design

Studio Views: Craft in the Expanded Field
August 22, 2017 to January 7, 2018

Studio Views: Craft in the Expanded Field features interdisciplinary artists at work on large-scale, immersive, and community-engaged installations that challenge and expand the boundaries of traditional craft-practice. Over the course of nineteen weeks, a total of four alumni of the Museum’s Artist Studios Program—Xenobia Bailey, Maria Hupfield, LJ Roberts, and Sarah Zapata—will be invited back to MAD for two cycles of micro-residencies, with two artists working in the gallery at a time. Alongside the gallery-situated studios will be a lounge featuring small displays of ephemera, research materials, drawings, and studio experiments, providing the public with a deeper view into the process and transdisciplinary interests of each artist.

Studio Views also features the Point of View (POV) Gallery, co-curated by the artists, who will draw artwork and supporting materials from MAD’s permanent collection in order to contextualize their work within the history of studio-craft practice. The POV Gallery highlights innovators who, like the contemporary artists creating new work at MAD, have expanded the field of craft.

Museum of Arts and Design

Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sound
September 14, 2017 to February 25, 2018

A multi-component exhibition, Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sound occupies three floors of the Museum and engages with the surrounding Columbus Circle neighborhood. Interactive installations, immersive environments, and performing objects explore how the ephemeral and abstract nature of sound is made material. Comprised of linked solo and curated projects, Sonic Arcade explores sound as substance, framing it as interdependent material that is physically crafted and transmitted through electronic circuits and signals, radio waves, and resonant bodies that create encounters that are not only heard, but felt. The exhibition features contemporary artists, designers, and performers who respond to sound’s potential as a material that influences how people experience space, their environment, and time, drawing out the ability of the auditory to provide a fresh perspective on how surroundings, and the body, are perceived and engaged. At a time when so much visual information is being dispatched, consumed, and digested, the auditory provides a compelling sensory experience that is capable of reorienting the body to consider spatial and interpersonal relationships anew.

Sonic Arcade features solo projects by Arjen Noordeman and Christie Wright, Louise Foo and Martha Skou, MSHR, Julianne Swartz, Naama Tsabar, and Studio PSK, whose project incorporates an on-site residency and activation by New York–based choreographers. In addition, Sonic Arcade includes two nested exhibitions: Subject to Gesture, curated by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, which features commissions by Emily Counts and Make Noise; and Beacon,curated by Radius, which comprises site-specific commissions by Deborah Stratman and Anna Friz, as well as a daily sound-piece broadcasted from Radius’ on-site transmitter in the gallery.


Museum of Arts and Design

Derrick Adams: Sanctuary
January 25, 2018 to August 12, 2018

In early 2018, MAD will open Derrick Adams: Sanctuary,an exhibition of large-scale sculpture, and mixed-media collage and assemblage on wood panels that reimagine safe destinations for the black American traveler during the mid-twentieth century. The body of work was inspired by The Negro Motorist Green Book, an annual guidebook for black American road-trippers published by New York mailman Victor Hugo Green from 1936 to 1966, during the Jim Crow era in America.

Referred to simply as The Green Book in its day, the publication served as a guide to finding businesses that were welcoming to black Americans, including hotels and restaurants, during an era when open and often legally prescribed discrimination against nonwhites was widespread. These designated safe spaces were places of refuge and leisure, where one could spend quality time with friends and family. The depiction of black America at leisure is a theme of continued interest to Adams, who explores how engaging in leisure as a form of relaxation and reflection can be a political act when embraced by members of black or working-class communities.

Derrick Adams is a New York–based, multidisciplinary artist working in performance, video, sound, textile- and paper-based collage, and multimedia sculpture. His practice is rooted in deconstructivist philosophies such as the fragmentation and manipulation of structure and surface, and the marriage of complex and improbable forms. Through these techniques, Adams examines the impact of popular culture and the media on the perception and construction of self-image.

Museum of Arts and Design

Surface/Depth: The Decorative After Miriam Schapiro
March 22, 2018 to September 2, 2018

In June of 2015, Miriam Schapiro, the pioneering feminist artist and founding member of the Pattern and Decoration movement, passed away at the age of ninety-one. Surprisingly, given her status as the elder stateswoman of the feminist art movement, the tremendous impact of her oeuvre on contemporary art has yet to be fully acknowledged or critically assessed. This exhibition seeks to redress this gap in the history of American art through an exploration of Schapiro’s signature femmages, the term she coined to describe her distinctive hybrid of painting and collage inspired by women’s domestic arts and crafts and the feminist critique of the hierarchy of art and craft. In examining the aesthetic and political objectives of Schapiro’s femmages, this exhibition highlights the pivotal role her work and leadership played in the expansion of the art world to include historically marginalized forms of craft, decoration, and abstract patterning associated with femininity and women’s work.

Although she is unheralded as the source, the influence of Schapiro’s subjective approach to forms of decoration can be identified today in an incredibly diverse group of artists, who continue to find inspiration in her embrace of artistic practices outside the art historical canon. To highlight this legacy, works by a select group of contemporary artists, including Edie Fake, Jasmin Sian, Ruth Root, Jeffrey Gibson, Judy Ledgerwood, Sara Rahbar, Jodie Mack, and Josh Blackwell, will be exhibited alongside Schapiro’s femmages. This juxtaposition of historic and contemporary work brings into critical focus the tremendous role Schapiro’s femmages played in the reframing of craft and decoration, while shining a light on the way artists today, both distinguished and emerging, continue to approach the decorative as a language of abstraction tied to the personal and the political.


The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) champions contemporary makers across creative fields and presents the work of artists, designers, and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill. 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 twenty-first-century innovation, and fosters a participatory setting for visitors to have direct encounters with skilled making and compelling works of art and design. The Museum will be celebrating its Diamond Jubilee 60th Anniversary this year.


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