The Museum of Arts and Design
collects, displays and interprets objects that document contemporary and historic innovation in craft, art, and design. For nearly half a century, it has served as the country's premier institution dedicated to the collection and exhibition of contemporary objects created in media such as clay, glass, wood, metal and fiber. During its lengthy history
(which includes a name change from the Museum of Contemporary Crafts and two location changes in NYC - in 1986 and 2008), MAD has presented over 560 exhibitions. The museum organizes over 75 major public programs per year and welcomes over 275,00 visitors annually.
I've always liked MAD because its concurrent exhibitions are always interesting, original and eclectic, yet seem to compliment each other.
MAD's current exhibitions include "Bigger, Better, More: The Art of Viola Frey," "California Dreamers: Ceramic Artists from the MAD Collection," "Slash: Paper Under the Knife," and "Permanently MAD: Revealing the Collection."
"Bigger, Better, More: The Art of Viola Frey
" : This exhibition, on display through May 2nd, shows the sculptures of one of the most influential twentieth century sculptors. Frey
emerged in the complex (and contradictory) art world of the 1950s. She studied and lived in New Orleans early in life, and later returned to her native San Francisco in the 1960s where she devoted herself to ceramics. Her huge bricolage
sculptures were created by assembling knick-knacks (found at flea markets
). With these tacky mass-produced acquisitions, Frey innovatively crafted unique pieces with themes that countered the sentimentality and kitschy quality of their pre-constructed existence. She also tackled issues of gender, power, and societal more of the mid-twentieth century American society with images of men and women.
"California Dreamers: Ceramic Artists from the MAD Collection
" : This exhibition, on through May 2nd and displayed in conjunction with the Viola Frey show, gives a sense of the lively era in which Frey worked - the 1950s and 60s art climate in California encouraged experimentation through promoting personal and artistic freedom.
"Slash: Paper Under the Knife
" : This exhibit, which closes April 4th, examines paper in its various creative forms, exploring artists' remarkably diverse use of such a seemingly simple media . "Slash" surveys unusual paper treatments and also focuses on artists who modify books, transforming them into sculpture. Some of the pieces on display also highlight the use of cut paper for film and video animations. The exhibition is the third in MAD's Materials and Process series, which looks at the renaissance of traditional handcraft materials and techniques in the contemporary art and design realm.
"Permanently MAD: Revealing the Collection
" : The ongoing exhibition presents about 250 works from MAD's permanent collection. Many of the pieces are on view for the first time, and visitors are in for a treat as they will view phenomenal ceramic, glass, wood, metal, fiber and mixed media works.