Museum of Arts and Design

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Coordinates: 40°46′3″N 73°58′55″W / 40.76750°N 73.98194°W / 40.76750; -73.98194

Museum of Arts and Design
Museum of Arts & Design (logo).png
Established 1956
Location 2 Columbus Circle
Manhattan, New York City
Type Art museum
Director Glenn Adamson[1]
Curator David Revere McFadden, Lowery Stokes Sims

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), based in Manhattan, New York City, is a center for the collection, preservation, study, and display of contemporary handmade objects in a variety of media, including: clay, glass, metal, fiber, and wood. It accommodates 300,000 visitors per year, however, touring exhibitions, outreach efforts, and off-site programs effectively double that audience.

The museum was founded in 1956 by the American Craft Council together with philanthropist Aileen Osborn Webb, as the Museum of Contemporary Crafts. In 1986, it relocated to 40 West 53rd Street and was renamed the American Craft Museum. In 2002 it changed its name again to the Museum of Arts and Design. In 2008, the museum moved to 2 Columbus Circle.

2 Columbus Circle location[edit]

The new location at 2 Columbus Circle, with more than 54,000 square feet (5,000 m2), more than tripled the size of the Museum’s former space. It includes: four floors of exhibition galleries for works by established and emerging artists; a 150-seat auditorium in which the museum plans to feature lectures, films, and performances; and a restaurant. It also includes a Center for the Study of Jewelry, and an Education Center that offers multi-media access to primary source material, hands-on classrooms for students, and three artists-in-residence studios.

However, the museum's plans to radically alter the building's original design[2] by Edward Durell Stone touched off a preservation battle joined by Tom Wolfe, Chuck Close, Frank Stella, Robert A. M. Stern, Columbia art history department chairman Barry Bergdoll, New York Times' architecture critics Herbert Muschamp and Nicolai Ouroussoff, urbanist scholar Witold Rybczynski, among others. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Ada Louise Huxtable, and others, however, supported the redevelopment of a long neglected site.

The original design of the Edward Durell Stone building at 2 Columbus Circle
The Museum of Arts and Design in 2008

The museum's new location was developed by Brad Cloepfil and his Portland, Oregon-based firm Allied Works Architecture. The redesigned building replaced the original white Vermont Marble with a glazed terra-cotta and glass facade. Its nacreous ceramic exterior is said to change color at different viewing angles.

The architecture critic for the LA Times, Christopher Hawthorne, wrote:

It's as if Stone, his architecture muffled and disregarded by Cloepfil, MAD and the city of New York, managed to have the last word on the preservation controversy, popping up from beyond the grave to say hello. The fact that the word in question is unpretentious and loosely informal makes it deliciously Stone-like, and allows it to undermine the severity and cold perfectionism of Cloepfil's exterior all the more.[3]

An article in the New York Times acknowledged that when Holly Hotchner first became the director of the institution ten years ago "few people seemed to have heard of it." That is hardly the case today. As Ada Louise Huxtable, the Wall Street Journal architecture critic, remarked in a December 22, 2011 review of MAD's exhibition Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design: "This small building is an oasis of enchantment, a kind of Camelot on Columbus Circle. Its collections are instant eye candy (if the serious and erudite staff will forgive me), with magic in every imaginable material, leavened by irony and wit."

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