Paola Antonelli (born 1963 in Sassari, Sardinia, Italy) is an Italian author, editor, and curator. She is of Lombard ancesty. She is currently the Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture & Design as well as the Director of R&D at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City. She was recently rated one of the one hundred most powerful people in the world of art by Art Review.
Although a recipient of a laurea degree in architecture from the Politecnico di Milano university in 1990, she has never worked as an architect. Antonelli has curated several architecture and design exhibitions in Italy, France, and Japan. She has been a contributing editor for Domus magazine (1987–91) and the design editor of Abitare magazine (1992–94). She has also contributed articles to several publications, among them Metropolis, the Harvard Design Review, I.D. magazine, Paper, Metropolitan Home, Harper's Bazaar, and Nest.
Antonelli joined MoMA in February 1994 and is a curator in the Department of Architecture and Design there. Her first high-profile exhibition for MoMA, "Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design" (1995), was followed by "Thresholds: Contemporary Design from the Netherlands" (1996), "Achille Castiglioni: Design!" (1997–98), "Projects 66: Campana/Ingo Maurer" (1999), "Open Ends," and "Matter" (September 2000-February 2001). Her exhibition "Workspheres" (2/8-4/22/2001) was devoted to the design of the workplace of the near future. In 2005 she curated the exhibition entitled "Safe: Design Takes on Risk" for MoMA.
From 1991 to 1993, Antonelli was a lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she taught design history and theory. In the spring of 2003, she started to teach a course of design theory at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She has also lectured elsewhere on design and architecture in Europe and the United States and served on several international architecture and design juries.
Antonelli's goal is to promote design's understanding role until its influence on society and on progress is fully acknowledged. She curated the exhibition entitled "Safe" in 2005 based on her show at the International Design Conference in Aspen (August 20–23, 2003), similarly entitled "Safe: Design Takes on Risk." Other recent projects include a book about food from the world over, as examples of distinctive design, and a television program on design. She has for a number of years been attempting to obtain a Boeing 747 for inclusion into the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
- TED Talks: Paola Antonelli treats design as art at TED in 2007
- Tom Bieling interviews Paola Antonelli: Thinking and Problem Making for [Design Research Network] in 2009
- "Designers on Top" presentation at Eyeo Festival 2012
- "Charlie Rose Show"
- "The Colbert Report Interview" (episode #1160, production code 09068, which originally aired on February 27, 2013)
- PAOLA ANTONELLI PROMOTED TO SENIOR CURATOR IN MoMA’S DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN. The Museum of Modern Art, 17 December 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2011.