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Dec 22, 2008

The chief curator of New York’s Museum of Arts and Design speaks to how the project of art institutions is being redefined.

By Donna Sapolin

 In FLYP Media’s video interview, curator David McFadden talks about how the role of the museum and the exhibition staff has changed over the past few decades, and how they will continue to reflect the changing art world.

The Museum of Arts and Design has a new building at the hub of one of Manhattan’s most dynamic spaces—Columbus Circle.
While shaping the museum, its chief curator, David McFadden, has thought about how art can possibly be used to attract the technologically driven generation.
His solution: display exquisitely handcrafted things and immerse visitors in the creative process through access to artist-in-residence studios and interactive media detailing how materials are turned into meaningful objects.
McFadden also aims to blend the museum experience with the fast-moving life outside its walls. For a September 2009 show focusing on works made from cut paper, McFadden is asking artists to build their pieces as public performances.
The new building’s inaugural exhibition, titled Second Lives, speaks to both consumerism and sustainability by showcasing works made from repurposed, everyday objects. “If art has any kind of remedial value in the 21st century,” he says, “it’s going to be its ability to help us contemplate and deal with what we have created as a consumer society.”

“I think museums—even though it’s the silent voice, a quiet force—can really affect people’s lives.” – David McFadden

FLYP gives you a peak into the first exhibit at the Museum of Arts and Design with our slideshow of works being featured.


David McFadden joined the Museum of Arts and Design in 1997 as chief
curator. He has since helped to shape the museum’s curatorial vision
and its approach to contemporary art.
Recent exhibitions that have been organized by McFadden include Pricked! Extreme Embroidery (2007), Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting (2007) and Changing Hands: Art without Reservation 2 (2005).
Over the course of his 35-year career, he has organized more than 100
exhibitions and published and lectured widely on decorative arts,
design and craft. McFadden currently serves as president of the
Decorative Arts and Design Committee of the International Council of

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