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MAD Celebrates 5th Anniversary at Columbus Circle with INSPIRED Exhibition, Now thru Oct 2014

MAD Celebrates 5th Anniversary at Columbus Circle with INSPIRED Exhibition, Now thru Oct 2014

As part of its fifth anniversary celebration, the Museum of Arts and Design will present Inspired, an exhibition showcasing works that have joined the museum's collection since the opening of its new Columbus Circle building in 2008. Featuring more than 100 works of sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, and textiles, Inspired will explore how contemporary creators from around the globe are carrying the craft tradition into the 21st century with innovative techniques and practices that incorporate mediums both new and familiar. On view from today, March 18 through October 13, 2014, the exhibition will highlight varied sources of artistic inspiration as expressed in handcrafted works by Robert Arneson, Judy Chicago, Mary Jackson, and Kim Schmahmann, alongside cutting-edge design objects by Ron Arad, Sebastian Brajkovic, and Ayala Serfaty, among many others.

"Inspired will offer viewers insight into contemporary inspiration as it highlights common themes that fuel artistic creativity," said David Revere McFadden, William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator at MAD. "From its opening in 1956 as the Museum of Contemporary Craft, the Museum has dedicated itself to bringing to life the vision of today's living artists. As we look back on the past five years since moving to Columbus Circle, we are thrilled to continue this tradition of revealing the spectrum of influences in art and design practice today with the presentation of some of the best examples of contemporary craftsmanship from MAD's collection."

The launch of the Jerome and Simona Chazen Building at Columbus Circle has allowed MAD to advance its institutional vision and mission of celebrating the craftsmanship and creative processes of contemporary artists and designers from around the world. In the last five years, the collection has grown in scope, depth, and in synergy with this mission, with over 700 works that illustrate imaginative approaches to transforming materials. Beyond providing an overview of the collection's ongoing development, Inspired will aim to highlight common thematic threads across MAD's recent acquisitions, revealing several shared sources of artistic inspiration across the contemporary art and design fields.

The exhibition will delve more specifically into six sources of inspiration at play in the featured works. Many of the artists and designers are motivated by the aesthetic and inherent properties of materials, either retaining their structure or manipulating it to create distinctly new visual forms. Similarly, the process of transforming materials, whether using traditional techniques or digital production, can serve as an impetus for creating imaginative works. Others reflect on the past, either through autobiographical and cultural narratives as an outlet for personal stories, or to illustrate shared political and cultural histories. The inherent beauty of the natural world has also served as an influence for artists and designers, catalyzing their interest in replicating or embellishing on the organic formations found in the environment. Additionally, the profundity of silence figures prominently in works that focus on the simplicity of color, shape, material, and craftsmanship, and that have a reflective, meditative quality as a result.

Highlights from the exhibition include the following works:

- Maya Lin critiques the accumulation of refuse in today's consumer-based society with FedEx World, 2007, a topographical sculpture created from FedEx packages the artist received over the course of a year;
- Dror Benshetrit's Vases of Phases, 2006, visually captures the object's broken form after it was dropped at three intervals;
- Ron Arad re-conceptualizes chair design with 2 R Not, 1992, which can be configured in a variety of positions to create a seat, with the exception of two sides, thus the name;
- Melanie Bilenker transcribes a photo of herself in several mediums to create Sock, 2010, a self-portrait pendant using her own hair;
- Edyta Cieloch renders a porcelain tea set non-functional with Spanish Lace, 2008, whose form is hand-carved with a delicate lace pattern;
- A strong autobiographical narrative emerges in Grayson Perry's Fake, 1995, a ceramic vase in which the artist depicts himself as his cross-dressing alter-ego "Claire;"
- Jo Meester examines the shift from a natural to corporate-dominated landscape by sand-blasting away the decoration on a traditional oriental vase to recreate Holland's contemporary skyline in Vases (ornamental inheritance), 2004;
- Judy Chicago confronts her cultural past with The Fall, 1993, a fifteen-foot tapestry narrative of the Holocaust.

Inspired is organized by David Revere McFadden, William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design. In conjunction with the exhibition, a series of essays will be released online and made available to the public via the Museum of Arts and Design website.

The Museum of Arts and Design explores the intersection between art, design, and craft today. The Museum focuses on contemporary creativity and the ways in which artists and designers from around the world transform materials through processes ranging from the artisanal to digital. The Museum's exhibition program explores and illuminates issues and ideas, highlights creativity and craftsmanship, and celebrates the limitless potential of materials and techniques when used by gifted and innovative artists. MAD's Permanent Collection is global in scope and focuses on art, craft, and design from 1950 to the present day. At the center of the Museum's mission is education. The Museum's dynamic new facility features classrooms and studios for master classes, seminars, and workshops for students, families, and adults. Three open artist studios engage visitors in the creative processes of artists at work and enhance the exhibition programs. Lectures, films, performances, and symposia related to the Museum's collection and topical subjects affecting the world of contemporary art, craft, and design are held in a renovated 144-seat auditorium.

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