Big Ideas: Glenn Adamson

Curating Art, Curating Design: Is there a Difference?

  • Whitechapel Gallery - Glenn Adamson - Talk

    Photo: Sipke Visser

Thu 17 Aug 2017, 7pm

Creative Studio

Monday Closed
Tuesday 11am–6pm
Wednesday 11am–6pm
Thursday 11am–9pm
Friday 11am–6pm
Saturday 11am–6pm
Sunday 11am–6pm

‘Museum-quality design.’ These days, that’s a phrase one is much more likely to encounter in a store than an in actual museum. Over the past decade, design curators have been rethinking their approach, moving away from canonical “design classics,” and exploring a messier but richer landscape: the one that people actually inhabit. In doing so, design curators are beginning to converge with their colleagues who work with conceptual art, with the collecting of objects from video games to typefaces, where the notion of what is owned is fluid. Furthermore, design curators are beginning to actively collect material in response to political urgencies.

In this lecture, Glenn Adamson will review recent initiatives in design curating, including projects at the V&A, the Museum of Modern Art, and Hong Kong’s new museum M+. He will also speak from his own experience as guest curator for Beazley Designs of the Year, at the Design Museum London.

A response will be offered by Johanna Agerman Ross.

Supported by the Stanley Picker Trust.

About Glenn Adamson

Glenn Adamson is currently Senior Scholar at the Yale Center for British Art, and Editor-at-Large of The Magazine Antiques. A curator and theorist who works across the fields of design, craft and contemporary art, he was until March 2016 the Director of the Museum of Arts and Design, New York. He has previously been Head of Research at the V&A, and Curator at the Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee. His publications include Art in the Making (2016, co-authored with Julia Bryan Wilson); Invention of Craft (2013); Postmodernism: Style and Subversion  (2011); The Craft Reader (2010); and Thinking Through Craft (2007).

About Johanna Agerman Ross

Johanna Agerman Ross is the Curator of Twentieth Century and Contemporary Furniture and Product Design at the V&A and the founder and director of the quarterly design journal Disegno. She has previously been working as an editor of the monthly architecture and design magazine Icon, a researcher at the Design Museum and as a tutor at the Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins.

Follow us on