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"The Home Front: American Furniture Now," A Series of Public Programs, to Be Presented in the MAD Theater from January to May 2011

New York, NY (December 10, 2010)

The Museum of Arts and Design will present the public program series “The Home Front: American Furniture Now,” which will explore the current state of contemporary furniture design. The series, guest curated by Surface Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Dan Rubinstein, has been conceived to give otherwise disparate voices on opposite sides of the field—architects and retailers, independent designers and educators—a chance to engage each other and the public and to shed light on the inner workings of an industry whose status precipitously declined after the heroic era of mid-century modernism.

The series of programs will include:

IN STOCK: Why is American design such a hard sell? January 13, 2011
Leading retailers on the front lines of contemporary furniture discuss with Dan Rubinstein, the Editor-in-Chief of Surface, the seller’s perspective on American design. How can designers get noticed by these career-making venues? What are they looking for, and what mistakes can local talent avoid? From the nuts and bolts of cost, quality, and manufacturing to the tastes and tendencies of the U.S. public, these tastemakers will reveal their often under-appreciated opinions in a roundtable format followed by an open Q&A. Panelists include: Jamie Gray (Matter, New York), Siamak Hakakian (Domus Design Collection, New York), and LA’s Stefan Lawrence (Twentieth, Los Angeles).

MAKING IT: Challenges facing the American designer February 17, 2011
How do new designers overcome the odds, break into the industry, and stay there? How do they get studio spaces? How do they find someone local to produce their work? How can they get noticed, and stay productive year after year? Journalist and author Jen Renzi will pen a series of columns for Fast Company’s design blog, Co.Design, profiling her heroes of American furniture design. Key talents from her coverage, Alissia Melka- Teichroew, Jonah Takagi, and BDDW’s Tyler Hays, will join Renzi for a candid discussion of their success, half-starts, and even their poetic failures—and how others might learn from those experiences.

DRAFTED: The evolving role of architects in furniture design March 10, 2011
Like experienced chefs preferring their ingredients to come from local sources, architects would have the most to gain from a stronger American design scene. Julie Iovine, Executive Editor of The Architect’s Newspaper, will host a roundtable discussion and Q&A with top minds including Michael Graves, Calvin Tsao, Gisue Hariri and Jeffrey Bernett on their experiences, strategies and needs when it comes to making American design happen.

AFTER CLASS: The first steps of the American designer March 24, 2011
Caught between a culture ambivalent on the values of design and a slowing economy, young designers face an enormous challenge post graduation. Moderated by Interior Design magazine editor Annie Block, designers Dror Benshetrit and Todd Bracher will join Pratt Institute Professor of Industrial Design Mark Goetz on how they navigated their own path to success. A portfolio review for students and alumni with the designers will follow.

The American Design Club (AmDC) is a loose collective of New York’s leading young design talent. In recent years, the group has executed self-financed events and exhibitions showcasing their highly creative and independent work. The AmDC will invite a group of their members to work in MAD’s Open Studios, highlighting their creative process by creating new work. An event in the auditorium will analyze the work created and displayed during this full-week period. In the Open Studios: American Design Club will run April 18–22, 2011

The Museum of Arts and Design explores how craftsmanship, art, and design intersect in the visual arts 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 handmade to cutting-edge technologies. 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 creative 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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