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How Developing World Techniques and Aesthetics Have Influenced Contemporary Art and Design is the Focus of Novel Exhibition this May

Designer Stephen Burks, Celebrated for his Brilliant Fusions of the Artisanal and Industrial, Serves as Curator

New York, NY (April 4, 2011)

Works by the 42-year old industrial designer Stephen Burks and 20 other mostly contemporary designers, and artists will be showcased in Stephen Burks | Are You A Hybrid?, an exhibition conceived to demonstrate how these creators have set global trends and promoted a pluralistic vision of design. Organized by Burks, whose Brooklyn-based design firm Readymade Projects has made cultural fusion its signature, Are You A Hybrid? is presented in conjunction with MAD’s acclaimed exhibition, The Global Africa Project, and with Stephen Burks: Man Made at New York’s Studio Museum in Harlem. Opening on Tuesday, May 3, and running through October 2, 2011, it is the tenth edition of MADProjects, an exhibition series that explores emerging design trends and innovations.

The majority of the pieces featured in Are You A Hybrid? are contemporary objects and furnishings by such innovative designers as Fernando and Humberto Campana, Hella Jongerius, Jasper Morrison, and Patricia Urquiola. There will, however, be a few historical pieces by Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard, Isamu Noguchi, and Charlotte Perriand, mid-century luminaries who pushed beyond industrial aesthetics and drew on folk and foreign cultures, which celebrated the handmade, in their design work.

There will also be works of art by Glenn Ligon, Zwelethu Mthethwa, and Chris Ofili, which filter diverse cultural references through the lens of contemporary modernist aesthetics. Finally, several video pieces including “Made on Earth,” an on-going documentary project by Burks, which features footage from his design collaborations in Haiti, Senegal, and South Africa, will play on loop on several digital monitors hanging on the walls of the gallery amidst the art.

As part of the exhibition, Burks will create a large, library-style bookshelf installation and visitor reading area, featuring a selection of reading materials chosen by the designer. These publications will serve as an educational reference regarding the concepts, themes, and issues considered in the exhibition. Interspersed among these volumes will be a selection of personal artifacts that Burks has collected on his various travels.


The Museum of Arts and Design explores the blur zone between art, design, and craft today. It 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 the digital. The Museum’s exhibition program examines and illuminates issues and ideas, highlights invention 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. Central to 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. Its Open Studios enable visitors to engage artists at work and further enhance exhibition programs. Lectures, films, performances, and symposia related to the Museum’s collection and topical subjects affecting the world of contemporary creation are held in the building’s historic 144-seat auditorium.

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