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Museum of Arts and Design Appoints Alexandra Schwartz as Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design

Image—Alexandra Schwartz, PhD. Photo: Jennifer Weisbord.

New York, NY (March 20, 2023)

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) today announced the appointment of Alexandra Schwartz, PhD, to the position of Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design, effective immediately. In this new curatorial role at MAD, Schwartz’s responsibilities will include leading the curation of exhibitions interpreting the Museum’s growing permanent collection of more than 3,500 objects. She’ll join the curatorial department helmed by Elissa Auther, MAD’s Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator.

“We are delighted to welcome Alexandra to the curatorial team,” said Tim Rodgers, MAD’s Nanette L. Laitman Director. “She is a highly respected curator, art historian, and educator who will bring to MAD a depth of knowledge and breadth of curatorial vision that will greatly enhance our exhibitions and programming. Throughout her career, she has passionately advanced a broader understanding of the interconnectedness of twentieth- and twenty-first-century creative production, driven by an interdisciplinary point of view that perfectly aligns with MAD’s commitment to presenting new forms of artistic expression, challenging perceived wisdoms, and giving all forms of creativity a platform and a home.”

“MAD has always been ahead of the curve in the interdisciplinarity of its exhibitions, collections, and programming, and now, more than ever, contemporary art, design, and craft are inextricably intertwined,” said Schwartz. “I am thrilled to be joining the Museum at this exciting time in its history and to be a part of its ongoing exploration of how artists, designers, and craftspeople both reflect and help shape the way we live now.”

Schwartz brings to MAD more than twenty years of experience as a curator and historian of twentieth- and twenty-first-century art, design, and visual culture. Prior to joining MAD, she was an independent curator, and currently is an adjunct professor at SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology. As a guest curator at MAD, Schwartz mounted Garmenting: Costume as Contemporary Art (2022). The critically acclaimed exhibition was the first global survey dedicated to the use of clothing as a medium of visual art. Through the work of thirty-five international contemporary artists, the exhibition and its accompanying catalog examined the creation of garments, sculpture, installation, and performance art that transforms dress into a critical tool for exploring issues of subjectivity and identity.

Her exhibition credits also include: 52 Artists: A Feminist Milestone at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (2022–23); Ed Ruscha: OKLA at Oklahoma Contemporary (2021); As in Nature: Helen Frankenthaler Paintings at The Clark Art Institute (2017); and Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s at the Montclair Art Museum and with a national tour (2015-16), all with scholarly catalogs. She is the author of Ed Ruscha’s Los Angeles (MIT Press, 2010) and the co-editor of Modern Women: Women Artists at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA, 2010).

Previously, Schwartz held curatorial positions at The Museum of Modern Art and the Montclair Art Museum, and teaching positions at Columbia University, Fordham University, the University of Michigan, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among other institutions.

Schwartz holds a PhD in the History of Art from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Bachelor of Arts (AB) in the History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University.


The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) champions contemporary makers across creative fields and presents the work of artists, designers, and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill. Since the Museum’s founding in 1956 by philanthropist and visionary Aileen Osborn Webb, MAD has celebrated all facets of making and the creative processes by which materials are transformed, from traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies. Today, the Museum’s curatorial program builds upon a rich history of exhibitions that emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, and reveals the workmanship behind the objects and environments that shape our everyday lives. MAD provides an international platform for practitioners who are influencing the direction of cultural production and driving twenty-first-century innovation, and fosters a participatory setting for visitors to have direct encounters with skilled making and compelling works of art and design. For more information, visit

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