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Museum of Arts and Design Opens New Home at Columbus Circle on September 27, 2008

Designed by Brad Cloepfil, Museum Features Dynamic Spaces for Open Artist Studios, Education Programs, Collection and Special Exhibitions and Groundbreaking Contemporary Jewelry Center

Inaugural Exhibitions Include “Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary” and Never-Before-Seen Works from Permanent and Jewelry Collections

New York, NY (September 18, 2008)

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) opens the doors to its new home at Columbus Circle, designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture, on September 27. With triple the space of its previous facility, the 54,000-square-foot building allows MAD to dedicate galleries to its growing permanent collection for the first time in its history, and distinguishes the institution as the only New York museum with open studio programs that allow visitors to watch the creative process within programming spaces.

With a new textured façade of glazed terra-cotta tile and fritted and clear glass, the Chazen Building is a dynamic cultural center that brings together the museum experience and the street life of the surrounding neighborhood in one of Manhattan’s most significant public spaces. Ribbons of glass weave across the building’s exterior, allowing light to filter into galleries and providing dramatic views of Columbus Circle and Central Park. Inside, these ribbons continue across gallery floors and ceilings to create visual connections between the exhibition spaces on different levels.

MAD inaugurates its new galleries with Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary, a special thematic exhibition showcasing 54 artists from around the world who repurpose and transform mass-produced objects into extraordinary works of art. The new Museum also features the permanent installation of several works, including a site-specific stained-glass commission by Judith Schaechter, an abstract ceramic wall relief by Ruth Duckworth, and a ceramic mural by Robert Arneson, titled Alice House Wall, on display for the first time in 20 years.

“Allied Works has created a dramatic new space in which we can fully realize our mission to explore the craftsmanship and creative processes of contemporary artists and designers,” said Holly Hotchner, the Nanette L. Laitman Director of the Museum. “Our new home allows us to continue our leadership role of working with contemporary artists through an expanded program that includes three open artist studios, further distinguishing MAD among museums in New York and nationally.”

In support of the project, MAD has raised $86 million toward its capital campaign and an additional $13 million toward its endowment. In the past decade, the Museum has seen tremendous growth—increasing its attendance to 310,000 visitors annually and nearly doubling its permanent collection. Through its innovative programming, MAD challenges traditional classifications and hierarchies that separate the arts according to medium, geography or chronology. With its focus on materials and processes, MAD places fine art, craft, decorative art and design along the same creative continuum.

Accommodating both the growing demand for its programs and its expanding collection, the Chazen Building more than doubles the gallery space of the Museum’s previous facility, providing a total of 14,000 square feet for special and permanent collection exhibitions across four gallery floors. Visitor experience is enhanced by groundbreaking new interpretative tools designed by Pentagram, including exhibition interactives and a new collection database accessible online and at terminals throughout the new Museum. Supported by grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the New York State Council on the Arts, and by private funding, the database provides virtual access to the entire permanent collection, offers supplementary information on artistic techniques and materials, and links to artists’ oral histories at the Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution, a joint project with MAD.

A cornerstone of the new Museum is the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Jewelry Gallery, the nation’s first resource center and gallery dedicated exclusively to contemporary jewelry. Located on the second floor, the center presents a rotating series of jewelry exhibitions, features publicly accessible study storage of the Museum’s entire jewelry collection, and provides additional resources on the history of jewelry design through MAD’s online database. The Museum offers a robust schedule of Tiffany Gallery programs, including events in the auditorium and the open artist studios.

The entire sixth floor of the Chazen Building is dedicated to education, marking the first time that MAD has designated space for its education and public programming. The dynamic 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 on the floors below. 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 150-seat auditorium on the building’s lower level.

“In our new home at Columbus Circle, we are not only able to dramatically increase access to our distinguished permanent collection, but also enhance our education and public programming to inspire community interaction and a greater understanding of the arts,” said Barbara Tober, Chairman of the Board. “The new building allows us to greatly expand our reach to better serve our growing audiences from New York City and beyond.”

On the ground floor, the Store at MAD offers a wide range of handcrafted, original works, both functional and decorative, and limited edition pieces created by more than 1,400 artists. The ninth floor will accommodate a new Museum restaurant, which will incorporate artist-made materials and offer visitors panoramic views of the City and Central Park. Operated by Brian Saltzman in a joint venture with ARK Restaurants Corp., the 140-seat restaurant is scheduled to open in early spring of 2009 and will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Chazen Building Design Features

Allied Works’ design for the Museum’s 54,000-square-foot home transforms the 12-story building at 2 Columbus Circle into a dynamic cultural center that furthers MAD’s institutional mission and engages the surrounding urban and natural environment. The design maintains the scale, height and form of the original 1964 structure—one of the few freestanding edifices in Manhattan—while dramatically opening up the once nearly windowless building to animate MAD’s permanent collections, which thrive in natural light.

“In this pivotal location, linking Midtown Manhattan, Central Park and the Upper West Side, the new Museum actively engages its surroundings,” said Brad Cloepfil, Principal of Allied Works Architecture. “Our goal was to maintain the building’s iconic presence while giving it new life as a contemporary cultural institution at the crossroads of the City. Our design opens the Museum to natural light and weaves the building back into the street life of the neighborhood, fostering a dialogue between the interior of the Museum and its urban environment.”

Comprised of fritted glass and glazed terra-cotta tile, the building’s new façade reflects both the Museum’s craft tradition and its permanent collections. The building’s skin is tiled with approximately 22,000 custom-made terra-cotta plates, finished in a light iridescent glaze that subtly shifts in tone depending on time of day and perspective. The custom glaze was developed by Allied Works in conjunction with Dutch ceramicist Christine Jetten and internationally renowned ceramic manufacturer Royal Tichelaar Makkum. Three separate ribbons of transparent and fritted glass, each one a continuous 24-inch-wide line, weave across the façade. Developed in conjunction with and donated by Oldcastle Glass, these ribbons of glass filter light into the gallery spaces and allow for spectacular views of the city. The interplay between the glass and the glazed tiles creates an elegant geometric pattern on the façade and gives the building a dynamic sculptural quality in distinctive counterpoint to the high-rises dominating Columbus Circle.

The ribbons of glass that cut across the façade continue inside the building across the floors, ceilings and walls of each level, creating visual connections among the galleries and providing visitors with a unified sense of space. Glass encircles the entire ground floor, inviting a dialogue between the Museum and its surrounding neighborhood, and stretches across the ninth floor of the building, giving visitors to the Museum’s restaurant a dramatic panorama of Columbus Circle and Central Park.

Capital and Endowment Campaigns

The capital campaign for the Museum’s new home has raised $86 million of $90 million in support of the acquisition and redevelopment of the building at 2 Columbus Circle. Approximately two-thirds of the funds raised for the campaign have come from individual donations, including major donations from Chairman of the Capital Campaign Jerome Chazen, Board President Nanette Laitman and Board Chairman Barbara Tober, while approximately 10 percent has been received in government funding. In recognition of their ongoing dedication to the Museum, MAD has named its new home the Jerome and Simona Chazen Building; its gallery spaces the Nanette L. Laitman Galleries; and its entrance hall the Barbara Tober Grand Atrium. Other spaces are named the Barbara and Eric Dobkin Gallery, the Jane and Leonard Korman Gallery, and the Sarah and Seth Glickenhaus Education Center.

“As the country’s leading institution dedicated to contemporary art, craft and design, the Museum of Arts and Design explores how today’s artists experiment with different materials and techniques in the creation of their work,” said Jerome Chazen, Chairman of the Capital Campaign. “The new Museum, situated in one of Manhattan’s most significant public spaces, further enhances the field of study and brings a wonderful new dimension to the neighborhood and city.”

In addition to the campaign for the new building, the Museum has also launched a $20-million endowment campaign, which will continue after the opening of the building. Toward that goal, Board President Nanette Laitman has given $5 million and issued an additional $4 million dollar-to-dollar matching donation. A total of $13 million has been raised to date.

“Our new building provides expanded opportunities to strengthen our public offerings and exhibition programs,” said Laitman. “The endowment campaign is integral to the stability and ongoing vibrancy of this groundbreaking institution.”

Inaugural Exhibitions

The Chazen Building provides the Museum with dynamic spaces to host an expanded program of exhibitions that examine the craftsmanship, materials and processes of contemporary artists and designers from around the world. In its new special exhibition galleries on the fourth and fifth floors, MAD presents Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary, a thematic exhibition that explores the reuse and appropriation of manufactured objects in contemporary work. The 54 international artists featured in the exhibition repurpose pharmaceutical pills, dog tags, forks and spoons, plastic chairs, bottle caps, nails and paper bags, among other new and used objects, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary and stimulating debate on how value is determined in art today. Many of the works are on display for the first time or have been commissioned for the exhibition.

On view in the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Jewelry Gallery on the second floor, Elegant Armor: The Art of Jewelry features over 130 works of modern and contemporary jewelry from 1948 through the present. Organized thematically, the exhibition explores inspirations for contemporary jewelry and features the following: sculptural jewelry, which gives primacy to pure form regardless of functionality; painted, textured, and inlayed works that achieve brilliant color in their designs; works of unearthly beauty created through avant-garde technologies; and narrative jewelry, in which artists use jewelry provocatively to express their views on subjects ranging from racism and gender to popular culture and environmental degradation. Drawing from the Museum’s collection of approximately 500 jewelry works, the entirety of which is housed in the Tiffany Jewelry Gallery in accessible study drawers, the exhibition includes the work of seminal figures of the American Studio Jewelry Movement, such as Margaret de Patta, Sam Kramer and Art Smith, as well as international artists like Gijs Bakker, Peter Chang, Hermann Jünger, Bruno Martinazzi, Ruudt Peters and Gio Pomodoro.

Presented in the permanent collection galleries on the third floor, Permanently MAD: Revealing the Collection marks the first time in the institution’s history that its most significant holdings are on comprehensive view and features many never-before-seen and rarely viewed masterworks. The first in an ongoing series of thematic explorations of the collection, the exhibition encompasses approximately 150 works made in clay, glass, metal, wood and mixed media by artists such as Dale Chihuly, Jack Lenor Larson, Wendell Castle, Faith Ringgold, Roy Lichtenstein, George Segal, Cindy Sherman and Betty Woodman, among many others. Permanently MAD provides the viewer with three ways to approach contemporary art and design: through the work’s visual language or aesthetics; artistic intention; and political, social and cultural context. Videos of artists at work and interactive wall labels with commentary from artists, curators, arts educators and Museum visitors provide further perspective on each work.


The new Museum of Arts and Design was made possible by a host of generous private and public donors, including Maharam, Oldcastle Glass, Steelcase, and Suzanne Tick.

Opening week is made possible by BNP Paribas.

The major donor dinner is generously underwritten by Northern Trust. J.P. Morgan Chase is a proud sponsor of the Chase Education Exploration Day. The Collector’s lunch is underwritten by Chubb Personal Insurance and Bonhams. Additional support is provided by Barefoot Wine.

About Allied Works Architecture

Founded in 1994 by Brad Cloepfil, Allied Works Architecture has recently completed and is currently working on a number of important cultural, educational and commercial projects throughout the United States, including the following: the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; the expansion of the Seattle Art Museum; the renovation and expansion of the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor; the design for the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas; the design of the new Clyfford Still Museum in Denver; a new building for Walt Disney Animation Studios in Glendale, California; and a new house, guest house and art barn in Dutchess County, New York, for prominent art collectors. Other critically acclaimed projects include the Wieden + Kennedy Agency headquarters in Portland, OR, which also houses the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art; and the Maryhill Interpretive Overlook at the Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, Washington. The redevelopment of 2 Columbus Circle is Cloepfil’s first institutional commission in New York City. Allied Works has offices in Portland, OR, and New York, NY.

About the Museum of Arts and Design

The Museum of Arts and Design explores how craft, 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 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 1945 to the present day.

For more information about the Museum of Arts and Design, visit

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