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Museum of Arts and Design to Present Annual Visionaries! Awards at its MAD Ball on November 7, 2017

The evening will honor Madeleine K. Albright, Barnaba FornasettiJorge M. Pérez, Faith Ringgold, and Sterling Ruby

Hosted by Simon Doonan


New York, NY (October 30, 2017)

NEW YORK, NY (October 27, 2017) – On Tuesday, November 7, 2017, at Cipriani 42nd Street, the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) will hold its annual gala celebrating five outstanding individuals. For over twenty years, the MAD Ball has recognized visionaries in the fields of art, design, business, and philanthropy, reflecting MAD’s mission to celebrate innovation and excellence across all creative disciplines. This year’s ball will also celebrate the conclusion of MAD’s 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee.

Hosted by Simon Doonan, the 2017 iteration of the Museum’s most important annual fundraiser will bring together over five hundred guests. Proceeds help fund MAD’s general operations as well as education, public, and exhibition programs, which serve over three hundred thousand people per year. The Visionaries! Awards, presented during the ball, honor a range of artists, designers, and artisans, as well as the enterprises and patrons that support them.

“Each of our honorees reflects our ongoing commitment to transformative ideas involving contemporary craft,” said Michele Cohen, Chairman of the Board and Interim Director at MAD. “It’s an honor to continue to award leaders and luminaries who exemplify the Museum’s mission to celebrate innovation and creativity in art and design.”

This year’s Visionaries! Award recipients are diplomat and pin collector the Honorable Madeleine K. Albright, former United States Secretary of State; Italian design innovator Barnaba Fornasetti; business leader, collector, and philanthropist Jorge M. Pérez; artist and civil rights activist Faith Ringgold; and contemporary multimedia artist Sterling Ruby. The Museum commissioned New York–based artist Todd Pavlisko to create this year’s awards.

“MAD has a long history of supporting and celebrating artists who work in the disciplines and materials commonly known as ‘craft,’” said Shannon R. Stratton, MAD’s William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator. “Today, those disciplines are enjoying a revival, and our honorees represent the new generation of artists exploring craft mediums as well as the masters and their supporters. We are encouraged by a new wave of curiosity and enthusiasm for craftsmanship, as well as for the fields of fiber, clay, glass, and wood—art and craft disciplines on which our museum was founded.”

The Co-Chairs of MAD Ball 2017 are Iris Apfel, Andi Potamkin Blackmore, Jerome A. Chazen, Michele Cohen, Melissa Urfirer Gottesman, Shari Siadat Loeffler, Angela Missoni, Linda Plattus, and Barbara Tober.

MAD Ball 2017 will begin at 6:30 pm with cocktails and a silent auction, followed by dinner, the Visionaries! Awards presentation, and live entertainment starting at 7:45 pm. Tickets can be purchased online at or by contacting Stephanie Lang at 212.299.7729 or

Taking MAD’s current exhibition Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sound as inspiration, the theme for MAD Ball 2017 is ‘MAD Arcade: The Art of Play’. Guests will play a specially commissioned four-player interactive video game table, inspired by the classic arcade game “pong.”

The Museum proudly recognizes Bidsquare as a corporate sponsor and auction partner of MAD Ball 2017. The MAD Ball 2017 auction will feature outstanding works of art, jewelry, unique travel packages, design items, and more. Online bidding is LIVE HERE on Bidsquare and will continue until 10:15 pm on November 7.


Madeleine K. Albright  

Madeleine K. Albright is Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and Chair of Albright Capital Management, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. Albright was the 64th Secretary of State of the United States. In 1997, she was named the first female Secretary of State, becoming the highest-ranking woman in the history of the US government at that time. As Secretary of State, Albright reinforced America’s alliances, advocated democracy and human rights, and promoted American trade and business, labor, and environmental standards abroad. While serving under President Bill Clinton, first as US Ambassador to the United Nations and then as Secretary of State, Albright became known for wearing brooches that conveyed her views about the situation at hand. The accessories became a traveling exhibition entitled Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection, which debuted at the Museum of Arts and Design in September 2009 and highlighted over two hundred pins and brooches from Albright’s personal collection. Her historic tenure in the US government can be decoded through the visual iconography of her pins. These objects became delicate instruments with which she applied pressure during intense negotiations, and into which she invested humor as she represented the United States on the international stage. On May 29, 2012, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the nation’s highest civilian honor—citing her courage, toughness, and dedication to progress and her scholarship and insight, which continue to make the world a better, more peaceful place.

Barnaba Fornasetti 

Born in Italy in 1950, Barnaba Fornasetti is custodian and Creative Director of Fornasetti, the globally renowned Italian art and design house established by his father, Piero Fornasetti, in 1933. Founded and still based in Milan, the company produces and sells a wide variety of products, ranging from furniture, interior decor, and ceramics to silk scarves and fashion accessories. In 1988, after Piero’s death, Barnaba took over the family business, which he continues to guide today, maintaining its tradition of craftsmanship while setting up new partnerships and licenses for ceramic tiles, fabrics, ties, home fragrances, rugs, parquet, and wallpapers. The most recent example is the capsule collection with Comme des Garçons, the Japanese fashion label founded by designer and artist Rei Kawakubo. Through re-editions, Barnaba has faithfully built on his paternal legacy. With the same pioneering spirit and the same passion, he has rekindled his father’s extraordinary visual language, creating what he likes to term “reinventions”—new objects that he designs from scratch, mainly using themes taken from the immense historical archive. Under his artistic direction, Fornasetti is now considered one of the principal Italian companies in the sphere of high craftsmanship.

Jorge M. Pérez

Jorge M. Pérez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Related Group, has been at the forefront of South Florida’s complex urban evolution for over thirty-five years. Over the years, Pérez and Related Group have partnered with world-class names in architecture and interior design. Collaborations with creative luminaries like Bernardo Fort-Brescia, David Rockwell, Philippe Starck, Yabu Pushelberg, Piero Lissoni, Karim Rashid, and many others produced neighborhood-defining projects, and established Related’s developments as integral components of Miami’s evolving cityscape. A lover of art and an avid collector, Pérez infuses each development with carefully selected pieces from master artists. Works by Fernando Botero, Jaume Plensa, Julio Le Parc, and Fabian Burgos are proudly displayed at Related developments, complementing each building’s unique character and often serving as public fixtures of the community landscape. Most notably, Pérez donated $40 million to the Herzog & de Meuron–designed Pérez Art Museum Miami, or PAMM. In 2005, Time magazine named him one of the top twenty-five most influential Hispanics in the United States.

Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold, a prolific artist, painter, writer, speaker, mixed-media sculptor, and performance artist, was born in Harlem in 1930 and currently lives and works in Englewood, New Jersey. Ringgold is Professor Emerita at the University of California, San Diego. Though there is new interest in Ringgold’s long-ignored and politically charged oil paintings from the 1960s, the artist has been known best for her children’s books and painted story quilts. Ringgold’s art is included in many public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Her first published book, Tar Beach, has been in print for over twenty-five years and has won more than thirty awards, including a Caldecott Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award for the best illustrated children’s book of 1991. Ringgold is the recipient of more than seventy-five awards, including twenty-three Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees and numerous fellowships.

Sterling Ruby

Sterling Ruby was born in 1972 on an American military base in Bitburg, Germany, to a Dutch mother and an American father. He received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. One of the most internationally recognized contemporary artists, Ruby draws from a diverse range of sources and influences, including the Bauhaus, craft, aberrant psychologies, American domination and decline, prisons, and masculinity, as well as art history and his personal biography. He is renowned for his wide range of aesthetic and material strategies, from sculptures made of saturated, glossy, poured polyurethane, bronze, and steel to drawings, collages, richly glazed ceramics, spray-paint paintings, photography, and video, as well as textile works that include quilts, tapestries, garments, and soft sculptures. His voracious cycling through materials and subject matter has given rise to numerous recurring series and extended bodies of work. Ruby’s work has been featured in exhibitions at leading museums worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Walker Art Center, the Hammer Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.


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. MAD Ball 2017 will celebrate the conclusion of MAD’s 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee.

#MADball2017 @madmuseum

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