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Museum of Arts and Design Welcomes Five New Members to its Board of Trustees

Image—Clockwise from top left: Susan Ach. Photo: Darian DiCianno/BFA.com; Glenn Adamson. Photo: John Michael, Kohler Arts Center; Rachelle Dang. Photo: On White Wall Studio; Luam Melake. Photo: Joe Kramm, Courtesy of R & Company; and Cheryl R. Riley. Photo: Tom Grill.

New York, NY (September 19, 2023)

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) is pleased to announce five new appointments to its Board of Trustees, all prominent figures in the art, craft, and design community. They are Susan Ach, longtime Member and supporter of the Museum; Glenn Adamson, curator, writer, and historian; Luam Melake, artist; Rachelle Dang, artist and educator; and Cheryl R. Riley, artist, furniture designer, and art advisor.

“We are delighted to welcome Susan, Glenn, Luam, Rachelle, and Cheryl to the Board,” said Michele Cohen, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “MAD has enjoyed rich and rewarding relationships with each of these extraordinary individuals. Their expertise and deep knowledge of the Museum will make them invaluable contributors to MAD’s mission and continued growth.”

“Our new Trustees have long aligned themselves with MAD in their commitment to advancing new forms of artistic expression while challenging traditional thinking about history, society, culture, and art itself,” said Tim Rodgers, MAD’s Nanette L. Laitman Director. “I am thrilled they have joined our esteemed Board and greatly look forward to working together to fortify MAD’s future.”

Susan Ach is a dedicated supporter of MAD. A Member of the Museum since 2002, she has also served on the MAD About Jewelry Advisory Committee for more than a decade. As a human resources executive, Ach worked for corporations such as Seagram’s and Bloomingdales, and conducted non-profit research for executive search firms. At Marymount Manhattan College, she was an advisor for the law and graduate students and managed the College’s related internship programs. Ach volunteers at Bottomless Closet as a career coach for underserved women preparing to enter the workforce. She also volunteers at HIAS (formerly Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) as an English language mentor to newly arrived immigrants. Ach earned a BA in history from the University of Rochester and an MS in education from the University of Pennsylvania, and has resided in New York City for more than 40 years.

Glenn Adamson, PhD, is a curator, writer, and historian based in New York and London. He has previously been Director of the Museum of Arts and Design and Head of Research at the V&A. Adamson’s publications include Thinking Through Craft (2007); The Craft Reader (2010); Postmodernism: Style and Subversion (2011, with Jane Pavitt); The Invention of Craft (2013); Art in the Making (2016, with Julia Bryan-Wilson); Fewer Better Things: The Hidden Wisdom of Objects (2018); Objects: USA 2020; and Craft: An American History (2021). Adamson is Artistic Director for Design Doha, a new biennial festival for Qatar (forthcoming in 2024); editor of Material Intelligence, a quarterly online journal published by the Chipstone Foundation; and curator-at-large for LongHouse Reserve. His current curatorial projects include Mirror Mirror: Reflections on Design at Chatsworth (2023) and Toshiko Takaezu: Worlds Within at the Isamu Noguchi Museum (forthcoming in 2024 and touring thereafter).

Luam Melake is a New York-based artist, designer, and materials researcher. Her studio practice includes handwoven wall sculptures and functional furniture. She received her BA in 2008 from the University of California, Berkeley, in interdisciplinary field studies with a focus on architecture. Solo and two-person exhibitions include Furnishing Feelings at R & Company, New York (2023), Sensitive Forms at Parker Gallery, Los Angeles (2021), and Without Qualities at Addis Fine Art, New York (2018). Selected group exhibitions include For the Birds at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York (2022), Objects: USA 2020 at R & Company, New York (2021), Sumenge / Ngaparou 2 at Fondation Blanchère, Apt, France (2020). She has been an artist-in-residence at prominent institutions, including the Museum of Arts and Design (2017–18 and 2022) and Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NE (2019) and was awarded the Female Design Council Grant in 2021. Melake’s work is represented by R & Company and she is a senior materials researcher at Parsons School of Design.

Rachelle Dang is a Brooklyn-based artist and a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Craft/Sculpture (2023). Dang’s public art commissions include Lighthouse Works, Fishers Island (2023), and Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City (2019–20). She has exhibited at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (2022); Someday, New York (2021 and 2019); A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn (2020); Smack Mellon, Brooklyn (2019–20); Lesley Heller, New York (2019); Haverford College Art Galleries, Philadelphia (2019); Hawai’i Pacific University, Kaneohe (2013), and the Honolulu Museum of Art, Hawai’i (2011 Biennial). Her artist residences and fellowships include Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace (2022–23); Museum of Arts and Design (Fellowship 2022); Yaddo (2021); the Smack Mellon Artist Studio Program (2019–20); Shandaken: Storm King Art Center (2018); and Cooper Union (2018). Dang received her MFA from Hunter College, CUNY, and her BA from Wellesley College. She is a critic at the Yale School of Art.

Cheryl R. Riley is an artist, furniture designer, and art advisor whose focus is artists of the Black African Diaspora. She has created wall art, installations, site-specific public artworks, custom and licensed lighting, and furniture designs since 1986 when she left her account executive position in advertising at Dancer, Fitzgerald, Sample. She has been a member of Black Artists + Designers Guild (BADG) since its founding in 2018. Riley’s designs are in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the Oakland Museum of California, the Mint Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and the Cities of Sacramento and New York. Her Zulu Renaissance Writing Table for a Lady was on loan from SFMOMA to the Montreal Museum of Fine Art in the all-female-identified group exhibition, Parall(elles): A History of Women in Design (2023);the work will be on view as part of SFMOMA’s Surrealist Connections, opening October 20, 2023. Riley served on boards of the first site-specific artist residency in the US, Capp Street Project, and the SFMOMA, where she was an Executive Board Member, then Chair of the Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art (SECA) auxiliary from 1996 to 1999. She joined the American Craft Council in 1992 and served on its executive board from 1994 to 1997. Additionally, Riley was a member of the Education & Program Committee and Chair of the Membership Committee on the American Craft Museum’s board.

ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF ARTS AND DESIGN

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 madmuseum.org.

For high-resolution images, please email press@madmuseum.org.

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