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New York City’s Creative Communities Showcased In Major New Exhibition Featuring Work Of 100 Skilled Makers


First Exhibition Organized under MAD Director Glenn Adamson, NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial Celebrates Craftsmanship and Creativity of Artists, Designers, and Artisans from the Five Boroughs

Featured Participants Include Laurie Anderson, Gaetano Pesce, The Metropolitan Opera,
Hank Willis ThomasLower East Side Printshop, CONFETTISYSTEM, Thunder Horse Video,
Caroline Woolard, and Lindsey Adelman, Among Others

New York, NY (May 20, 2014)

This summer, the Museum of Arts and Design transforms itself into a nexus for New York City’s leading makers—artists, artisans, and designers—through NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial, the first exhibition organized under the leadership of MAD Director Glenn Adamson. NYC Makers showcases the work of approximately 100 highly skilled individuals who apply an outstanding level of workmanship to the creation of objects or environments that shape our everyday lives.

Exemplifying the Museum’s ongoing commitment to craftsmanship across all creative fields, the exhibition provides a platform not only for makers who typically display their work in a museum setting, but also those who work behind the scenes. On view from July 1 through October 12, 2014, and marking the first in a series of exhibitions examining the culture of making in urban communities, NYC Makers highlights the interconnected web of cultural production in New York City today and underscores the importance of craft in contemporary life. A press preview for the exhibition will be held the morning of July 1, 2014.

“There is a prevailing perception that New York in the digital age is no longer a city of skilled makers, when, in fact, craftsmanship continues to flourish throughout the five boroughs. NYC Makers uncovers the variety of production and creativity in the city, and places a spotlight on the skilled individuals who spend every day crafting our futures,” said Adamson, MAD’s Nanette L. Laitman Director.  “Since its founding, the Museum of Arts and Design has championed the way that artists and designers transform the world around us, using both traditional and cutting-edge creative processes. This exhibition reflects this core mission across the full range of crafted production, and establishes a new paradigm of 21st-century making as an engine for creative industry.”

From stone masons to set designers, instrument makers to media-art collectives, NYC Makers reveals the contributions of 21st-century makers to contemporary society and presents a sweeping cross-section of the cultural production occurring within a single city. The exhibition is structured thematically as a series of immersive tableaus, which group together a diverse range of works. Replacing traditional display cases, these environments are crafted by participating makers, highlighting the spectrum of skills represented in the exhibition. The galleries will host live programming throughout the exhibition’s run, including fashion shows, demonstrations, performances, social practice projects, and culinary explorations, which underline the relationship between material and immaterial making found in New York City today.

“It is an exciting prospect to open up the Museum to the breadth of production found throughout the City with NYC Makers. Through this exhibition, we hope to further transform MAD into a laboratory that not only presents but also supports those who have chosen to continue to work and live in NYC,” said Yuzna. “Building on New York’s rich history of fearless and groundbreaking culture, today’s practitioners are leveling traditional hierarchies through post-disciplinary practices that respond to the challenges of working in the five boroughs today. Their contributions not only impact culture on a global scale, but continue to make NYC one of the most interesting urban communities in the world.”

Every maker included in the exhibition demonstrates the highest level of skill in their respective field, whether by fabricating furniture or fashion; creating artworks, films, or architecture; inventing new possibilities for food; or reshaping educational and social gatherings. Highlights include the following works:

    • Metropolitan Opera’s set design for Der Fledermaus illuminates the work behind their elaborate stage environments, constructed to transport audiences into the drama unfolding on stage;
    • A scratch-and-sniff wallpaper along MAD’s stairwell produced in collaboration with olfactory artist Carlos Benaim, artist Jesse Hlebo, and wallpaper company Flavor Paper. The wallpaper found on each landing represents additive layers of an original scent made for the biennial, providing visitors with an increasingly complex sensory experience as they walk up the stairs;
    • Stained glass artist Joseph Cavalieri’s window of Jackie O. showcases how he is pushing his discipline into the 21st century by incorporating pop-culture references into his work;
    • An exploded human skull and mummified brain by Ryan Matthew Cohn, who is known for reviving the 19th-century tradition of developing medical education tools;
    • Gem artist John Hatleberg’s bejeweled workstation, which is encrusted with his personal collection of gems and stones, and provides insight into his practice of producing exact replicas of famous jewels. In addition, Hatleberg’s replica of the Koor-i-Noor diamond will be on view;
    • Two innovative hats by milliner H E I D I L E E, whose cutting edge approach to hat making reflects the media-savvy, instagram culture of today’s fashion conscious consumer and illustrates how this historic practice has evolved for modern audiences;
    • Stone carver Chris Pellettieri’s original stone carving of a two-headed bust that represents two opposing economic sides of NYC today, created within the Museum’s open studios;
    • Miriam Ellner’s verre eglomisé screen, which employs the process of gilding the reverse side of glass with gold or metal leaf, engraving a design, and applying color; Miriam is one of the few designers working today who has mastered this tradition;
    • Multimedia artist Laurie Anderson’s custom-made level duet instrument;
    • Lighting designer Lindsey Adelman’s custom chandelier, marking the debut of a new work in her “Totem” series, which is inspired by structural forms found in nature and incorporates handmade materials with the industrial;
    • Two immersive “mural” installations in MAD’s lobby that are created by hand from paper and mylarby CONFETTISYSTEM, an artist-design collective whose work unites sculpture, design, and product;
    • One of the immersive tableaus constructed specifically for the exhibition by Jeffrey Landman.The installation consists of customized furniture, pedestals, and stanchions, among other display platforms, tailored to present additional works.
    • A look from fashion designer Shayne Oliver’s clothing line Hood By Air, characterized by its volumetric proportions and amplified logo, merging street and athletic wear with a high fashion sensibility;
    • An immersive space designed by architect Rafael de Cárdenas that draws inspiration from NYC’s unique history of nightclub architecture and interior design. The installation will not only reveal the “behind the scenes” teams of designers, artists, artisans, and fabricators behind large scale projects, but will also house live performances and workshops throughout the run of the exhibition;
    • Wearable technology by Aisen Caro Chacin that allows the wearer to listen to mp3 players and other audio players through their teeth and jawbone instead of their eardrums. These players will be made available as an alternative audio tour at the front desk of the Museum.

      Participating makers were nominated last winter by a committee of over 300 New York City-based cultural leaders and civic figures from a range of trades and disciplines, including museum curators, choreographers, academics, chefs, musicians, and journalists. Final participants were selected in early February by a panel chaired by Murray Moss and including Glenn Adamson, Lowery Stokes Sims, Jake Yuzna, and cultural leaders representing all five boroughs: Joe Ahearn, Regine Basha, Sergio Bessa, Lisa Dent, Patrick Grenier, and Robert Wilson.


      NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial is organized by the Museum of Arts and Design and curated by Jake Yuzna, Director of Public Programs, assisted by Samantha De Tillio, Curatorial Assistant and project manager for the exhibition. NYC Makers inaugurates a new series of MAD exhibitions that will examine the culture of making and highlight the contributions of the makers who shape contemporary life.

      The exhibition will be accompanied by two catalogues, both edited by Jake Yuzna and designed by NYC-based studio Other Means, the first to be published in conjunction with the exhibition opening that takes its form from “process books” which document and make transparent the development of the Biennial and the work of the participating makers; the second including expanded essays and capturing the dialogues and conversations about making and culture in NYC throughout the life of the Biennial.  

      Support for NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial is provided by Autodesk; AlixPartners; Jack and Shirley Silver; Zabar's; Tiffany & Co.; Dan Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser; Goldman Sonnenfeldt Foundation; Siegelson, New York; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Ken Spitzbard; and Jill Bokor and Sanford Smith. In-kind support for the exhibition has generously been provided by Maharam. Additional thanks to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the Official Airline of MAD.


      Central to NYC Makers is a full roster of public programs—workshops, films, demonstrations, talks, and performances—that allow visitors to experience the immaterial making occurring in the City today and have direct encounters with some of NYC’s most creative figures. Bringing to life the traditions and innovations central to making today, programs range from natural textile dyeing workshops led by fiber artist and textile expert Isa Rodrigues to conversations with today’s leading fashion designers on the importance of craft and technique to New York-made fashion. Visitors can also participate in discussions on the integral role of artists, designers, and artisans to their community and how makers can form alliances to create an equitable and culturally vibrant city. Spanning the spectrum of making, additional programs include Spectacle Theater’s presentation of rare and never before seen internationally-sourced 35mm films; demonstrations that highlight the craftsmanship behind the work of J&M Special Effects and designer Jeremy Chernick; Martinez Hand Rolled Cigars; and the performative capacity of instruments by BrassLab. A complete calendar of events will become available in lead-up to the exhibition opening. For updates, please visit:


      Lindsey Adelman

      Laurie Anderson

      Ei Arakawa/Aki Takahashi/Sergei Tcherepnin


      Tomer Ben-Gal founder of FLATCUT_

      Carlos Benaim

      Best Made Company®

      Zach Blas

      Blue Bottle Coffee

      Scott Bodenner

      Boxart Inc.

      Boym Partners Inc.

      The Brasslab

      Lady Bunny

      A.K. Burns & Katherine Hubbard

      Rafael de Cárdenas / Architecture at Large

      Aisen Caro Chacin

      Joseph Cavalieri

      Chen Chen & Kai Williams

      Nicole Cherubini

      Ryan Matthew Cohn

      Tommy Coleman


      Keetra Dean Dixon & JK Keller

      Mark Dion

      Faye Driscoll

      Miriam Ellner

      The Extrapolation Factory

      Karen Finley

      Flavor Paper

      Fodera Guitars

      Fort Standard

      FPOAFM Studios

      Fredericks & Mae

      Benjamin Fredrickson

      David Galbraith

      Brett Ginsburg

      Charles Goldman

      Marvin Goldman

      Phil Groman, Surya Mattu, Robin Reid, and Federico  Zannier

      Harriet Rosebud

      John Hatleberg

      Paula Hayes

      H E I D I L E E

      Hood By Air

      item idem

      Natalie Jeremijenko

      J&M Special Effects

      Misha Kahn

      Victoria Keddie

      Kings County Distillery

      Ana Kraš

      Steven & William Ladd

      Jeffrey Landman

      Eckhaus Latta

      Let There Be Neon


      Phillip Low

      Martinez Hand Rolled Cigars

      Ohad Meromi

      Les Métalliers Champenois Corp.

      Metropolitan Opera


      Marilyn Minter

      Donald Moffett

      Meredith Monk

      Arnaldo Morales

      Raúl De Nieves

      Michele Oka Doner

      Other Means

      papabubble New York

      Sally Ann Parsons

      Chris Pellettieri

      Gaetano Pesce

      Jason Polan

      Ralph Pucci

      Isa Rodrigues

      Jason Sapan

      Miriam Simun

      SITU Studio

      Spectacle Theater


      Swill Children/ Jesse Hlebo

      Ginger Brooks Takahashi

      Hank Willis Thomas / Lower East Side Printshop

      Thunder Horse Video

      Elaine Tin Nyo

      UM Project

      Amanda Wachob

      Leslie Wayne

      Richard Webber

      Sylvia Weinstock

      Welcome to Night Vale

      Paul Wong / Dieu Donné

      Caroline Woolard and BFAMFAPhD

      Naomi Yasuda



      Jeff Zimmerman

      Or Zubalsky


      The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) champions contemporary makers across creative fields—presenting artists, designers, and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill to their work. 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 21st-century innovation, fostering a participatory setting for visitors to have direct encounters with skilled making and compelling works of art and design.

      For further information, please contact:

      Museum of Arts and Design:                                     

      Claire Laporte/Allison Underwood

      Resnicow Schroeder Associates:

      Chelsea Beroza

      Meryl Feinstein

      Juliet Sorce



      Wendi Parson
      Deputy Director, Communications and Marketing

      Iman Nelson
      Marketing and Media Relations Manager

      Tel: 212.299.7737

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