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Works by Ilana Harris-Babou Presented in MAD's Project Space as Part of Fellow Focus Exhibition Series

New York, NY (September 7, 2017)

NEW YORK, NY (September 7, 2017) – The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) presents One Bad Recipe, on view in its sixth-floor Project Space through October 22. This solo exhibition of work by Ilana Harris-Babou, the Museum’s Summer 2017 Van Lier Fellow, combines video and ceramic sculpture for an abject exploration of the American Dream.

One Bad Recipe is the second installation of the MAD Education Department’s Fellow Focus series. Dedicated to highlighting the work of alumni of the Van Lier Fellowship, part of MAD’s Artist Studios Program, Fellow Focus invites these emerging artists to showcase the artwork they produced while in residence at the Museum. Funds for the Van Lier Fellowship are provided by the New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellowship Program, which supports talented, culturally diverse, economically challenged young people who are seriously dedicated to careers in the arts.

“Ilana Harris-Babou’s conceptual, playful work in ceramics and video is exemplary of how contemporary artists working with craft-based mediums are pushing the field forward,” said Danny Orendorff, curator of One Bad Recipe and MAD’s Manager of Public and Community Engagement Programs.

For the exhibition, Harris-Babou has created a hybrid space that is equal parts kitchen and toolshed, examining how an artist’s studio might be similar to other, domestic spaces of creation. In her 2016 video Cooking with the Erotic, the artist draws upon Audre Lorde’s notion of eroticism as a source of personal and political power as inspiration for an absurdist cooking show. The video is displayed alongside a set of the artist’s “dysfunctional ceramics”: tools that ask viewers to reevaluate expectations of utility and elegance in everyday objects.

Harris-Babou’s multidisciplinary practice draws inspiration from music videos, cooking shows, and home improvement programs. She works primarily in ceramic sculpture and video installation, and frames messy scenes with studio lighting and HD video in order to ask questions about intimacy, violence, and consumption. Harris-Babou received an MFA in New Genres from Columbia University and a BA in Art from Yale University. She has exhibited her work throughout the United States and Europe.

One Bad Recipe is organized by Danny Orendorff, Manager of Public and Community Engagement Programs for the MAD Education Department.


The New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellowship at MAD has served five emerging artists since June 2016. The fellowship is designed to reach young artists at a critical juncture when financial and professional support will allow them to take their careers to the next level. Fellows are given a dedicated studio where they work alongside residents of the Artist Studios Program, in addition to other professional development opportunities. Both fellows and residents work in a live studio environment where visitors are encouraged to engage with artists as they work. The fellowship furthers the Museum’s commitment to providing engaging opportunities at the intersection of artist, object, and personal experience. Applicants selected for the fellowship at MAD present a mature body of work that reveals a mastery of techniques, methods, processes, and materials, and that demonstrates developed concepts, ideas, and themes. Fellows are selected by the Artist Studios Selection Committee, which includes Museum staff and outside professionals in the fields of art, craft, 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.

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