The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) today announced the appointment of Christian Larsen to the position of Windgate Research Curator, effective immediately. In this position, funded by the Windgate Charitable Foundation, Larsen will lead an educational and curatorial partnership between the Museum of Arts and Design and Bard Graduate Center (BGC) to increase the visibility of craft and design in art history and the contemporary art world. He replaces Elissa Auther who was named Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator last September.
‘With great enthusiasm, we welcome Christian to the curatorial team at MAD,” said Chris Scoates, Nanette L. Laitman Director. “A respected curator and scholar, his ability to integrate research, teaching, and curating to articulate contemporary concerns and critiques with the craft and design community will prove instrumental in bringing our curatorial vision to life for visitors to our galleries.”
Larsen brings to MAD more than twenty years of research, writing, curating, and teaching experience. His scholarship is grounded in the history of craft and design from the nineteenth century through to the present day, with a focus on Latin American architecture and design. Prior to joining MAD, he had been Associate Curator of Modern Decorative Arts and Design at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City (2015–19), where he organized Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical at The Met Breuer (2017). He also served as custodian to one of the most important collections of French Art Deco outside of Paris.
As Curator at the Wolfsonian-Florida International University, Miami Beach, (2013–15), Larsen’s exhibition and catalog Philodendron: From Pan-Latin Exotic to American Modern (2015) received an Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation Exhibition Award. Previously, he worked as Curatorial Assistant in the Architecture and Design Department of the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, (2000–08), where he organized several exhibitions, including Digitally Mastered (2006–07), 50 Years of Helvetica (2007–08), and Ateliers Jean Prouvé (2008–09).
“I am thrilled to accept the position of Windgate Research Curator, a unique opportunity to further the partnership and collaboration between MAD, the Bard Graduate Center, and the Center for Craft in North Carolina. I especially look forward to engaging BGC students in the research and production of exhibition content for MAD,” said Larsen. “This position promises a multi-institutional commitment to exploring the contemporary intersections of art, craft, and design.”
Larsen received a BA from Amherst College (2000), and earned both an MA (2010) and an M.Phil (2013) in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture from the Bard Graduate Center, where he is a doctoral candidate finishing his dissertation Aquarela do Brasil: Transnational Flows of Brazilian Design and Material Culture.
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.