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The Role of Design & Architecture in Museums of Art, History, & Culture
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The Role of Design & Architecture in Museums of Art, History, & Culture
Monday, December 5, 2016
1 - 2 pm ET


In this one-on-one dialogue between leading voices in the curatorial field, Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art, and Michelle J. Wilkinson, Curator at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture, discussed their experiences of the fundamental role of design and architecture, as well as their distinction from other visual arts, touching upon examples both past and recent - for instance, the very recent inaugural installation at NMAAHC.

(listed alphabetically) 

Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, Museum of Modern Art

Antonelli is a Senior Curator at The Museum of Modern Art in the Department of Architecture & Design, as well as MoMA’s founding Director of Research & Development. She has curated numerous shows, lectured worldwide, and has served on several international architecture and design juries. She has taught at the University of California, Los Angeles; the Harvard Graduate School of Design; and the MFA programs of the School of Visual Arts in New York.

With a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Polytechnic of Milan, Antonelli has also earned Honorary Doctorate degrees from the Royal College of Art and Kingston University, London, and the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. She earned the “Design Mind” Smithsonian Institution’s National Design Award in 2006, and in 2007, was named one of the 25 most incisive design visionaries by Time magazine. In 2011, she was inducted in the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame and in 2015, received the AIGA Medal.

Antonelli is the author of many books, including the exhibition catalogues Humble Masterpieces (2005); Design and the Elastic Mind (2008); Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects (2011); and Design and Violence (2015). 
Antonelli’s recent online experiment, Design and Violence, with co-curator Jamer Hunt, has become a new paragon for curatorial practice and communication. She is currently working on several shows on contemporary design, the book Design Bites, and a new Theory of Everything for design.

Michelle Joan Wilkinson, Museum Curator, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Michelle Joan Wilkinson, Ph.D. is a curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Wilkinson has co-curated two of the inaugural exhibitions for the new museum: A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond and A Century in the Making: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Wilkinson is also expanding the museum’s collections in architecture and design.

Wilkinson spent six years as Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. In that capacity, she curated over twenty exhibitions, including A People’s Geography: The Spaces of African American Life and two award-winning shows—Material Girls: Contemporary Black Women Artists and For Whom It Stands: The Flag and the American People. Her interdisciplinary work spans art and history museums, and the terrains of American studies, African Diaspora studies, and cultural studies.

Wilkinson holds a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and a Ph.D. from Emory University. As a 2012 fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership in New York City, she completed a short-term residency at the Design Museum in London. In 2013, she was awarded a research support grant from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art for her project, “V is for Veranda: ‘Architecting’ in British Guiana.” This project, which weaves family, oral, and social history together with architectural and design history, has been presented to international audiences in Suriname, England, India, and the United States.

AAMC's Webinar Program

AAMC offers webinars on essential skills, timely issues, and latest discoveries that define the profession of Art Curator and enhance understanding and development in the field, through online webinars, a medium that simultaneously reaches the organization's entire membership, regardless of location. As of October 2015, all webinars are free with a current membership. An archive of past webinars is also available to current members.

All of AAMC’s programming and overall efforts shall strive to be representative of diversity: across fields of expertise, types of institutional mission, regional position, and self-identifications (by nation, gender, creed, race) of participants. The more diverse our voices, the more dynamic our offerings.

For the 2015 - 2016 season, our webinars focus on the theme "How Art Curators Get Their Ideas Out There." The topics for the webinars have been selected based on this idea as it relates to exhibitions, scholarship, and the broader social context. 

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