Paola Antonelli is senior curator of architecture and design, and director of research and development, at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. Her work investigates design’s influence on everyday experience, often including overlooked objects and practices, and combining design, architecture, art, science, and technology. In addition to her role as senior curator of architecture and design at MoMA, Antonelli was appointed director of a new research and development initiative in 2012. She lectures frequently at high-level global conferences and coordinates cultural discussions at the World Economic Forum in Davos. A true interdisciplinary, energetic, and generous cultural thinker, Antonelli was recently rated as one of the top one hundred most powerful people in the world of art by Art Review.
- MoMa R&D SalonsMoMA Research & Development provides information and critical tools to identify and explore new directions and opportunities for The Museum of Modern Art and—leading by example—the broader museum field. It is both crucible and catalyst for new ways of thinking and doing in museums. Watch all salons here.
- @ at MoMaMoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design has acquired the @ symbol into its collection. It is a momentous, elating acquisition that makes us all proud. But what does it mean, both in conceptual and in practical terms? Contemporary art, architecture, and design can take on unexpected manifestations, from digital codes to Internet addresses and sets of instructions that can be transmitted only by the artist. The process by which such unconventional works are selected and acquired for our collection can take surprising turns as well, as can the mode in which they’re eventually appreciated by our audiences. While installations have for decades provided museums with interesting challenges involving acquisition, storage, reproducibility, authorship, maintenance, manufacture, context—even questions about the essence of a work of art in itself—MoMA curators have recently ventured further; a good example is the recent acquisition by the Department of Media and Performance Art of Tino Sehgal’s performance Kiss. The acquisition of @ takes one more step. It relies on the assumption that physical possession of an object as a requirement for an acquisition is no longer necessary, and therefore it sets curators free to tag the world and acknowledge things that “cannot be had”—because they are too big (buildings, Boeing 747’s, satellites), or because they are in the air and belong to everybody and to no one, like the @—as art objects befitting MoMA’s collection. The same criteria of quality, relevance, and overall excellence shared by all objects in MoMA’s collection also apply to these entities.In order to understand why we have chosen to acquire the @ symbol, and how it will exist in our collection, it is necessary to understand where @ comes from, and why it’s become so ubiquitous in our world. Read the article in full here
- Design and ViolenceDesign has a history of violence. It can be an act of creative destruction and a double-edged sword, surprising us with consequences intended or unintended. Yet professional discourse has been dominated by voices that only trumpet design’s commercial and aesthetic successes.Historically, designers’ ambitions have ranged from the quotidian to the autocratic, from the spoon to the city. Under the guise of urban renewal or the cliché of disruptive innovation, designers of all kinds—from architects and typographers to interface, product, and fashion designers—have played a role in the reconfiguration of ways of life, ecosystems, and moral philosophies. Although designers aim to work toward the betterment of society, it is and has been easy for them to overstep, indulge in temptation, succumb to the dark side of a moral dilemma, or simply err.Violence, on the other hand, is one of the most mutable constants in history. It accommodates myriad definitions, spanning a wide spectrum between the symbolic and the real, and between the individual and the public. In recent years, technology has introduced new threats and added dramatically to its many manifestations. Our exploration of the relationship between design and violence will shed light on the complex impact of design on the built environment and on everyday life, as well as on the role of violence in contemporary society. As we define it, violence is a manifestation of the power to alter circumstances, against the will of others and to their detriment. We have assembled a wide range of design objects, projects, and concepts that have an ambiguous relationship with violence, either masking it while at the same time enabling it; animating it in order to condemn it; or instigating it in order to prevent it. Almost all were designed after 2001. We see that year as a watershed because it marks four historical shifts in the modern evolution of violence: the beginning of a permanent War on Terror; a global shift from symmetrical to asymmetric warfare; the emergence of nation-building as an alternative to military supremacy; and the rise of cyberwarfare. The few exceptions—the AK-47, for instance—are archetypal examples of the entanglement between design and violence in the 20th century. We will group the projects into the following thematic categories:Hack/Infect: disrupting the rules of the system Constrain: binding, blocking, and distorting Stun: causing blunt trauma Penetrate: infiltrating the boundaries, breaching Manipulate/Control: drawing into the realm of violence with suasion Intimidate: promising damage and death Explode: annihilating visibly and completelyWe are inviting experts from fields as diverse as science, philosophy, literature, music, film, journalism, and politics to respond to selected design objects and spark a conversation with all readers. Pairing the critical thinkers we most admire with examples of challenging design work, we intend to present case studies that will spark discussion and bring the relationship between design and violence to center stage for designers and the people they serve—all of us. Design and Violence is organized by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA; Jamer Hunt, Director, graduate program in Transdisciplinary Design, Parsons The New School for Design; Kate Carmody, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA; and Michelle Millar Fisher, Exhibition Coordinator, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA. See Paola discuss the project in process at Eyeo 2013 in Minneapolis.The website was designed by Shannon Darrough, Senior Media Developer, Department of Digital Media. Initial design by Luke Keller. Creative direction by Allegra Burnette, Creative Director, Department of Digital Media. Website development by Arrow Root Media.Please follow us at @desviolenz
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Projects credited in
- International Women’s Day 2020, meet 100 trailblazers redefining the creative industryAt The Dots, International Women’s Day isn’t just a day – it’s a whole month! A time to take over the site and shine a light on the women and non-binary people redefining the creator landscape. For #IWD2020, we asked industry leaders to nominate the trailblazing women and non-binary people they think will redefine the creative and digital industries over the coming years. The list we’ve put together is one that beams with brilliant, talented people and their dedication to positive change. Book167
- MoMA: Is Fashion Modern?I was approached by The Museum of Modern Art, New York to create images for their first fashion exhibition since 1944. Commissioned by curator Paola Antonelli, the show presents 111 items of clothing and accessories that have had a profound impact on the world in the 20th and 21st centuries. The exhibition traces the history of each item in relation to cultural forces past and present, touching on labor, marketing, technology, religion, politics, aesthetics and popular culture. Working along wi
- Riposte #4Chock-full of insanely talented, fearless and inspiring women, we couldn't be happier about the cast of women we present to you in our fourth issue. Our ideas section showcase reports on brilliant women from around the world including tailor Sunna Johnson and photographer/artist Petra Collins.35
The Director of R&D at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City.
Paola currently the Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture & Design.
AIGA MedalAntonelli was recognized with an AIGA Medal in 2015 for "expanding the influence of design in everyday life by sharing fresh and incisive observations and curating provocative exhibitions at MoMA". Paola was also rated one of the one hundred most powerful people in the world of art by Art Review and Surface Magazine