Museum of Arts and Design (Manhattan, NY)

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Place Category: Museums and Galleries

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  • Mission Statement

    The mission of the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) is to collect, display, and interpret objects that document contemporary and historic innovation in craft, art, and design. In its exhibitions and educational programs, the Museum celebrates the creative process through which materials are crafted into works that enhance contemporary life.


    About the Museum

    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.

    Museum History

    The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) explores the value of making across all fields of contemporary creative practice. The Museum focuses on the ways in which artists and designers transform the world around us, through processes ranging from the artisanal to the digital. MAD’s exhibition program is dedicated to creativity and craftsmanship, and demonstrates the limitless potential of materials and techniques when used by gifted and innovative artists. The Museum’s permanent collection is global in scope and includes art, craft, and design from 1950 to the present day. At the center of the Museum’s mission is education. The Museum houses classrooms and studios for master classes, seminars, and workshops for students, families, and adults. Three open studios engage visitors in the creative processes of artists at work and enhance the exhibition programs. Lectures, films, performances, and symposia related to the Museum’s collection and subjects across the full spectrum of making practices are held in a renovated 144-seat auditorium.

    MAD was founded in 1956 by Aileen Osborn Webb as the Museum of Contemporary Crafts and later became the American Craft Museum. Today, MAD celebrates materials and processes that are embraced by practitioners in the fields of craft, art and design, as well as architecture, fashion, interior design, technology, performing arts, and art and design-driven industries. The institution’s new name, adopted in 2002, reflects this wider spectrum of interest, as well as the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of MAD’s permanent collection and exhibition programming. In September 2008, MAD opened the doors to its new home at 2 Columbus Circle. Since then, the Museum has welcomed more than 250,000 visitors served annually; tripled its membership to 8,000 members; and doubled its admissions and retail revenue from its former home on West 53rd Street. MAD offers visitors a unique museum-going experience in an alternative learning environment. Exhibitions and educational and public programs offer an intimate, accessible look at the arts today, and its restaurant (Robert, opened in 2009), theatre, and award-winning retail arm (The Store at MAD) complement this experience.

    Since moving to the Jerome and Simona Chazen Building, its 54,000-square-foot home at Columbus Circle in 2008, MAD has increased the range of its programming dramatically and dedicated galleries to its growing collection. The Chazen Building has also allowed MAD to distinguish itself as the only New York museum with an Open Studio program that enables visitors to observe and interact with artists engaged at work within programming spaces. Through this program, visitors are able to experience the creative process, learning first-hand about the exploration of materials and process that is central to our mission. Its four exhibition floors host rotating special exhibitions and also include the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Jewelry Gallery, a groundbreaking center for the presentation and study of studio jewelry. MAD is the only American museum with a gallery dedicated to contemporary and modern studio and art jewelry, featuring both temporary jewelry exhibitions and installations from the permanent collection, which it began assembling soon after its founding in 1956. Throughout the Museum, visitor experience is enhanced by interpretative tools and an active schedule of public and education programs offered in the Sarah and Seth Glickenhaus Education Center on the sixth floor and in the renovated 144-seat auditorium below street level.

  • Directions:

    A, B, C, 1, 2 to 59th Street - Columbus Circle

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  • Directions:

    A, B, C, 1, 2 to 59th Street - Columbus Circle