Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)

Last Thursday I took a trip to the Museum of Arts and Design (aka MAD) because a) it is super close to my job site and b) it’s pay what you wish starting at 6pm. You’re welcome 🙂

museum of arts and design
Statue outside the museum.

The first exhibit I saw was called Multiple Exposures: Jewelry and Photography. It explored “how contemporary jewelry artists transform and add new meaning to the pervasive images of this digital age” (MAD).

electronic jewel necklace
Redefining “jewel”ry

A piece that I liked (and wasn’t allowed to be photographed) had a similar concept to the work shown above. It was a photo of an ornate, jewel necklace that was cut out and laid out like on a jewelry display. I liked how this artist challenged the value and purpose of jewelry, as more often than not these precious gems are displayed behind a museum glass and are for viewing only. Similarly, isn’t a photograph of the jewel necklace “for your eyes only” just as good as the original, untouchable jewels?

camera bracelet
This bracelet makes the techie, camera geek in me very happy 🙂

The camera shown below automatically takes a picture of you when it detects your smile. As you will see, it really works!

selfie camera


More “traditional” forms of jewelry:

adam necklace
“Adam Necklace” by Gijs Bakker
tree ring
“Rings from In the Shades of the Trees Series” by Mari Ishikawa

One of my favorites in this exhibition:

waterman bakker
“Waterman” by Gijs Bakker

“On entering a small souvenir shop in San Diego, Bakker was struck by a postcard photograph of a muscular man throwing a bucket of water over his back taken by Bruce Weber…by sprinkling the image with real diamonds that sparkle in place of the droplets of water, Bakker transforms the disposable object into a work of enduring sensuality and luxury…”

Continuing one floor up was another exhibition called Re: Collection. It celebrated the museum’s 5th anniversary since its move to the Columbus Circle location by displaying items acquired in the 16 years that chief curator Emeritus David McFadden tenured at MAD.

“McFadden has selected approximately 68 works of sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, and textiles, many of which will be definitive works by key postwar American and international makers” (MAD).

“Untitled, Richard Pryor” by Todd Pavlisko

The artist repurposed tens of thousands of plastic retail tag connectors to recreate this likeness of social critic Richard Pryor. The theme of the work? Consumption.

richard pryor todd pavlisko
Close-up of the plastic tags.

Another social commentary work I liked:

Portrait Textile Worker Terese Agnew
“Portrait of a Textile Worker” by Terese Agnew

This this painting look-a-like is actually composed from tens of thousands of repurposed and transformed labels from designer clothing.

“The larger purpose of the work is to make the unseen or hidden visible – to make it possible to connect the seams in our clothes with an image of one face, an identity.” – Terese Agnew

Close-up of labels

Other cool pieces:

vessels jo meesters
“Ornamental Inheritance, Vessels” by Jo Meesters
“Lace Meander” by Piper Shepard

The “lace” curtain above is actually created from gessoed muslin that has been coated with black graphite and entirely hand-cut using an X-acto knife. Now give me a minute to pick up my jaw from the floor…

jellyfish art
“Marine Group” by Steffen Dam

Pieces from the third and final exhibit, NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial, shone a spotlight on artists across the five burroughs.

skull art
My timing was kind of perfect here.
Giiiirl, the back ‘o yo head is…
Without camera flash
Without camera flash.
With camera flash
With camera flash, where you can now see the morbid scene of a lynching.

On a completely different note, this last floor was full of fun things!

tv screen
I spy myself in one of these screens.

drumset art

pink lady hat

neon chair

Love these terrariums.

There was a little dark room in the back filled with illuminated plants in tanks while background techno music played for the complimentary “listening party,” yet altogether it created a most bizarre and fun experience.

terrarium plants

MAD listening party
DJ, turn it uppp

Before I left, I had to play with this joystick that displayed a pixelated me on a screen in various angles, depending on how I controlled it.

WHEW that was a lot to share, but I wanted to show as much as possible because I loved this museum! It was small but the perfect size to see after work for an hour or two. The art was interesting, interactive (my favorite!), and thought-provoking. What are you waiting for? Go!

Have you ever visited MAD? What cool exhibitions were on display when you went?

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Cool stuff in the museum’s gift shop: Well-Designed Finds in MaD