Museum of Arts and Design

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Museum of Arts and Design
Museum of Arts & Design (logo).png
Museum of Arts and Design
Location 2 Columbus Circle
Manhattan, New York City
Coordinates 40°46′3″N73°58′55″W / 40.76750°N 73.98194°W / 40.76750; -73.98194 Coordinates: 40°46′3″N73°58′55″W / 40.76750°N 73.98194°W / 40.76750; -73.98194
Type Art museum
CuratorElissa Auther
Public transit access Bus: M5, M7, M2, M31, M57, M104
Subway: NYCS-bull-trans-1-Std.svg NYCS-bull-trans-A-Std.svg NYCS-bull-trans-B-Std.svg NYCS-bull-trans-C-Std.svg NYCS-bull-trans-D-Std.svg at 59th Street–Columbus Circle
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The original design of the Edward Durell Stone building at 2 Columbus Circle
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The Museum of Arts and Design in 2008

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), based in Manhattan, New York City, collects, displays, and interprets 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.



The Museum first opened its doors in 1956 as the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, with an original mission of recognizing the craftsmanship of contemporary American artists. Nurtured by the vision of philanthropist and craft patron Aileen Osborn Webb, the Museum mounted exhibitions that focused on the materials and techniques associated with craft disciplines. From its earliest years, the Museum celebrated the changing roles of craftsmanship in society, served as an important advocate for emerging artists, and linked art to industry.

From 1963 to 1987, under the directorship of Paul J. Smith, the Museum presented dynamic and often participatory exhibitions that reflected the social currents of the era and broke down hierarchies in the arts with the celebration of popular culture and mundane materials. In 1979, the Museum reopened as the American Craft Museum in an expanded location at 44 West 53rd Street. To accommodate its ever-growing programming, the Museum relocated again in 1986 to its 18,000-square-foot home at 40 West 53rd Street, where it would remain until 2008.

The next ten years were a period of rapid growth and change, as the American Craft Council was restructured and the Museum and the Council were established as independent organizations. Holly Hotchner was appointed as director of the Museum in 1996, and served as director for 16 years until 2013. Hotchner initiated a comprehensive strategic planning process that expanded the Board of Trustees, curatorial staff, and exhibition and educational program. This process led to the Museum's name change, in 2002, to the Museum of Arts and Design to reflect the institution's increasingly interdisciplinary collections and programming. The continued growth of MAD's collections, public programs, and attendance resulted in its successful 2002 bid to the New York City Economic Development Corporation to acquire the building at 2 Columbus Circle.

The Museum opened in its new home at 2 Columbus Circle to great controversy. The proposed changes to the building originally designed by Edward Durell Stone sparked a preservation debate joined by Tom Wolfe ( The New York Times ; October 12, 2003 and October 13, 2003), Chuck Close, Frank Stella, Robert A. M. Stern, Columbia art history department chairman Barry Bergdoll, New York Times architecture critics Herbert Muschamp and Nicolai Ouroussoff, urbanist scholar Witold Rybczynski, among others. Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) referred to it as "one of New York's most photographed and readily recognizable buildings."

The new building was designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture, in September 2008. With its textured façade of glazed terra-cotta tile and fritted glass, the Jerome and Simona Chazen Building reflects MAD's craft heritage and permanent collections.

In September 2013, Dr. Glenn Adamson was appointed as the museum's new Nanette L. Laitman Director. [1] Previously a vocal critic of the museum, Adamson was characterized as a "bold choice" by the trustees. After a tenure of just over two years, Adamson stepped down from the post. [2] Chris Scoates was appointed Director of the Museum in March 2018. Scoates stepped down from his post in August 2020, making him the fourth leader at the venerable New York institution to leave the institution's job top in the past decade. [3]

2 Columbus Circle location

The new location at 2 Columbus Circle, with more than 54,000 square feet (5,000 m2), more than tripled the size of the Museum's former space. It includes: four floors of exhibition galleries for works by established and emerging artists; a 150-seat auditorium in which the museum plans to feature lectures, films, and performances; and a restaurant. It also includes a Center for the Study of Jewelry, and an Education Center that offers multi-media access to primary source material, hands-on classrooms for students, and three artists-in-residence studios.

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Holly Hotchner was the director of the Museum of Arts and Design, or MAD,, in New York City from 1996 to 2013. She was appointed by the museum’s board of governors in 1996. Under her leadership, MAD built a new 58,000-square-foot (5,400 m2) home at 2 Columbus Circle in Manhattan, which opened in September 2008. After 16 years as director, she announced in January 2013 that she would step down at the end of April 2013.

David Revere McFadden was Chief Curator and Vice President for Programs and Collections at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York City. from 1997 until his retirement in 2013.

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Nanette L. Laitman was an art collector and a philanthropist. She has been involved with the board of the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) and its precursors in New York City for over 25 years. She became a member of the board in 1994 and board president in 2000. She was one of the main benefactors supporting MAD's relocation to 2 Columbus Circle in 2002. Laitman has also funded the Nanette Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America at the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art.

Lloyd Eldred Herman is an arts administrator, curator and museum planner who is an acknowledged expert on contemporary craft. He is best known for being the founding Director of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C..


  1. Pogrebin, Robin (September 4, 2013). "A Critic of a Design Museum Will Lead It". The New York Times. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  2. Bowley, Graham (January 22, 2016). "Director of Manhattan's Museum of Arts and Design to Step Down". The New York Times. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  3. Greenberger, Alex (August 21, 2020). "Museum of Arts and Design Director Steps Down, Continuing Series of Departures". Retrieved September 24, 2020.