MAD’s After the Museum
By Sara Carpenter / Published by Dwell

The museum as an institution transformed over the 20th century from a repository for collections of objects, art and historical artifacts into the cultural center we know today. With the knowledge of its evolution in the past, the exhibit examines potential uses of the museum in the 21st century. One aspect under the microscope is the relationship between designers and the post-millenial museum. Several of the installations in After the Museum could be considered incubators for prototypes of designers’ work as it allows them to see how people interact with their pieces and receive direct feedback. The audience of a public forum allows them to take their experiments out of the lab, so to speak.

In the foreground, museum visitors converse at a picnic table constructed by resident artists Aaron Anderson and Eric Timothy Carlson to form a point of communication in the gallery setting. The duo used the museum’s studios to create a new material, which they then applied to the table. In the background is On Display, a plethora of printed ephemera used to create talking points for the public. Through conversation, the display of the materials is covered, revealed, and changed to show the course of the dialogue about the museum and its role in design. On Display was created by Superscript and designers HAO and Neil Donnelly. Photo by Ed Watkins.

Bend, by Snarkitecture, provides a flexible seating area to host After the Museum’s many programs. Created for Design Miami 2012, the modular tubes are able to be rearranged in accordance with present needs. Photo by Ed Watkins.

Yuzna organized After the Museum with Guest Curator Dan Rubinstein as the first physical iteration of the museum’s American Design Now program series. Launched in 2011, the program brings together the design community to examine trends, hurdles and developments in the field. Complementing the exhibition are more than 40 programs open to the public. Ranging from workshops to lectures and master classes, the events will delve deeper into conceptual aspects of design.

Resident artists Aaron Anderson and Eric Timothy Carlson relocated the museum director’s chair to the gallery to invite attendees to act as director. The chair’s limited movement reinforces the limitations imposed when working with a museum institution. Photo by Ed Watkins.

A list of programs can be viewed here. Some highlighted presenters include Alexandra Lange, Stefan Sagmeister, and Murray Moss.

Dwell favorites RBW ventured beyond the lighting they’ve come to be known for and created a table to form a collaborative work area. Open Source shows the trios belief in the museum as a venue for development and production. Photo by Ed Watkins.

After the Museum will be on view through June 9.

Museum as Manufacturer (shown at right) allows the community to participate in the exhibit by taking on the role of designer. Public submitted projects are brought to life in the gallery via a 3-D printer. The objects are then collected and displayed in the exhibit. Keetra Dean Dixon and JK Keller, 2013. Photo by Ed Watkins.

For a preview, click through to the slideshow.

Sara Carpenter


Sara is a design, bikes, baking, traveling, and pizza enthusiast. She recently left the world of television for greener pastures in modern design.

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