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Museum of Arts and Design Appoints Ronald T. Labaco as the Marcia Docter Curator

Decorative arts and design curator and historian Ronald T. Labaco has been appointed to the senior curatorial team at the Museum of Arts and Design, it was announced today by Holly Hotchner, the Museum’s Nanette L. Laitman Director. Labaco has served as the Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the High Museum in Atlanta since 2007, and previously worked as an independent curator and as an Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He will assume his new position at MAD as the Marcia Docter Curator, established through the generosity of the Museum’s Board Member Marcia Docter, on October 11, 2010.

“Ron brings an exciting new dimension and perspective to our distinguished curatorial team, which is led by our Chief Curator David R. McFadden and includes Dorothy Globus, Ursula Ilse-Neuman and Lowery Stokes Sims,” said Ms. Hotchner. “With his background in global design and decorative arts, Ron will further enrich the postdisciplinary vision of MAD, as it explores materials and process across the realms of art, craft, and design.”

Ms. Docter added, “Since its move to Columbus Circle in 2008, MAD has expanded its curatorial program dramatically. My husband Alan and I are happy to be able to support further development of the Museum’s curatorial staff with the endowment of this new position.”

“The Museum of Arts and Design is internationally acclaimed for the originality and boldness of its exhibitions and programming. I am thrilled to be joining such a talented and distinguished team, and to find ways to further push the envelope with them in the world of contemporary arts and design,” said Mr. Labaco.

Ronald T. Labaco is a seasoned design curator, published writer and respected lecturer. During his three-and-a-half year tenure at the High Museum, Mr. Labaco helped to develop and strengthen the museum’s collection of 20th- and 21st-century design, which he partially documented in the recent exhibition Under Construction: Building a Contemporary Design Collection for the High (2010). He also co-curated the recent exhibition The Allure of the Automobile: Driving in Style, 1930-1965 (2010), tracing the evolution of the luxury motorcar before and after World War II in Europe and America. Past exhibitions curated by Mr. Labaco at the High include Recent Acquisitions in Contemporary American Craft (2009-2010), Anthony Ames, Architect: Residential Landscapes (2009), A Graceful Industry: Bentwood Furniture (2008), and Toshiko Takaezu: Master Ceramist (2007). In 2006, Mr. Labaco independently organized the
exhibition Eva Zeisel: My Century (2006) for Bard Graduate Center at the International Art + Design Fair, New York. At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Mr. Labaco produced the first major U.S. museum retrospective on Ettore Sottsass (2006) and coauthored the catalogue Ettore Sottsass: Architect and Designer. He also curated the exhibition Peter Shire: The Los Angeles Connection to Memphis (2006). Mr. Labaco holds a Masters of Arts in the History of the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture from the Bard Graduate Center in New York City, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art from the University of California, Berkeley.

The Museum of Arts and Design explores how art, design, and craftsmanship intersect in the visual arts today. The Museum focuses on contemporary creativity and the ways in which artists and designers from around the world transform materials through processes ranging from the artisanal to digital. The Museum’s exhibition program explores and illuminates issues and ideas, highlights creativity and craftsmanship, and celebrates the limitless potential of materials and techniques when used by gifted and innovative artists. MAD’s permanent collection is global in scope and focuses on art, craft, and design from 1950 to the present day. At the center of the Museum’s mission is education. The Museum’s dynamic new facility features
classrooms and studios for master classes, seminars, and workshops for students, families, and adults. Three open artist 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 topical subjects affecting the world of contemporary art, craft, and design are held in a renovated 144-seat auditorium.

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