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Museum of Arts and Design Appoint Glenn Adamson As Director

Lewis Kruger, Chairman of the Board of the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), announced today that Dr. Glenn Adamson has been appointed as the museum’s new Nanette L. Laitman Director. Adamson, who comes to MAD from the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London, succeeds Holly Hotchner, who stepped down at the end of April. Adamson will assume his role at the museum on October 15, 2013.

Adamson is among the most prominent and respected voices in the field of applied arts and design today. He currently leads the V&A’s Research Department, a unique cross-disciplinary department that oversees, assesses, and supports the development of museum projects, and fosters research excellence across all the museum’s activities. As Head of Research, he helps to initiate and shape major exhibitions, manages partnerships with museums and universities, and leads academic fundraising. Adamson also contributes to the V&A’s publications, educational programming, media relations, and commercial activities.

In addition to his work in the Research Department, Adamson has also curated modern and contemporary design exhibitions during his tenure at the V&A, including co-curating the major survey Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970 to 1990, which opened in 2011 and traveled to Italy and Switzerland, and the forthcoming exhibition The Future: A History, which will inaugurate the V&A’s new temporary exhibition galleries in 2017. He initially joined the staff in 2005 as Head of Graduate Studies, working to expand the museum’s postgraduate design course administered in conjunction with the Royal College of Art.

An advocate for the reconsideration of craft as a pervasive cultural force rather than a circumscribed artistic category, Adamson has had a widespread influence on makers as well as craft historians and theorists. He has published several books including The Invention of Craft (V&A, Bloomsbury, 2013), The Craft Reader (Berg, 2010), Thinking Through Craft (V&A, Berg, 2007), and is founding co-editor of the Journal of Modern Craft, a peer-reviewed academic journal. He has collaborated with MAD on previous projects, contributing academic essays to catalogues that accompanied the recent exhibitions Space-Light-Structure: The Jewelry of Margaret De Patta (2012) and Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design (2011). He also curated Gord Peteran: Furniture Meets Its Maker, which was presented at MAD in 2009.

Prior to his work at the V&A, from 2000 to 2005, Adamson served as Curator for the Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which collects and promotes research within the field of decorative arts. During this time, Adamson was responsible for organizing exhibitions, consulting on acquisitions, and development. He also served as Adjunct Curator at the Milwaukee Art Museum, where he organized a number of exhibitions, including the award-winning Industrial Strength Design: How Brooks Stevens Shaped Your World(2003).

Born and raised in Boston, Adamson received his BA in Art History from Cornell University (1994) and earned his doctorate in Art History from Yale University (2001). He serves as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Crafts Study Centre, Farnham, and is the most recent recipient of the mid-career Iris Award for outstanding contribution to the decorative arts.