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Exploring the Museum of Arts and Design at Columbus Circle: A Photo Essay

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Exploring the Museum of Arts and Design at Columbus Circle:
A Photo Essay

Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-299.7777

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 18, 2014

On a recent visit to the visually dynamic Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), centrally located at Columbus Circle, I had decided to explore for the afternoon, not sure what to expect. On entering, the Confetti System gold foil wall hanging and the sound of electronic wind chimes greets the visitors, as well as the glass-walled gift store, filled with unique craft gifts and handmade jewelry. I first headed up to the 9th floor restaurant, called Robert, for a lime ricky and homemade sorbets. Their menu is fantastic. A grand piano awaits the jazz series, that entertains guests on certain days, with breathtaking views of Central Park and Columbus Circle.

My first exhibit exploration spanned both 5th and 4th floors, heading downwards. “NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial” opened in July and remains on view through October 12, 2014. I discovered that the Confetti System display, like other displays in the lobby, in stairwells, and at Robert, is included in this exhibition. The creative communities from across all five boroughs, with 100 “makers”, bring to this show a diversity of styles, materials, and culture. This fanciful and fascinating exhibit was conceived by Glenn Adamson, MAD’s new Director, with some objects expanding through half a floor, some filling a full, small room, and some standing small, but vibrant, on a cube or table. This exhibit actually begs for repeat viewings, to see the exhibit under new, natural light conditions, or from different angles. In fact, on second viewing, you might notice objects hung on high walls or behind tall, floor-level constructions. Over 300 New York City leaders nominated the “makers” for this show. A jury, led by Mr. Adamson, chose the final 100 exhibitors, whose works envision futuristic, even fantasy ideas for furniture, food, fashion, films, and more. Special performances and projects accompany this must-see exhibition.

Starting on the 5th Floor, I stopped to view a “Community Garden”, with organic plants and industrial metal. A series of jars, with natural dyes from New York City plants, expands across a high shelf. Bright red “Vigilant Floral", designed by Flavor Paper, like traditional wallpaper, suddenly reveals florals, razor blades, birds, and printed surveillance cameras, on second look. HEIDILEE’s “Echo Hat” is a pun on the echo chamber, with multiple faces attached, while “Three Giant Terrariums” by Paula Hayes feature custom plants in hand-blown glass. A few objects were included in “Let There Be Neon”, with installations on walls and ceilings, such as a “Columbia Studios Chinese Character Film Prop Sign”, a “3-D Chair”, “Love Me”, by Curtis K. Kulig, and a sign called “Fosse” from the Broadway production. Two of my favorites were Jeff Zimmerman’s “Unique Crumpled Sculptural Vessels” one yellow and shiny, clear and one blue-brown, both with pink and silver shadings. Like so much on display, these vessels were tipped, off-balance. Also on the 5th Floor was a “Nightclub”, by Rafael de Cardénas/Architecture at Large, enclosed among reflective mylar beams and acrylic-boxed, artificial succulents and moss.

On the 4th Floor I was drawn to Richard Webber’s “Velociraptor Mount”, of steel and polyurethane, which depicts a dinosaur head and spinal skeletons. Mark Dion used papier-mâché to fill a table with the all-white, “Equipment-Clark Expedition”, a take on Robert Sterling Clark’s 1908-1909 expedition. Misha Kahn’s “Saturday Morning Store”, of resin and pigment, envisions retro garden tools, mirrors, clocks, and telephones. John Hatleberg’s “Baldacchino gem cutting table and gem wunderkammer”, fabricated from an actual antique gem cutting table, with a faceting machine and gems attached, was eye-catching, as were Yoko Ono’s video, “Bad Dancer” from “Take Me To the Land of Hell”, her Vinyl LP and paint brush, and the brush-painted “MAD”, named for the museum. A “Die Fledermaus Act I Peacock Crest”, from the Metropolitan Opera Scenic Artists Robert Jones and Douglas Lebrecht, was formed from metal and foam, on a plywood base, with imitation gold leaf, glazes, and faux jewels. My favorites on this floor were two hats by Harriet Rosebud, a large, black chiffon hat, with dyed goose feathers and silk flowers, and a large, red satin fascinator, with burnt coque feathers. A close favorite was a “Parachute Jacket and Short”, of nylon, by Hood by Air, with stylized zippers and fasteners.

The 3rd Floor housed “RE: Collection”, running through September 7, 2014, showcasing Chief Curator Emeritus David McFadden’s 16 year tenure at MAD, through many of his acquisitions. These objects bridge cultural, economic, and geopolitical themes. Sebastian Brajkovic’s “Lathe V Chair”, of bronze and upholstery, has legs that form a V, making it impossible to use but gorgeous to admire, while Goncalo Mabunda’s “Hope Throne” is composed of welded, spent ammunition and armaments from the Mozambique Civil War. Guns, a boot, bullet casings, belts, and more make this a metaphorical furniture design. Toss Pavlisko’s portrait of Richard Pryor is formed with plastic tag fasteners, in colors that signify color mapping systems, a very realistic image, and Cindy Sherman used her own likeness on a pink Tea Set, called “Madame de Pompadour”, in collaboration with Royal Limoges. Two of my favorites from this exhibit were Ginny Ruffner’s “Another Pretty Face”, of flameworked glass and mixed media, and Vika Mitrichenka’s “Victoria” porcelain tea set, an homage to his grandmother, from Belarus. It was customary for his grandmother to patch together broken pieces of china to refabricate whole cups, platters, and bowls, with a collage of designs.

On the 2nd Floor, I found the “Multiple Exposures: Jewelry and Photography” exhibit, on view through September 14, 2014. Contemporary artists create shapes of jewelry with digital imagery or with photography paraphernalia. Works on display represent 80 artists from 20 countries. One cabinet features digital photos taken from an implanted camera on the back of the head of a foreign student, to record his New York experience. Other cabinets and wall displays were thought-provoking, with Janet Goldner’s “Wealth in Africa”, giant mixed media necklace, hung on canvas, with a video film as its central ornament. I was also drawn to Sandy Johanson’s “Flash Bulb Neckpiece”, made from Sylvania Blue Dot flashbulbs and sterling silver, patina wiring. MAD also has 6th Floor Open Studios, where the visitor can view artists and designers at work on their craft. On Floor T, I noticed a theater, as well. Museum of Arts and Design is open Tuesday through Sunday.

Columbus Circle View from restaurant, Robert
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Central Park Entrance View from restaurant, Robert
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Mint Lime Ricky and Sorbet Triple Scoop at restaurant, Robert
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Paula Hayes "Giant Terrarium" and "Let There Be Neon"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Paula Hayes "Giant Terrarium"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

HEIDILEE "Echo Hat" and
"Vigilant Floral" by Flavor Paper/Dan Funderburgh
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"Nightclub" by Rafael de Cardénas/Architecture at Large
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"Toma mi alma, veve mi cuerpo" by Raúl De Nieves
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"Unique Crumpled Sculptural Vessels"
by Jeff Zimmerman/R & Company
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Collection from "Let There Be Neon"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"BFAMFAPhD" Recycled Paintings
by Ben Lerchin, Caroline Woolard,
Lika Volkova, Vicky Virgin, Julian Boilen.
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"Equipment - Clark Expedition" by Mark Dion
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"Velociraptor Mount" by Richard Webber
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"Baldacchino gem cutting table and gem wunderkammer"
by John Hatleberg
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band by Yoko Ono
"MAD" painting - paintbrush and "Bad Dancer" video
"Take Me To the Land of Hell" vinyl LP
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"Eight Mannequins" by Ralph Pucci
from Motion2 - Red and
"Earth Pot #3: The Fancy One" by Nicole Cherubini
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"Saturday Morning Store" by Misha Kahn
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower
by Aisen Caro Chacin

Hood by Air's "Parachute Jacket and Short"
and "Sensory Pathways for the Plastic Mind"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"Die Fledermaus Act I Peacock Crest"
by Met Opera Scenic Artists, Robert Jones, designer,
Douglas F. Lebrecht, chargeman scenic artist
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"Large Chiffon Hat" and "Blackbird"
by Harriet Rosebud
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"Lathe V Chair" by Sebastian Brajkovic
Bronze and Upholstery
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"Portrait of a Textile Worker"
by Terese Agnew
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"The Hope Throne" by Goncalo Mabunda
Armaments, weapons, ammunition from Mozambique Civil War
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

”Untitled”, Richard Pryor
by Todd Pavlisko, made of retail tag fasteners
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Cindy Sherman's "Madame de Pompadour" Tea Set
Ancienne Manufacture, Royale Limoges
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

”Another Pretty Face” by Ginny Ruffner
Made of flameworked glass and mixed media
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"Cabbage Chair Prototype" by Nendo of Japan
Made of non-woven pleated paper
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

”Victoria” Porcelain Tea Set No. 12
by Vika Mitrichenka from Belarus
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"The Fall" from the Holocaust Project
by Judy Chicago and Audrey Cowan
with "The Bust" by Robert Arneson
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

"Aberrant Ascension" by Tom Eckert
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

”Flash Bulb Neckpiece” by Sandy Johanson
Made from Sylvania Blue Dot flashbulbs and sterling silver
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

”Wealth in Africa” by Janet Goldner
Mixed media sculpture and video
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at