NEW YORK – The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) today announced that Elissa Auther will join the museum as its new Windgate Research Curator, effective Dec. 1, 2014. She will serve as the inaugural scholar and curator in this newly created position to advance scholarly research and critical discourse about craft and design.
Auther will bring far-reaching and diverse expertise to MAD as a scholar and widely published author, a skilled educator and an independent curator. She joins MAD from the University of Colorado, where she currently serves as an Associate Professor of Contemporary Art as well as the Director of the Art History and Museum Studies Program. Auther also serves as the Co-director of Feminism & Co: Art, Sex, Politics at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.
The Windgate Research Curator is a newly created position, generously supported for five years by the Windgate Charitable Foundation. This initiative is a significant partnership between MAD, the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture (BGC) in New York, and the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD) in North Carolina. Recognizing the resurgence of interest in craft and the process of making across a wide range of media and materials that has occurred in recent years, the new position establishes a leadership role for exploration and scholarship for this burgeoning field of study. The Windgate Charitable Foundation has been a much-valued partner of the Museum of Arts and Design for many years. In addition to its steadfast support of the Museum’s exhibitions, the Foundation has provided crucial support for the institution’s move to 2 Columbus Circle in 2008, and has been instrumental in enriching the museum’s collections in clay, glass, metalwork, wood and fiber.
“We are delighted to welcome Elissa Auther to the Museum of Arts and Design and to inaugurate the new position of Windgate Research Curator,” said Glenn Adamson, the museum’s Nanette L. Laitman Director. “With her diverse experience as a professor, author, independent curator and a co-director of a dynamic museum program, Elissa brings the distinctive combination of scholarly, curatorial and leadership abilities to help launch the innovative partnership between MAD, the Bard Graduate Center and the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design. With so many new initiatives on the horizon for MAD, Elissa’s role will be critical in helping to build this important new function for the Museum, and support our reinvigorated mission.”
“I am thrilled to be joining MAD at this pivotal juncture in its history and look forward to being part of the next chapter of its growth,” said Auther. “Leaving the University of Colorado and my outstanding colleagues there and at MCA Denver was a difficult decision, but the new Windgate Research Curator position and the partnership with these three leading institutions offers a unique opportunity to expand my work and the field in an exciting new context.”
Prior to joining the University of Colorado, Auther taught at the University of Cincinnati in the School of Art, Architecture, Design and Planning. She has published widely, including String, Felt, Thread: The Hierarchy of Art and Craft and West of Center: Art and the Countercultural Experiment in America, 1965–1977, which was also the subject of a nationally touring exhibition. Her current scholarship examines the fiber-based work of artist Josh Faught, the performances of Senga Nengudi, and the painting of Marilyn Minter. She has developed exhibitions for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, where she also serves as co-director of the nationally acclaimed public program Feminism & Co.: Art, Sex, Politics, as well as the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and RedLine Denver. She is currently working on a large-scale retrospective of painter and photographer Marilyn Minter, which will open at the MCA Denver in 2015.
Auther received her Ph.D. in the History of Art from the University of Maryland, and her B.A. in the History of Art from San Francisco State University.
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