Andrew Blauvelt, John Underkoffler named curators at MAD

Andrew Blauvelt and John Underkoffler. MAD images

NEW YORK – The Museum of Arts and Design today announced the appointments of Andrew Blauvelt as Curator-at-Large for Design and John Underkoffler as Curator-at-Large for Design Technology, effective immediately.

In these new curatorial roles, Blauvelt and Underkoffler will conceive and mount several design-focused exhibitions at MAD, engage leading international designers, and advance the museum’s scholarship and collecting practices.

“I am excited to welcome Andrew and John to the MAD team at a crucial moment in charting the Museum’s future,” said Chris Scoates, MAD’s director. “Their innovative ideas, energy and enthusiasm for MAD’s mission will inject our curatorial program with a strong focus on design and technology and will play a pivotal role in helping MAD attract and engage contemporary audiences.”

Blauvelt is director of the Cranbrook Art Museum, part of the storied Cranbrook Educational Community in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Prior to joining Cranbrook in 2015, he spent 17 years at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, serving in curatorial and administrative roles including design director, chief of communications and audience engagement, and senior curator of design, research and publishing.

Blauvelt has curated numerous major traveling exhibitions and edited and designed several accompanying catalogs, including “Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976–  1986, which debuted at the Cranbrook Art Museum last year and will be on view at MAD from April 9 through Aug. 18.

A practicing communications designer specializing in work for the cultural sector, Blauvelt is the recipient of nearly 100 design awards.

Blauvelt holds an MFA in design from Cranbrook Academy of Art and is a former national board member of AIGA, the professional association for design.

Blauvelt will maintain his position as director of the Cranbrook Art Museum as he undertakes his new role with MAD.

Underkoffler is founder and CEO of Oblong Industries, developer of the g-speak spatial operating environment and the Mezzanine system for immersive visual collaboration. Oblong’s technological trajectories build on 15 years of foundational work at the MIT Media Lab, where Underkoffler was responsible for innovations in real-time computer graphics systems, optical and electronic holography, large-scale visualization techniques and the I/O Bulb and Luminous Room systems.

Additionally, he has served as a science adviser to major motion pictures including Minority Report (2002), Hulk (2003) and Iron Man (2008). In 2015, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum recognized Underkoffler with the National Design Award for interaction design.

He holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and serves on the boards of directors of Sequoyah School in Pasadena, California, and the E14 Fund in Cambridge, Massachusetts.