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NYC Makers: Craft as Creative Economy

Sarah Bochicchio

16 July 2014

Inaugural in many ways, “NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial” is the first of the Museum of Arts and Design‘s (MAD) biennial series, the first exhibition organized by Glenn Adamson, MAD Director, and the first exhibition of its kind. Exhibiting work from over 100 “makers,” the show reflects the texture of New York City and pays homage to its rich profusion of creators.

The term “makers” refers to people who create, no matter their discipline or medium. The idea of a maker is comprehensive, as is the exhibition, the goal of which was to “give credit where credit is due,” according to Adamson. “NYC Makers” brings behind-the-scene creators to the forefront, recognizing the diversity of the definition of craft and the omnipresence of craftsmanship in everyday life.

NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial

Because of this wide definition, Adamson and curator Jake Yuzna sought to prioritize diversity. The exhibition presents different skills, trades, and ideas from people of different backgrounds and locations. The works range from a stained glass window depicting Jackie Onassis to local whiskey and scratch-and-sniff wallpaper.

One particularly interesting area of the exhibition was Rafael de Cárdenas‘ nightclub installation, entitled “Stepin One 2.” The installation—which will actually be used as a performance and event space—was inspired by 80s and 90s NYC club culture. The room as a whole is somewhat fantastical with its cool colored lighting and false terrariums, lending both energy and unearthliness.

Image Courtesy of MAD

Despite its variety, the exhibition remains unified in its embracement of the vibrancy of New York, its focus on skilled craft (no matter what that craft may be), and its championing of creativity. Adamson explained, “Craft is exactly the thing that prepares you for the future. It’s the thing that gives you the resources that you need, the inventiveness that you need—it is the driver of the innovation of the creative economy.”

“NYC Makers: The Mad Biennial” will be on view through October 12, 2014.

Rafael de Cárdenas Installation

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