About the Exhibition

Design Life Now: National Design Triennial 2006
On view December 8, 2006–July 29, 2007

The National Design Triennial is an ongoing exhibition series at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Inaugurated in 2000, the Triennial seeks out innovative work from across the fields of product design, architecture, furniture, film, graphics, new technologies, animation, science, medicine and fashion. Called Design Life Now, the 2006 Triennial presents experimental projects, emerging ideas, major buildings, and new products and media created by 87 designers and firms from 2003 to 2006. The exhibition features work by designers of any nationality who are producing work in the U.S. as well as American-born designers who are working abroad.

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Barbara Bloemink

Barbara Bloemink began her tenure as Curatorial Director of Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution in 2002. Describing Dr. Bloemink as a “curator of distinction with vast experience in museum management,” Cooper-Hewitt Director Paul Warwick Thompson charged the curatorial director with leading the staff in creating an innovative exhibition schedule, and offering “an imaginative and challenging discourse between our historic and contemporary artifacts” as befitting the country’s National Design Museum.

As the former Director and Chief Curator of the Hudson River Museum, The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, and, as Managing Director of the Guggenheim Hermitage and Guggenheim Las Vegas Museums, Bloemink has made numerous and diverse contributions to international art scholarship and museums. She has authored numerous books, including Design ≠ Art: Functional Objects from Donald Judd to Rachel Whiteread; Comic Release: Negotiating Identity for a New Generation; Michael Lucero Sculpture, 1976-1995; James Croak: 20 Years of Sculpture; and The Life and Art of Florine Stettheimer; and has written more than 25 articles and essays for anthologies including Women in Dada, Design Life Now, and Decorative Excess and Women Artists in the Early Modernist Era. Bloemink has lectured widely, served on many international panels, and has organized more than eighty museum exhibitions, including, Yinka Shonibare Selects Works from the Permanent Collections; Re-Righting History: Contemporary African-American Art; The Egyptian Movement in American Decorative Arts; Constructing Reality: Contemporary Photography; and she co-organized the Florine Stettheimer Manhattan Fantastica exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Bloemink’s academic background is considerable. She earned her doctorate at Yale, specializing in international 20th Century art and design, with minors in African-American and Latin American Art. Her Masters of Philosophy, also taken at Yale, focused upon 17th- through 19th- century American painting and decorative arts. Bloemink also completed a Master’s Degree at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University, focusing on 17th- through 19th- century European art; and earned her bachelor of arts degree from Stanford University.

Barbara Bloemink lives in New York City.

Brooke Hodge

Brooke Hodge is Curator of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. From 1991-2000 she was Director of Exhibitions and Publications at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where she also held the positions of Adjunct Curator of Architecture at the Fogg Art Museum and Assistant Dean of Arts Programs at the Graduate School of Design. She received her master’s degree in architectural history from the University of Virginia. She has organized exhibitions of the work of architects Frank Gehry, Gio Ponti, Peter Eisenman, Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Kazuyo Sejima, Enric Miralles, theater designer and artist Robert Wilson, car designer J Mays, and fashion designer Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons, among others. She is currently working on a major thematic exhibition that will examine the intersections and overlaps between fashion and architecture. Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture opens at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in November 2006.

Ellen Lupton

Curator of Contemporary Design at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, since 1992, during her tenure Lupton has organized such major books and exhibitions as Skin: Substance, Surface and Design (2002), National Design Triennial: Design Culture Now (2000), National Design Triennial: Inside Design Now (2003), Graphic Design in the Mechanical Age: Selections from the Merrill C. Berman Collection (1999), Mixing Messages: Graphic Design in Contemporary Culture (1996), The Avant-Garde Letterhead (1996), and Mechanical Brides: Women and Machines from Home to Office (1993).

Also active in academia, Lupton serves as director of the Graphic Design MFA Program at Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore. Recent books include Thinking with Type (2004) and D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself (2006). In 1996, she published with J. Abbott Miller Design/Writing/Research: Writing on Graphic Design, a collection of essays about design theory and history. Lupton’s articles have also been seen in such periodicals as Design Issues, Design Review, Print, I.D., Eye, Emigre, and Assemblage; and in the books Design Discourse (ed. Victor Margolin), Graphic Design in America (ed. Mildred Friedman), and The Edge of the Millennium (ed. Susan Yelavich). She is a regular contributor to AIGA Voice. Ellen Lupton was voted one of American’s top design innovators by I.D. Magazine (1993), presented with the Chrysler Design Award (1993), and honored with The New York Magazine Award for her work in shaping the cultural life of New York City (1997).

Matilda McQuaid

As deputy curatorial director and head of the Textiles department at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Matilda McQuaid proposes and organizes national and international exhibitions and publications and oversees one of the premier textile collections in the world—including more than 30,000 textiles produced over 2,000 years, beginning with the Han Dynasty of China.

Since joining Cooper-Hewitt in 2001 as the exhibitions curator and head of the Textiles department, McQuaid has curated a number of critically acclaimed exhibitions including Josef + Anni Albers: Designs for Living (2004) and Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance (2005). Currently, McQuaid is playing a lead role in the creation of the new Online National Design Museum, and will be leading an exhibition on contemporary Chinese architecture scheduled for 2008.

McQuaid came to Cooper-Hewitt after a 15-year tenure at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where she began as a curatorial assistant in 1987 and eventually became associate curator in 1995. At MoMA, she curated more than 30 exhibitions, including Shigeru Ban: A Paper Arch, Structure and Surface: Contemporary Japanese Textiles, and Lilly Reich: Designer and Architect.

She is an accomplished author and editor on art, architecture, and design, with many books and articles to her credit, including Shigeru Ban Architect (Phaidon Press, 2003); Envisioning Architecture: Drawings from the Museum of Modern Art (The Museum of Modern Art, 2002); Structure and Surface: Contemporary Japanese Textiles (The Museum of Modern Art, 1998); Architecture: A Place for Women (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989); and, Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance (Princeton Architectural Press, 2005).

McQuaid holds a master’s degree in architectural history from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in art history from Bowdoin College.