Jasmine Lee – Looking Outwards – 08

Paola Antonelli is the Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. She joined the museum department in 1994 as an associate curator, and has worked her way up since. Before joining the MoMa board, she was a lecturer at UCLA and taught a course at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Although she received her Master’s degree in Architecture from the Polytechnic of Milan, Antonelli never practiced as an architect. In her long career, she has curated architecture and design exhibitions across Italy, France, and Japan.

Eyeo 2014 – Paola Antonelli from Eyeo Festival on Vimeo.

What I admire the most about Antonelli is the work she has done in educating people about the importance of design in everyday life. Her curated exhibits in the past have focused on bringing awareness to design in peoples’ everyday lives, and the responsibility that designers hold towards the people they create for. Antonelli was also one of the earliest proponents of MoMa’s digital presence. She created one of the first websites for the museum at a time when the internet barely existed. The website was a digital library for the exhibit Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design. Convinced of the importance of curators being able to understand the art they select, Antonelli learned to code the website on her own through the help of several university students.

The way that Antonelli presents is very convincing, with anecdotes given from through her long career. Antonelli presents one argument that people have made against her, and then spends some time refuting that argument before moving into another related point. She makes use of visual imagery and popular symbols to relate to the audience and to keep them engaged. What I learned from Antonelli about presenting is that it is useful to get the audience to relate to you. In doing so, the audience becomes much more engaged as they start to feel familiar to you.

Leave a Reply