Thursday, March 22, 2018
Lecture by Matilda McQuaid, Deputy Director of Curatorial and Head of Textiles at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Members: Free, Not-Yet-Members: $10, Students: $5
Advance reservations recommended; space is limited. Click here to register
The history of design reflects the human conquest of nature. To create the earliest tools and dwellings, people harnessed the energy of the Earth and its creatures. Since the industrial revolution, technologies have transformed the world’s atmosphere and ecosystems. Designers today are seeking new ways to feed, clothe, house, and protect future generations often by emulating natural processes, drawing inspiration from natural systems or directly relying on natural phenomena.
Join Matilda McQuaid, Deputy Director of Curatorial and Head of Textiles at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, as she discusses some of the museum’s recent research in areas of architecture, urbanism, product design, landscape design, fashion, visual communication, and materials as the Cooper Hewitt prepares for the next Design Triennial in 2019.
About Matilda McQuaid
Matilda McQuaid is Deputy Director of Curatorial and Head of Textiles at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. She oversees one of the premier textile collections in the world—including more than 26,000 textiles produced over 2,000 years. McQuaid has organized nationally and internationally acclaimed exhibitions on 20th and 21st century architecture and design with accompanying publications since 2002 at the Cooper Hewitt. Her focus has been on contextualizing textiles within the broader framework of design with exhibitions like “Josef + Anni Albers: Designs for Living” (2004), which examined the work by these influential 20th century artists and their shared beliefs that every detail of how we live affects the quality of daily human experience. “Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay” (2011) brought attention to Delaunay’s work in graphics, fashion, and textile design as it related to her theories on color and interest in movement and rhythm, and “Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance” (2005) revealed the central role textiles play in high performance applications—from surgical implants to space suits.
McQuaid was part of the team which reimagined the Cooper Hewitt when it reopened in December 2014 after a three-year renovation project, and also co-curated a pan-Smithsonian exhibition for the reopening: “Tools: Extending Our Reach” (2014), which celebrated how objects are an integral link between technology and culture. From a 1.8 million-year-old Paleolithic stone chopper to a 3D printer currently on the International Space Station, this exhibition highlighted the innovations and scientific breakthroughs that have opened new worlds to us. In her most recent exhibition, “Scraps: Fashion, Textiles, and Creative Reuse” (2016), the focus is on how some designers are successfully tackling problems related to the second most polluting industry in the world – textile manufacturing. Presenting three case studies of textile waste upcycling, Scraps reveals the creative and financial potential of using scraps as a resource.