Future of the Museum

David Adjaye’s McDermott Residency culminates in a panel discussion about the future of the museum. Continuing the theme of the relevance of physical space to cultural experience in the digital era, architects, artists, and curators will discuss current projects and various approaches to the future of museums. This pertinent dialogue considers the potential of museums to engage diverse and participatory audiences and inviting contemporary artists to lead the way in re-conceiving how museums might interact with the public.


David Adjaye

David Adjaye
2016 McDermott Award Recipient

Thelma Goldman. Credit Julie Skarratt.

Thelma Golden
Director and Chief Curator, Studio Museum in Harlem

Thelma Golden is Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, an art museum founded in 1968 whose mission is to serve as the nexus for artists of African descent locally, nationally and internationally. Golden began her career at the Studio Museum in 1987 before joining the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1988. In a decade at the Whitney, she was a member of the curatorial team for the 1993 Biennial, organized numerous groundbreaking exhibitions including 1994’s Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in American Art, and served as Director of the Whitney Museum at Phillip Morris. She returned to the Studio Museum in 2000 as Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs, and was named Director and Chief Curator in 2005. While at the Studio Museum, Golden has organized many notable exhibitions including Chris Ofili: Afro Muses 1995-2005, Black Romantic, Freestyle, Frequency, Glenn Ligon: Stranger and Gordon Parks: A Harlem Family 1967. Under her leadership, the Studio Museum has gained increasing renown as a global leader in the exhibition of contemporary art, a center for innovative education and a site for diverse audiences to exchange ideas about art and society.

Golden holds a B.A. in Art History and African American Studies from Smith College and honorary doctorates from the City College of New York (2009), San Francisco Art Institute (2008), Smith College (2004), Moore College of Art and Design (2003), and was awarded a Barnard Medal of Distinction from Barnard College in 2010. Golden serves as a member of the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, a position she was appointed to by President Barack Obama in 2010, and in 2015 joined the Barack Obama Foundation’s Board of Directors. She serves as the 2015–16 Chair of New York City’s Cultural Institutions Group and was appointed to the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Golden was named a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute in 2008 and is the recipient of the 2016 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence. She is an active lecturer and panelist speaking about contemporary art and culture at national and international institutions, including TED and TEDx conferences.

Born in St. Albans, Queens, Golden currently resides in Harlem.

Jill Medvedow. Credit: Asia Kepka.

Jill Medvedow
Ellen Matilda Poss Director, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Jill Medvedow is the Ellen Matilda Poss Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. Since assuming the position in 1998, Medvedow built the first new art museum in Boston in nearly a century, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and reconceived the ICA as a leading center for the intersection of contemporary art and civic life.  Under her direction, the ICA offers an ambitious exhibition and performance program, focused on thematic contemporary and historical exhibitions, and solo presentations of emerging and mid-career artists. The ICA’s recent Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957 exemplifies the ICA’s singular vision and leadership in integrating exhibition, performance and community engagement. Medvedow has also transformed the ICA into a collecting institution, now including the new Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women. During her tenure, the ICA has become a national leader in teen arts education, with over 8,000 young people now participating on site, on line and through the museum’s National Convening of Teens in the Arts.

Prior to joining the ICA, Medvedow founded Vita Brevis, working with artists Ann Carlson, Jim Hodges, Juan Muñoz, Nari Ward, and Krzysztof Wodiczko on public projects responding to Boston’s landscape and history. Medvedow has lectured and taught at Harvard University and MIT, and is the subject of an MIT/Sloan School Case Study on Leadership. She received her B.A. from Colgate University, her M.A. from the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU and Honorary Doctorates from Montserrat College of Art and Lesley University.

Charles Renfro. Credit Alessio Boni.

Charles Renfro
Partner, Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Charles Renfro is a Partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro, an interdisciplinary design studio that integrates architecture, the performing arts, and the visual arts. Renfro collaborates on the design of every project in the studio with the other three Partners, Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, and Benjamin Gilmartin. In addition to the BAMPFA project, he is currently Partner-in-Charge of The Tianjin Juilliard School in China; Zaryadye Park, a 35-acre public space next to the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia; the Dissona Live-Work Complex in Dongguan, China; and The Columbia University Business School in New York.

He has served as the Partner-in-Charge for the Juilliard School Expansion and Renovation, the Brown University Creative Arts Center and the recently completed Stanford University McMurtry Art and Art History Building. Prior to becoming Partner, he served as Project Leader on the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Blur Building in Switzerland. Renfro was recently made a National Academy Academician and is a recipient of the 2015 Texas Medal of the Arts Award. In 2012, Renfro was honored as a Rice University Distinguished Alumnus, making him one of the youngest alumni to ever receive this prestigious award. Renfro is a graduate of Rice University and received a Master of Architecture from Columbia University. He has been practicing architecture for over 30 years. 

Lorna Simpson. Credit: Joe Kramm.

Lorna Simpson

Lorna Simpson is a conceptual artist who uses her camera and words to construct new worlds and deconstruct the ones we know. She is known for her large-scale photograph-and-text works, videos and drawings that confront and challenge conventional views of gender, identity, culture, history and memory. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Simpson studied at the School of Visual Arts, New York and the University of California, San Diego. Feeling a strong need to re-examine and re-define photographic practice for contemporary relevance, Simpson was producing work that engaged the conceptual vocabulary of the time by creating exquisitely crafted documents that are as clean and spare as the closed, cyclic systems of meaning they produce. Over time she turned to film and video works in which individuals engage in enigmatic conversations that seem to address the mysteries of both identity and desire. Throughout her body of work, Simpson questions memory and representation, whether in her moving juxtaposition of text and image, in her haunting video projection Cloudscape and its echo in the felt work Cloud, or in her large-scale video installation Momentum which recreates a childhood dance performance. Using the camera as a catalyst, Simpson constructs work comprising text and image, parts to wholes, which comment on the documentary nature of found or staged images. In Simpson’s latest works, characteristic ambivalence is presented with hazy ink washes to present isolated figures amidst nebulous spaces– a return to and departure from her earlier unidentified figures in a deepened exploration of contemporary culture.
Simpson has participated in such important international exhibitions as the Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Documenta XI in Kassel, Germany, and the 56th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy. Her mid-career survey was exhibited at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Miami Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Michigan, and the Gibbes Museum in South Carolina. In 2013 her works on paper were the subject of an exhibition at the Aspen Art Museum with accompanying catalogue “Lorna Simpson Works on Paper,” Aspen Art Museum. A survey retrospective, accompanied by a monograph “Lorna Simpson” published by Prestel Press, New York, premiered in 2013 at the Jeu de Paume, Paris, and traveled to the Haus der Kunst, Munich, and in 2014 to the The BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, England and the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts.

L. Meejin Yoon

Co-Moderated by J. Meejin Yoon
Professor and Head of MIT Department of Architecture
Principal Höweler + Yoon

Meejin Yoon is an architect, designer and educator. She is a Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Yoon is the co-founder of Höweler + Yoon Architecture LLP and MY Studio. Awarded the Audi Urban Futures Award in 2012, the United States Artist Award in Architecture and Design in 2008, Architecture Record’s Design Vanguard Award in 2007, the Architecture League’s Emerging Voices Award in 2007, and the Rome Prize in Design in 2005, Yoon’s work has been widely recognized for its innovative and interdisciplinary nature. Her design work and research investigates intersections between architecture, technology and public space.

Yoon is the author of Expanded Practice: Projects by Höweler + Yoon and MY Studio (Princeton Architectural Press 2009), Public Works: Unsolicited Small Projects for the Big Dig (MAP Book Publishers 2008), and Absence, a World Trade Center Memorial artist book (Printed Matter and the Whitney Museum of Art 2003). Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, the Institut Valencia d’Art Modern in Spain, and the National Art Center in Tokyo.

Yoon received a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University with the AIA Henry Adams Medal in 1995, a Masters of Architecture in Urban Design with Distinction from Harvard University in 1997, and a Fulbright Fellowship to Korea in 1998.

Timothy Hyde

Co-Moderated by Timothy Hyde
Associate Professor of Architectural History, MIT History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art Program

Timothy Hyde is an architectural historian whose research focuses on intersections of architecture and politics. He is the author of Constitutional Modernism: Architecture and Civil Society in Cuba and is the chair of the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative. He has been a MacDowell Colony Fellow and his work has been supported by grants from the Graham Foundation. Hyde received his BA from Yale University, MArch from Princeton University and PhD from Harvard University.

Thursday, April 28, 2016 / 6:00–7:30pm
MIT Lecture Hall 10-250
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA