Ten must-sees at the Museum of Arts & Design

Good for: Design-porn aficionados

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  • Photograph: courtesy of Museum of Arts and Design

    Charles Simonds, Dwelling

  • Photograph: courtesy of Museum of Arts and Design

    Charles Simonds, Dwelling

  • Photograph: courtesy of Museum of Arts and Design

    MAD staircase

  • Photograph: courtesy of Museum of Arts and Design

    Judith Schaechter, Seeing Is Believing

  • Photograph: courtesy of Museum of Arts and Design

    Stephen Burks, Cappellini Love Bowl

  • Photograph: courtesy of Museum of Arts and Design

    James Casebere. Landscape with Houses (Dutchess County, NY) #8

Photograph: courtesy of Museum of Arts and Design

Charles Simonds, Dwelling

Charles Simonds, Dwelling
Simonds's installation is wedged into the corner of the ground-floor lobby like a piece of chewing gum, a mound of orange clay dotted with a small village of what look like pueblo houses. The artist, who has been crafting these cityscapes in public places since the early '70s (including one at the Whitney), is working on plans to add to the multipart project in the coming months. "The second part of the piece will be on the outer edge of a building on Broadway," says Hotchner. "That will be a corresponding civilization that our piece will dialogue with."
Where to find it: Museum lobby

Stairwell
The museum's staircase, hanging from a curtain of cables, was designed by architect Brad Cloepfil. "The idea was to give the building as much space and as much light as you can in a tiny footprint," says Hotchner. Its suspension system was modeled on that of the Brooklyn Bridge: The weight of each step rests on woven steel cables. "It was very hard to construct," says Hotchner. "When they first tried to hang the staircase, the ceiling actually bowed under the weight."

Judith Schaechter, Seeing Is Believing
Working in stained glass, Schaechter offers a slightly skewed take on the medium, taking divine iconography and reinterpreting it in a secular setting. The sunlit display, consisting of designs that are three layers of glass thick in some places, took Schaechter more than half a year to create. "This was her biggest work to date and her first site-specific installation in more than 15 years," notes Hotchner.
Where to find it: Second-floor-gallery stairwell, ongoing

Stephen Burks, Cappellini Love Bowl
This piece, part of a line of silicone-and-tile bowls made for the Italian manufacturing firm Cappellini, was a collaboration between the artist and members of the Mandela Mosaics Ladies Community Center in South Africa. Burks met the women in 2005 while working in the country as an artisan consultant, and his use of recycled material (like the scraps of glass here) is a contemporary twist on the traditional craft-making process. The bowl is being featured as part of a Burks-curated exhibit on design fusion. "It's an interesting example of how the featured contemporary artists set global design trends and promote a pluralized vision of design," explains Hotchner.
Where to find it:
"Stephen Burks: Are You a Hybrid?," through Oct 2

James Casebere, Landscape with Houses (Dutchess County, NY) #8
Casebere, a Fort Greene resident, constructs miniature scenes (like this Tim Burton--esque neighborhood), then photographs the models to create the final piece. Like the other artists whose work is on view in "Otherworldly," Casebere was invited to display the model itself, but declined. "At least a third of the artists [in the exhibit] photograph the work—the work itself is meant to be destroyed," says Hotchner. "A lot of viewers don't understand that [Casebere's neighborhood] is an artificial scene, which is the whole point. He purposefully leaves clues."
Where to find it: "Otherwordly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities," through Sept 18

Museum of Arts & Design, 2 Columbus Circle at Broadway and Eighth Ave (212-299-7777, madmuseum.org). Tue, Wed, Fri--Sun 11am--6pm; Thu 11am--9pm. $15, seniors and students $12, members and children 12 and under free. Thu 6--9pm pay what you wish.

While you're there...

Visit the sixth-floor open studios, where artists-in-residence create work in jewelry, sculpture, ceramics, furniture and new media. Walk in, watch and ask any questions you like. Tue, Wed, Sat, Sun 11am--1:30pm, 2:30pm--5pm; Thu 6--8:30pm

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