Aric Chen Appointed First Curatorial Director Of Design Miami
By Julee WJ Chung
After a global headhunt, Design Miami appointed design critic and curator Aric Chen as its first curatorial director. During his yearlong tenure, Chen will oversee Design Miami and Design Miami/Basel’s exhibitions, commissions and collaborations, continuing to expand and enrich their programs on 20th and 21st century design. This new role replaces that of the chief creative officer, a position currently held by Rodman Primack, whose tenure will end at the close of this year’s Design Miami fair (December 5–9). Chen’s curatorial statement and exhibition program for the upcoming fairs will be released in early 2019.
Currently based in Shanghai, Chen is the curator-at-large of Hong Kong’s M+ Museum, where he served as the lead curator for the design and architecture department for the past six years, overseeing its acquisitions and exhibition programs. On his plans for the 2019 Design Miami events, Chen commented to AAP: “I’m really excited to see if we can bring newer, non-object-based design practices into the fair, and explore whether new types of support and patronage can be found that reflect the field’s expanding boundaries. To grossly oversimplify, if we could once say that design was about products, whereas art was about ideas, we’re seeing more and more how art is being treated like a commodity, while design has become increasingly about ideas. It would be interesting to explore this in the context of the fair. ”
Speaking on how Chen’s curatorial vision will be valuable to shaping the next two editions, Design Miami’s founder Craig Robins remarked: “Aric stood out, not only for his multidisciplinary approach, but also for his international sensibility. [. . .] His reach is global, and his institutional experience is at the highest level in the arts. Aric’s perspective aligns directly with the collector base of Design Miami and we look forward to his work in 2019.”
Chen is also currently on the panel of international advisers for the 2019 Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial. He also served as the first creative director for Beijing Design Week from 2010 to 2012, and as co-creative director of 100% Design Fair in Shanghai (now called Design Shanghai). He is the author of Brazil Modern (2016), and has been a frequent contributor to international publications, including the New York Times, ArtAsiaPacific, Metropolis, Architectural Record, PIN-UP and Wallpaper.
In addition to the exhibitions at M+, including the inaugural architecture show “Building M+” (2014); “Mobile M+: Neonsigns.hk” (2014); and “Shifting Objectives” (2016), Chen has also curated projects and exhibitions at the Design Museum in London; Israel's Design Museum Holon; Design Miami/Basel; the Saint-Étienne International Design Biennale; and the Center for Architecture in New York.
Julee WJ Chung is ArtAsiaPacific’s assistant editor.
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