Ep. 42: Paola Antonelli

MoMA’s Senior Curator of Architecture & Design, Paola Antonelli, grew up steeped in the design culture of Milan and developed a sense of fearlessness from frequent travels to foreign lands. After studying architecture in school she landed in the curatorial arts without even aiming for it. She talks to us about how she views objects as lenses for understanding the complexity of the built world and her passionate belief that cultural institutions, like museums, are the R&D of society. *Swoon*

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Paola discusses the MoMA salons that she and her team create to talk about interesting cultural and societal topics, bringing together top minds on various topics like death, fluidity, data, algorithms, and more. We were curious about them, so we were excited to learn that they're all available online at momarnd.moma.org.

One of the most interesting and perhaps unique acquisitions at MoMA in recent years was the "@" symbol. Read the fascinating blog post about it here.

Go here to learn more about the incredible Design and Violence exhibit that Paola discusses in the episode.

I really believe [museums] can be the R&D of society. They can help people deal with important and critical issues that deal with violence, races, happiness, sustainability. They are places where you can go to have deeper thoughts and maybe also useful conversations that are prompted by objects, objects that can be of art, of design, of cinematography, of science, of performance. So, that’s what I think museums can be.
— Paola Antonelli

Upon doing research for our episode, we stumbled on a treasure trove of Paola's talks on YouTube. We've embedded some of our favorites below:


Keep tabs on Paola on Instagram and Twitter and follow MoMA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


Special thanks to Tai Navares and Chris Modl for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.