Paola Antonelli

Honorary: Doctorate
Position: Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)


Paola Antonelli joined The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 1994 and is a Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design. Her first exhibition for MoMA, Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design (1995), was followed by Thresholds: Contemporary Design from the Netherlands (1996), Achille Castiglioni: Design! (1997–98), and Projects 66: Campana/Ingo Maurer (1999), Open Ends and Matter (September 2000–February 2001), Workspheres (8/2–22/4/2001), and Humble Masterpieces (July–September, 2004).

Her most recent show, SAFE: Design Takes On Risk, devoted to objects designed to protect the bodies, as well as the souls, of people worldwide closed in January, 2006.

Besides many exhibition catalogues and the 2003 Objects of Design, a book dedicated to the design objects in the museum's collection, her most recent effort, Humble Masterpieces: Everyday Marvels of Design, was just released by Regan Books/Harper Collins. A celebration of such indispensable wonders as the Post-It note, the Slinky, and the Tampax, it highlights how good design not only facilitates, but also emotionally enriches our daily routines.

Antonelli has been a Contributing Editor for Domus magazine (1987-91) and the Design Editor of Abitare (1992-94). She has also contributed to several publications, amongst them Metropolis, the Harvard Design Magazine, ID magazine, Paper, Harper's Bazaar, and Nest, as well as to the BBC series Building Sights and the NPR series Studio 360.

The recipient of a Master's degree in Architecture from the Polytechnic of Milan in 1990, Paola Antonelli has curated several architecture and design exhibitions in Italy, France, and Japan. She has lectured on design and architecture in Europe and the United States and has served on several international architecture and design juries. From 1991 to 1993, she was a lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she taught design history and theory. She has also taught lecture courses and seminars entitled The State of Design and Safety and Security in Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a yearly seminar at the MFA programme of the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Paola Antonelli's goal is to promote the understanding of design, and to do it insistently, until its positive influence on the world is fully acknowledged. She is currently working on a book about foods from all over the world as examples of outstanding design and on trying to get a Boeing 747 into the collection of The Museum of Modern Art.