California College of the Arts Design MFA show

The same class that curated all the Wider White Space exhibitions (APFEL, Walker Art Institute, Project Projects, and Experimental Jetset) also curated the first official graduate design MFA show. Since the MFA design program at CCA is transdisciplinary it includes interactive design, industrial design, and graphic design, it was quite an undertaking. The eight of us curating the exhibition had to figure out how to display lots of different kinds of work, as well as make the coverage balanced.

We started to think of  this transdiscipliary program as scientific bonds. This may seem like a stretch, but we do a lot of group work and the lines between tracks of design practices get blurred. We paired the people on each wall by similar methods of work, or shared projects, or similar themes—finding these “bonds” between people’s work. We took this science idea and brought it into the aesthetic of the whole show. The name, Breakdowns and Breakthroughs, which was initially a bit of a joke, turned out to work pretty well for both our science theme and the ups and downs of graduate school.

We built walls, painted for days, created a whole graphic identity, ordered vinyl, helped our fellow classmates with hanging and framing their work, and displaying video.

For a first go, it turned out pretty well. It definitely helped that we’d had already curated the Wider White Space mini exhibitions. And hopefully, we’ve started something that will keep going for years to come.

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