A Chair loving Curator: R. Craig Miller

Photo:Tom Strattman for The New York Times:
R. Craig Miller, curator for the Indianapolis Museum of Art, with lounge chair by Poul Kjaerholm.

A Curator Who Even Considers the Office Chair

By By FRED A. BERNSTEIN Published: March 12, 2008.
ART museums that pride themselves on being encyclopedic have a new historical period to cover: the 20th century. But collecting the art of the recent past takes lots of money. With contemporary pieces going for tens of millions of dollars, most museums are “priced out of that market,” said Maxwell Anderson, director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Mr. Anderson said, however, that he had found a less expensive way to “tell the story of 20th-century creativity”: by collecting “design,” a category that includes everything from furniture to computers, glassware to textiles. “I’ve never accepted the artificial line between art and design,” said Mr. Anderson, who was the director of the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2002, when it showed “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend.”

So, one of the first things Mr. Anderson did when he took the Indianapolis job in 2006 was to contact R. Craig Miller, whom he calls “the dean of design curators.”

As a curator of American decorative arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 1980s, Mr. Miller was responsible for installing the living room of a Frank Lloyd Wright house in the museum’s American Wing. In 1990, he left the Met for the Denver Art Museum, where he spent 17 years creating one of the world’s largest collections of 20th-century design, more than 11,000 objects. When Mr. Anderson called him, Mr. Miller was organizing a show for Denver on post-1985 European design, and Mr. Anderson wanted to see if he could take it to Indianapolis. The conversation between the two men — who have known each other since they were students in the ’70s — led Mr. Anderson to offer Mr. Miller a job at the Indianapolis museum.

via A Curator Who Even Considers the Office Chair – New York Times

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