Paola Antonelli: Treating design as art

Paola Antonelli, design curator at New Yorks Museum of Modern Art, wants to spread her appreciation of design — in all shapes and forms — around the world.

How much do I love Paola’s energy and enthusiams?

5 Comments leave a comment below

  1. I recently blogged about the opposite; that Great Design is Invisible:

    In my personal opinion, there is a clear differences between Design and Art. Art attracts the user to the form, whereas design is created to aid function. That does not mean that design has to be boring, just that it should not distract the user. Art is also a personal expression. Something design should not be (unless you are designing for yourself, not others).

  2. Everything that is created can be art. Cooking can be said to be the art of designing food for the function of eating, and depending on the chef (or number of drinks you’ve had) a 2am omlet at Denny’s can be a glorious creation.

  3. It’s difficult to disagree with anything Antonelli says per se, but the title of this lecture and its emphasis on the MoMA exhibitions implies that design is art. It isn’t.

    John O’Nolan summed up the differences well in a research article which concludes, “Good art sends a different message to everyone. Good design sends the same message to everyone.”

    Antonelli is correct in her assertion that design isn’t just decoration. But there’s a purpose that drives good design in a way that it cannot drive art. Thus, to paraphrase Jeffrey Zeldman, design without purpose IS decoration.

  4. It seems to me that if another human being made it, and it invites reflection on the human condition, it’s art. So, it depends on the eye (and state of mind) of the beholder….Beauty is truth, truth beauty. Further, bad art often fails in the aspiration of inviting reflection more grievously then mediocre design. I think.

    If you support the arts, you may like to know that I’ve just launched a new site devoted to art,, and invite artists and artisans to join.

    You’ll be the first, or among the first.