MAD Exhibition Review Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital


Last weekend after an eventful Friday night, I decided to take my own advice and visit the Museum of Art and Design in Columbus Circle to see their latest exhibit, Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital.  The first thing that caught my attention upon arrival was the building’s cool looking façade.  With the name of the building being what it is, it would only make sense that the architectural design of the building lives up to that name.  With a student ID, admission to the museum is only $12 and without one it’s still very reasonable at $15.

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However, the real question is whether the anticipated exhibit reached my high expectations. With three floors of some of the most innovative designs I’ve ever seen, state-of-the art 3D rendering machines, and a software demonstration, the answer is a definite yes.  From working in graphic design, I’ve developed a strong interest in computer-assisted art, so when I heard about this exhibit it immediately caught my attention. The first floor of  “Out of Hand” shows off the advanced 3D technology and software used to create these works.  One of the museum employees demonstrated the software by having willing visitors stand on a rotating platform while state of the art 3D imaging renders their entire body including clothes, which can then be materialized using a 3D printer and sent to you via mail.  Also on the first floor, one object that caught my eye was a white IPhone case made with a laser-sintered elastomer (it has a Star Wars Storm Trooper carved into the design) that is flexible and impact resistant.

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 11.31.58 AMOn the next two floors I was amazed to see the different types of art (painting, etching, collage, sculpture, fashion, pottery, and even engineering) inlaid with the intricate designs, including all types of textures and patterns that have only been made possible by computers.  As a graphic designer, I know that these designs must have taken careful planning and extremely hard work to create, and should not be disregarded because of their digital origins.   Staring at these various achievements, the most interesting aspect of this postdigital work is the way that technology can be applied to various artistic discourses.  Ron Labaco, the curator of the exhibit describes this as “the interplay between digital and analog, natural and man-made, biological and cultural, virtual and real.”

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 11.31.33 AMThe exhibition is accompanied by a weekly schedule of public and educational programs, from workshops and lectures to curriculum-based programs serving K-12 students, as well as in-gallery interactive stations. Also, a series of master classes featuring the designers and technology included in the exhibition have been scheduled.  These programs are intended to engage visitors in the creative processes of artists and to expose the unlimited potential of many of these new technologies.   I really wanted to make it to the 3D sculpture seminar but it was sold out (signing up a week in advance would probably be a safe bet if you’re thinking about attending), which shows how popular these workshops are.  This type of knowledge is in high demand because it is changing the scope of the artistic world we live in today allowing new possibilities, which were unthinkable in previous generations.  Seeing these creative works on display was a huge source of inspiration for me and definitely gave me some new ideas to work with as a designer.  I strongly recommend checking out this exhibit for anyone interested in art and design, or just to be exposed to something different.

For more information on this exhibit visit

Location: Museum of Art and Design
2 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019

Monday Closed
Tuesday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Wednesday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Thursday 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Friday 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm