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How One Curator Is Expanding Our Idea of Design

Video: MoMA's Paola Antonelli Talks to Ad Age/Creativity About Agencies' Roles as Product Designers

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Multitalented thinker and curator Paola Antonelli, the Museum of Modern Art's senior curator in architecture and design, left many who had never thought of what they do as design scratching their heads last year after the museum unveiled "Design and the Elastic Mind," a landmark exhibition that took projects from fields as varied as nanotechnology and biology and brought them together in the world of design.

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For the woman who has tried to acquire a 747 for MoMA's permanent collection, tapping scientists for a design exhibition wasn't so far-fetched. As she said then, "There are many people who don't call themselves designers who have two PhD's in neurophysics and nanotechnology, so ... all they have in common is the attempt to reach the real world. You'll notice there's always a way to try and communicate with a wide audience, by any means possible."

In pursuit of the myriad ideas that now encompass design, Ms. Antonelli and her team scour the globe for innovative projects and thinkers and dip in and out of what would be considered the traditional design world. It's this curatorial touch that can be applied to our wider experience, and is the subject of her talk at the Idea Conference on Nov. 12 at Terminal 5 in New York.

At the Ad Age and Creativity-hosted Idea Conference, Ms. Antonelli and others will talk about their reinvention stories, with Ms. Antonelli focusing specifically on what it means to be a curator when a bombardment of data forces us to take curatorial roles in our digital lives.

We swung by MoMA's offices to find out how ideas form at the museum, how design has or hasn't expanded into new disciplines, and what agencies should bear in mind when they attempt to move into developing and designing products for their clients.

Find out more about Ms. Antonelli and MoMA, including her philosophy of curation, at the Idea Conference.

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