Collaboration with Murray Moss

Collaboration with Murray Moss

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Torpedo House. Photo: Moss Bureau.

September 19, 2018
Collaboration with Murray Moss
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Partnership centers on innovative frameworks for teaching and thinking about design

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Murray Moss, founder and creative mind behind world-renowned MOSS design gallery and shop, have begun a unique partnership that aims to explore the expansive and integrative nature of design today. Bringing together Moss’ expertise with the “made world”—throughout its 18 years of operation, MOSS was a place to learn and share information and discoveries across a vast spectrum of design and art disciplines—and RISD’s global leadership in art and design education, the collaboration centers on innovative frameworks for teaching and thinking about design.

Evolving throughout RISD’s 2018-19 academic year, the partnership will commence in fall 2018 with two public lectures by Moss, each to be followed by an associated graduate-level workshop. The lectures will take place in RISD’s Metcalf Auditorium (Chace Center, 20 North Main Street, Providence, RI) and will be streamed via

“In Search of Narrative”
October 10, 6:30pm

Is there a “life story” embedded in particular inanimate objects? In all objects? Does the designer address not only formalistic aspects of an object, but also narrative? These questions provide the foundation for Moss’s exploration of object narratives, and his belief that every object, whether categorized as functional, decorative, or as art, contains a complicated narrative that points to the fundamental intersection of persons and things in modern life.

“Interdisciplinary Design Becomes the Norm”
November 5, 6:30pm

The late 20th century was marked by a tearing down of the walls between disciplines. How does this revolution lead to evolution in the way we imagine new possibilities of “making”? Do the cracks in the now anachronistic silos expose more expansive, integrative forms of design we see today? Moss will draw on his seminal role in setting the stage for contemporary design in the US.

The corresponding workshops, which will be held in the RISD Museum and capped at 15 students, will help students grow their critical vocabulary, oral presentation skills and understanding of central concepts in today’s design world as they prepare to enter their professional practice. Drawing on the Museum’s rich collection, Moss will reference a range of works that offer new paradigms for the future of design.   

“From 18th century methods still employed by ancient manufactories to produce porcelain figurines, to advanced technologies, such as additive manufacturing, that are revolutionizing industrial production, throughout my career I have enjoyed identifying new common denominators between artistic disciplines,” noted Moss. “I have appreciated making links through displays, highlighting juxtapositions and stimulating perception, as well as tearing down long-established silos. I look forward to imparting these concepts to students via new constructs at RISD.”

“One of Murray’s strengths of vision is in positioning things in unfamiliar contexts that produce unexpected resonances, guided by his eye and his knowledge of the designs and their creators,” said RISD President Rosanne Somerson. “At RISD, where immersive making is fundamental to critical and integrative thinking, the customized set of experiences that Murray has designed will foster dialogue around object narratives and interdisciplinary design. The unique construct for the collaboration, based on an unconventional model of moving the classroom into an object collection, and the collection into idea development, will aid students in the advancement of their own practices. We look forward to seeing how this opportunity inspires the next generation of creative leaders.”

On the heels of the fall programming, in spring 2019 a graduate-level interdisciplinary RISD course will take place off campus at Torpedo House, Moss’ residence and in-house conference center in Hamden, CT. This course will offer students a rare opportunity to view and discuss Moss’ personal juxtapositions on display throughout his private space, combining pieces from his own collection.

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Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
September 19, 2018

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