Christopher Scoates: The New Man at MAD


The museum of Arts and Design (MAD), New York’s beloved champion and presenter of artists, designers, and artisans at the highest level of ingenuity and craftsmanship, has recently announced the appointment of Christopher Scoates as its next Nanette L. Laitman Director. Currently serving as the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Director at the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Scoates will join MAD on July 1 of this year.

“I am deeply honored to have been chosen to lead MAD,” Scoates said at the news of his appointment. “I greatly admire the museum’s track record of experimental exhibitions, and I look forward to building upon its rich history of craft, art, and design. With its dedicated staff and board, I know we can position ourselves as a leading museum in the 21st century. I am eager to begin developing new experiences for our audiences that will honor the history of MAD while also using art and design to challenge the way we think about the future.”

A museum director, educator, curator, and writer, Scoates comes to MAD from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum, where he invigorated its programs with an eye toward advanced innovation and technology. In the course of his four-year tenure as the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Director, he raised Cranbrook’s profile by developing an experimental media division, identifying new artists and designers to lead the academy’s programs, recruiting diverse board leadership, spearheading fundraising efforts, and securing significant gifts.

According to MAD’s board chair, Michele Cohen, “Chris is a proven leader with over 25 years of experience in museum practice and education whose interests encompass art, craft, design, experimental sound, and new media, and their relationship to contemporary culture. On behalf of the Board of Trustees of MAD, I am proud to welcome him, and I look forward to his tenure at the helm of the museum.”

A native of Andover, England, Scoates is an alum of the Getty Leadership Institute. He holds an MFA in Photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA in Graphic Design with a minor in Art History from the University of Florida. In his curatorial role, he has organized art and technology exhibitions that have offered investigations into media’s impact on contemporary art and visual culture, including Lou Reed, Metal Machine Trio: The Creation of the Universe, and Brian Eno: 77 Million Paintings. His writings have appeared in the New Art Examiner, Sculpture, and Art Papers.

Since the museum’s founding in 1956 by Aileen Osborn Webb, MAD has celebrated all facets of the creative processes by which materials are transformed, from traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies. Today, its curatorial program emphasizes a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, emphasizing the workmanship that shapes our everyday lives. As an international platform for artists who are influencing the direction of cultural production and innovation, MAD has found a natural fit for the future with Scoates at the helm.