September 30, 2009

New Director And Chief Curator, Radhika Subramaniam

Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design

Parsons The New School for Design has announced the appointment of Radhika Subramaniam as director and chief curator of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (SJDC). The Center, which opened in 2008, develops exhibitions and programs that place art and design in the context of larger social and cultural issues, reflecting its place in a university, The New School, with strengths in the arts and social sciences. Subramaniam will also serve as an Assistant Professor of Art and Design History and Theory.”With a curatorial practice that is both cross disciplinary and dialogic, Radhika has a demonstrated commitment to public pedagogy, critical urbanism, and questions of political and social justice,” said Parsons Dean Joel Towers. “These are values that are very much in line with the institution as a whole.”

Subramaniam is an independent curator, editor and writer based in New York. Most recently, she served as Director of Cultural Programs at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), where she organized symposia, dialogues, public art and performances that advanced the organization’s mission to galvanize downtown New York through innovative and critical artistic and cultural programming. While at LMCC, she curated a major two-year multi-disciplinary international initiative entitled Cities, Art and Recovery, focused on the work of art and culture in the aftermath of catastrophe.

“The New School is an extraordinary place of intersecting cultures, academic scholarship, and global social consciousness,” said Subramaniam. “The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center has the potential to be a leading forum for ‘creative research’ that considers conceptions of intimate and public realms as well as physical and virtual space, and for responding with intellectual rigor to the questions of form and politics.”

International cultural exchange, cross-disciplinary encounters, South Asian urban modernity and issues of cultural translation define Subramaniam’s professional practice. She was the founding and executive editor of Connect: art.politics.theory.practice, an interdisciplinary art journal published by Arts International and the venue for a sustained conversation among artists, writers, cultural commentators and theorists, around issues sparked by the contemporary cultures of globalization. Her projects include the upcoming Art in Odd Places: Sign (October 2009, co-curated with Erin Donnelly), Abecedarium for Our Times (Apexart 2008), and Rods and Cones: Seeing from the Back of One’s Head (guest curated for the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective 2008).

Through her professional activities, Radhika has established a network of collaborations and partnerships including with the Vera List Center of Art and Politics at The New School. Her upcoming public art festival in October, Art in Odd Places, will feature a project by New School liberal arts students under the direction of professor Simonetta Moro in collaboration with artists Eve Mosher and Tattfoo Tan.

Subramaniam has many years of teaching experience at the university level at Barnard College, Columbia University and New York University. She is a graduate of New York University (Ph.D. Performance Studies, 1998), Purdue University (M.S. Anthropology, 1987), and the University of Bombay (M.A. Sociology, 1985, and B.A. Sociology, 1984).

About the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center is a new campus center for Parsons The New School for Design that combines learning and public program spaces with exhibition galleries to provide an important new downtown destination for art and design programming. The center was made possible in part by a 7 million USD gift from New School Trustee and Parsons Board of Governors Chair Sheila C. Johnson. With an award-winning design by Lyn Rice Architects, whose principal Lyn Rice was part of the team behind Dia:Beacon. For more information, please visit

About Parsons The New School for Design
Parsons The New School for Design is one of the premier institutions for art and design education. Founded in 1896, is has served as a pioneer in the field for more than a century. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of design disciplines. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons offers rigorous training that allows for interdisciplinary collaboration across five thematic schools. An integral part of The New School, Parsons builds on the university’s legacy of progressive ideals, scholarship, and pedagogy. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century. For more information, please visit

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