Visiting Scholar Lydia Matthews

Lydia Matthews is a Brooklyn and Athens-based critical writer, contemporary art curator, educator and cultural activist who currently serves as Professor of Visual Culture in the Fine Arts program of Parsons School of Design and Director of the Curatorial Design Research Lab at The New School. Trained as a contemporary art historian at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of London’s Courtauld Institute, her work focuses on the intersection of current art/craft/design practices, diverse local cultures and global economies. Thus far, she has been invited to design curatorial ventures in New York, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and the Czech Republic.

Before relocating to New York in 2006, she taught for 17 years at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. There she co-founded and chaired the graduate program in Visual Critical Studies and co-directed the MFA program in Fine Arts, which launched the first MFA program in Social Practice in the United States in 2005. From 2007-2012, she served as Dean of Academic Programs at Parsons, facilitating a restructure of the school and a collaborative, faculty-led re-design of the undergraduate curriculum to promote cross-disciplinarity and empower students to better respond to the conditions of today’s complex global arena. In 2011 she launched the Curatorial Design Research Lab (CDRL) across The New School, thus establishing a network of multidisciplinary colleagues dedicated to exploring the intersection of curatorial, pedagogical and activist practices. The Lab’s current project, I Stand In My Place With My Own Day Here: Site-Specific Art at The New School (forthcoming book/website, 2019) features the writing of over 50 authors–including Claudia Rankine, Lucy Lippard, Holland Cotter, Maggie Nelson, and others—demonstrating how a collection of commissioned artworks can embody and inspire polyvocal narratives over time.