Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Thomas Szolwinski to the inaugural position of Curator of Architecture and Design. Szolwinski joins the museum with over fifteen years of experience working in design and museum related fields. His expertise will help to expand the scope of the museum’s exhibitions and strengthen the permanent collection of material related to design.
Szolwinski’s knowledge spans historical and contemporary architectural, industrial, product, and furniture design. His specialization is in twentieth-century furniture and decorative arts, including the methods of making and the impact of materials on design. “Thomas Szolwinski brings expertise in a number of areas that will greatly increase MOWA’s ability to offer meaningful exhibitions and programs over the next decade, said MOWA’s Executive Director | CEO Laurie Winters. We are delighted to be the first art museum in the state to embrace architecture, architectural photography, and urban planning as a meaningful area of investigation and exhibition.”
Most recently, Szolwinski worked on the 20th Century Design specialist team at Sotheby’s in New York researching objects and writing contextual essays and biographies. Landmark sales and auction records during his appointment included Crafting Modernism: Masters of the American Studio Design Movement, A Collection That We Dreamt of: Art and Design from the New York Townhouse of Delphine and Reed Krakoff, and The Perelman Collection: Masterworks of Design. Prior to working in the auction industry, Szolwinski was a publications research assistant and taught in the undergraduate design program at Parsons School of Design, and was a curatorial fellow with the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Museum in New York.
“Although design is primarily linked to function and practicality, it is much like art in that it has the power to evoke emotion, inspire people, and create change. Design is an integral part of our culture and has a rich history connected with art. I look forward to using this perspective to investigate and bring to the public various narratives related to design in the state of Wisconsin. At MOWA, I am excited to explore regional identity and to celebrate the many great designers working here in the past and the present.”
Szolwinski holds a BSAS in Architecture from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning and an MA in Design History and Curatorial Studies from Parsons School of Design at the New School, New York.