Today Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has announced the three curators who will organize the Smithsonian Design Triennial, which will take place in 2024. The three curators working on the show are Alexandra Cunningham Cameron, curator of contemporary design and Hintz Secretarial Scholar at Cooper Hewitt; Christina L. De León, associate curator of Latino design at Cooper Hewitt; and Michelle Joan Wilkinson, curator of architecture and design at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The Smithsonian Design Triennial started in 2000 as means for exploring contemporary issues in the context of design. Its 2024 edition, Home—Smithsonian Design Triennial, will look at themes related to home across the U.S., as well as in U.S. territories, and in Tribal Nations.
According to a statement released by the institution, “[the] exhibition and its associated programs will address a wide range of themes, including shelter and security; family, labor and the domestic sphere; diaspora and migration; colonialism and American imperialism; climate change and ecosystems; and aesthetics and culture.”
Past showcases have explored themes related to beauty and nature. The upcoming triennial will be the first time curators from two Smithsonian museums will work together to present the program series.
“For more than 20 years, Cooper Hewitt’s signature Design Triennials have provided a rare opportunity to stop and take stock of contemporary design topics that are in need of a deeper, more urgent, public discussion,” shared Maria Nicanor, director of Cooper Hewitt, in a press release. “Past Design Triennials have served as calls for action, as surveys of specific contemporary trends, or as moments of reflection, connecting past with future and pointing toward futures realized in the present. We are thrilled to collaborate with the National Museum of African American History and Culture in this upcoming Design Triennial to complete our stellar curatorial team with Alexandra, Christina, and Michelle and their many exhibition partners as they explore the multiple meanings of home, housing, and habitat in our country.”
As the Hintz Secretarial Scholar at Cooper Hewitt, Cameron has worked on a number of past exhibitions for the institution, including Willi Smith: Street Couture and Selects as well as a showcase of work from British-Nigerian designer Duro Olowu. She is also a co-chair of the museum’s Responsive Collecting Initiative.
De León is the inaugural associate curator of Latino design and the acting deputy director of curatorial at Cooper Hewitt. So far, she has helped to grow the museum’s collection of U.S. Latino and Latin American art and objects, and developed exhibitions, programming, and digital content. In 2021, she worked on the museum’s first feature-length documentary film, Mud Frontier: Architecture at the Borderlands. Prior to Cooper Hewitt, she worked as an associate curator at Americas Society.
Wilkinson is a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington D.C., where she is currently developing the museum’s architecture and design collections. She has led several exhibitions and programming related to Black designers, including the symposium “Shifting the Landscape: Black Architects and Planners, 1968 to Now.” Before joining the Smithsonian, she worked as director of collections and exhibitions at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture.
AN will circle back to Home—Smithsonian Design Triennial when more details about the programming are announced.