The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center is more than an exhibition space— it's the place where the university and the community come together. Get a behind-the-scenes look inside the center, and hear voices from across Parsons talk about what the SJDC means to them. The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center houses the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery and the Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries.
The award-winning design, by Lyn Rice Architects, combines the ground floors of four historic buildings to form an urban quad that opens up the galleries to public view at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 13th Street. The center was made possible in part by a $7 million gift from Sheila C. Johnson, New School trustee and chair of Parsons’ board of governors.
In the galleries at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, artistic imagination and ingenuity in design join with global social consciousness. Few spaces offer the artist and the visitor the unique physical experience of being in a gallery and on an open stage simultaneously, as does the design of the center. Through an exhibition program that is both creatively and intellectually rigorous, we invite the university community and others to engage in a dialogue on the role of art and design in the public realm.
Christiane Paul is Chief Curator / Director of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center and Professor in the School of Media Studies at The New School, and Adjunct Curator of Digital Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She is the recipient of the Thoma Foundation's 2016 Arts Writing Award in Digital Art, and her recent books are A Companion to Digital Art (Blackwell-Wiley, May 2016); DigitalArt (Thames and Hudson, 3rd revised edition, 2015); Context Providers – Conditions of Meaning in Media Arts (Intellect, 2011; Chinese edition, 2012); and New Media in the White Cube and Beyond (UC Press, 2008). At the Whitney Museum she curated exhibitions including Cory Arcangel: Pro Tools (2011) and Profiling (2007), and is responsible for artport, the museum’s portal to Internet art. Other curatorial work includes Little Sister (is watching you, too) (Pratt Manhattan Gallery, NYC, 2015); What Lies Beneath (Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, 2015); and The Public Private (Kellen Gallery, The New School, NYC, 2013).
Kristina Kaufman was born and raised in the New York area. As a young child, she often trailed behind her mother on visits to museums, thus beginning her interest in art. She discovered a passion for architecture and design when she visited Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin as a teenager. Kristina went on to earn a BA in Art History with a concentration in architectural history from Columbia University and an MA in Arts Administration from Teachers College at Columbia.
Before joining Parsons, she worked at the Museum of Modern Art; Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum; the Lighthouse, Scotland's Centre for Architecture and Design; openhousenewyork; and the Jewish Museum. She has served as a panelist and Chair for the New York State Council on the Arts Architecture and Design Committee and appeals panel (2013-15) and as a juror for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards (2013-14).
Daisy Wong's passion for and involvement in the arts dates back to her preschool years, when she created her first drawing, based on the movie E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Inspired to pursue a fine arts education, Daisy attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts in New York City, graduating in 1997. She went on to study at Parsons and graduate with a BFA in Communication Design in 2001.
Daisy worked as a graphic designer in Parsons' Promotion Design office and joined the Exhibitions department in 2002. She has contributed to several exhibitions, including Dae Won Kim's Mountain Vistas and Guardian Spirits at Tenri Cultural Institute of New York; Decorative Egg Exhibition at the Ukrainian Museum; and the Democratic Monument in America 1900–2000 for Fizer Forley Studio.
When Daisy is not working in the gallery, she can be found on the urban art scene seeking out contemporary artists, visiting exhibitions, and collecting limited-edition works for her private collection of prints, drawings, and toys.