Lydia Matthews

photo: Lewis Watts

Lydia Matthews is a Brooklyn and Athens-based curator, writer, cultural activist and professor in the Fine Arts program at Parsons School of Design in New York City. In 2010 she founded Parsons’ Curatorial Design Research Lab, which spans various university divisions across The New School. Trained in contemporary and modern art history at University of California, Berkeley and University of London’s Courtauld Institute, her work explores how contemporary artists, artisans, designers and curators foster critical democratic debates and intimate community interactions in the public sphere, often in response to a variety of urgent global and local conditions in their daily lives. She has published critical essays in numerous journals, books and exhibition catalogs, and has lectured internationally on socially-engaged art, craft and design practices.

Her curatorial projects in New York, the Post-Soviet region, Turkey and Southern Europe include exhibitions, performative walking events, community-based urban festivals, and multidisciplinary pedagogical exchanges addressing ecological and social sustainability. Commissioned by Fulbright, CEC Artslink, Open Society Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Emre Senan Foundation and the US Embassy in the Republic of Georgia, she has curated participatory projects within Artisterium International Art Exhibition (Tbilisi, 2017, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2008), Batumi Backyards Project (Batumi, Georgia 2013, 2012), Dietski Dom Orphanage and Tengri Umai Gallery (Akkol /Almaty, Kazakhstan, 2015, 2016), Proteus Gowanus Interdisciplinary Gallery and Reading Room (Brooklyn, 2014), Souzy Tros Art Canteen (Athens, Greece, 2013), Kuad Gallery (Istanbul, 2012), Benaki Museum Pireos Annex (Athens, 2011), Byzantine Museum (Athens, 2008), Art Caucasus International (Tbilisi, 2007, 2005). Her participatory walking projects have been featured in NeMe Arts Centre (Limossol, Cyprus, 2017), Colorado College Design Week (Colorado Springs, 2017), and the Milena Principle’s “Made of Walking Festival” (2016, Delphi, Greece).

She serves on the board of the American Craft Council and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. Here writing and curatorial projects can be found online at: www.lydiamatthews.com

“Rubble Riches Treasure Trash, Mary Mattingly participatory project: “Landfill Eulogy & Burial Walk” (photo: Stephanie Syjuco)
“Lydia Matthews walking in Meteora, Greece” (photo: Elaine Buckholtz )
Vince Ruvolo on his “Virtual Blind Date: Being in Two Places at Once Project” photo: Agnes Szanyi
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  1. […] Lydia Matthews teaches in the fine arts program at Parsons School of Design as well as running a curatorial design research lab. Via collaboration between the two, Matthews and her team are working with over 50 writers to create multi-disciplinary pieces about each of fourteen works in order to shed new light on pieces seen but often not fully appreciated for their cultural value. Much of Matthews’ work focuses on the post-Soviet world. For an upcoming art show in the Republic of Georgia she will work with artists to examine the cross-section of contemporary craft and contemporary art. Brought up in an immigrant family from Greece, Matthews has always had an interest in the Soviet world. In 2005 she stumbled into the opportunity to curate a show in Tbilisi, Georgia. Of this she says, “I went there thinking that I was wide-eyed and interested” but Matthews couldn’t have predicted how the region and community she found there would play such a major role in her career going forward. […]