University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
School of Architecture College of Design

David McFadden

Date of Interview:


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February 28, 2010


Museum of Arts and Design,

New York, New York

13 pages

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Audio Clip 1

Audio Clip 2

Audio Clip 3

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Biographical Summary

David McFadden is Chief Curator and Vice President for Programs and Collections at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. He served as Curator of Decorative Arts and Assistant Director for Collections and Research at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution from 1978 to 1995. For six years, he served as President of the International Council of Museums’ Decorative Arts and Design Committee. McFadden has organized more than 120 exhibitions on decorative arts, design, and craft, covering developments from the ancient world to the present day. He has also published more than 100 catalogues, essays, articles, and reviews, and has lectured extensively. McFadden has received many notable international awards including the Presidential Design Award three times; Knight First Class, Order of the Lion of Finland; and Knight Commander, Order of the Northern Star of Sweden.


Interview Topics

McFadden talks about his first meeting with Jack Lenor Larsen; curating an exhibition of Larsen’s textiles at the Museum of American Craft; Larsen’s talents and appreciation of other cultures; Larsen’s sense of color and light and how he manipulated light through the use of shading or sheers; and Larsen’s marketing skills.  



Remoulade (1956)
Spice Garden Collection

Interplay (1976)
African Collection

Funding for these oral histories was provided by a Craft Research Fund Grant from the University of North Carolina, Asheville Center for Craft, Creativity & Design.


Contact Information

Goldstein Museum of Design

364 McNeal Hall,

1985 Buford Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108

P: 612-624-7434 |

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