I am the most curious about things that don’t seem like they belong together (yet), people and objects and projects and ideas that are not at the center of power and popularity, and contaminating expectations for narratives and experiences with unorthodox tactics. I think institutions, structures and frameworks are material like any other, and there are so many more ways to reshape them.


Shannon R. Stratton has worked in the visual arts as an artist, writer, curator, professor, publisher and arts administrator with an emphasis on artist-run initiatives and concepts in contemporary craft.

After completing her MFA in 2003 she co-founded the artist-run organization, Threewalls (Chicago), where she was artistic and then executive director for 12 years. At Threewalls, she organized exhibitions with over 100 artists; created The Propeller Fund award in collaboration with Gallery 400 for artist’s self-organizing; conceived and published 4 volumes of PHONEBOOK, a national guide to grass-roots and artist-run organizations across the US; and co-organized the first Hand-in-Glove conference which would lead to the founding of Common Field, a national organization in support of artist-focused organizations.

From 2015-2019 she was Chief Curator at The Museum of Arts and Design in New York. During that time, she reimagined the artistic vision of the institution, exploring craft’s reach in contemporary art and design.

Over her tenure, she launched the Burke Prize, 1st Site and programmed 35 exhibitions at MAD, including curating Atmosphere for Enjoyment: Harry Bertoia’s Environment for Sound; the multi-part exhibition, Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sounds; Tanya Aguiñiga: Craft & Care and the upcoming Roger Brown: Virtual Still Lifes.

As an independent curator and writer, she is currently working with The John Michael Kohler Arts Center, developing the exhibition Even thread has a speech as part of Leonore Tawney: Mirror of the Universe at (fall 2019); has assumed the role of Artistic Director at The Poor Farm; and will be launching the itinerant “periodical exhibition,” Slow Frequency, in 2020.


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