Monthly Archives: March 2013

ADBC #5: Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise @MAD April 4

Superscript invites you to the fifth meeting of ADBC, the Architecture and Design Book Club, with our special guest Stephanie Murg.

On Thursday, April 4 join Superscript and art and design writer Stephanie Murg for a discussion of The Ladies’ Paradise by Émile Zola (1883), a novel set amid the the rise of the modern department store in 19th century Paris.

Basing his fictional emporium on spectacular Parisian stores like Bon Marché, Zola describes experimentation with all types of marketing methods—advertising, fixed prices, and, most notably, the dazzling displays that lured customers in from the street, pulling them, floor after floor, through a sea of goods ranging from the exotic to the everyday. We’ll discuss design themes related to consumerism, the modern city, and the rise of the middle class.

The conversation will take place in the second floor galleries at MAD, amid the current exhibition After the Museum: The Home Front 2013, which includes a related installation by Superscript, On Display. The April 4 event is free and open to the public (on Thursdays evenings MAD admission is free/pay-what-you-wish).

Need a copy of the book? Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Oxford University Press, we have several copies of The Ladies’ Paradise (trans. Brian Nelson, 1995) available to give away to guests. Email us at to arrange pick up while supplies last!

Guest: Stephanie Murg is a writer whose interests lie at the nexus of art, design, fashion, and capital markets. She edits the design blog UnBeige, lectures widely on design history and visual culture, and has a background in research for JPMorganChase (London), Harvard Business School, and the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her writing appears regularly in publications such as Wallpaper*ARTnews, Art+AuctionThe Architect’s Newspaper, and Smithsonian.

Text: Émile Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise.

Venue: The Museum of Arts and Design, 2nd fl. galleries, 2 Columbus Circle

Date: Thursday, April 4, 2013

6:30pm Introduction
6:45-7:30pm Discussion, Q&A
7:30pm Drinks reception

Produced by editorial consultancy Superscript, ADBC is a free and public book club. We invite anyone to drop in and join our informal conversations in different venues around the city.
Follow us at @superscriptco

Special thanks to:

Thursday, 3/21 @ MAD: On Display #1: Object

What can a stool, a room of robots, and Columbus Circle tell us about the future of museums?

On Display
Case study #1: Object
Thursday, March 21, 7:00pm
MAD, 2 Columbus Circle

Superscript + HAO + Neil Donnelly host a series of three public conversations where historical milestones of the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)—ranging from a design object, to a curated show, to the physical location of MAD itself—serve as starting points for a conversation about the future of museums. The in-gallery discussions, held on Thursday evenings when the museum is free to the public, will be supported by a live-edited, interactive installation on display in the Museum’s second-floor gallery space. Questions, opinions, and findings from this set of events encouraging audience participation will, in turn, evolve into a publication containing critical reflections on the role ahead for museums within an ever-evolving, increasingly digital-bound society. On Display at MAD is part of The Home Front 2013: After the Museum.

Case study #1: Object
For The Global Africa Project, a 2010 exhibition on African visual culture today, MAD included the Taboo stool by the industrial design firm Birsel + Seck. Made of 75 percent recycled plastic and manufactured by a female-owned company in designer Bibi Seck’s birthplace of Senegal, Taboo was a groundbreaking design object in multiple ways, as was MAD’s choice to present the modest object amid an array of visually dazzling pieces.

In the future, what will museums choose to display, how will people experience objects, and what will museums say about objects? Please join us for a conversation with special guests from the fields of design, museology, and anthropology.

Those attending each event can choose to be listed as contributors in the final On Display publication. The public will also be able to participate in conversations remotely via Twitter: @superscriptco #OnDisplay