Curious Objects: Leather, with Glenn Adamson

Editorial Staff Curious Objects

Scenes of Plains Indian Life made by Cadzi Cody (1866–1912; Wind River Shoshone), c. 1880, Minneapolis Institute of Art.

This week host Benjamin Miller welcomes back an old friend: Glenn Adamson, ANTIQUES contributor and editor of Material Intelligence, an online quarterly published by the Chipstone Foundation. The upcoming issue of the journal concerns leather, one of the oldest as well as the commonest human-worked materials. From its sartorial to industrial applications (machine belts—sorry American bison), and its prevalence in sadomasochistic paraphernalia, Ben and Glenn cover the gamut. 

Glenn Adamson is a curator, writer, and historian based in New York. He has previously been Director of the Museum of Arts and Design and Head of Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and is currently Artistic Director for Design Doha, a new biennial festival for Qatar (forthcoming in 2024), curator-at-large for LongHouse Reserve, as well as editor of Material Intelligence. Adamson’s publications include Thinking Through Craft (2007); Fewer Better Things: The Hidden Wisdom of Objects (2018); and Craft: An American History (2021). His next book, A Century of Tomorrows, will be published by Bloomsbury in 2024. His current curatorial projects include Mirror Mirror: Reflections on Design at Chatsworth (2023), Worlds Within: The Art of Toshiko Takaezu at the Isamu Noguchi Museum (forthcoming in 2024, and touring thereafter), and Ground/work 2  at the Clark Art Institute (forthcoming in 2025).