Meet the Juror: Ron Labaco

Ron Labaco is the Marcia Docter Senior Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.

What’s the most rewarding or challenging aspect of serving as juror?

For me, as an object-based curator, one of the challenges was reviewing artwork from images. Sometimes photography just doesn’t do the actual work justice. Another challenge was the sheer volume: We reviewed 1000 applicants at five slides each!

What sets the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show apart?

The diverse interests and depth of knowledge of my fellow jurors was a great formula, developed by the Craft Show Committee over what was undoubtedly decades of experience. We had many interesting debates, and several impassioned pleas from jurors who were familiar with the work of some of the applicants. 

What do you look for when selecting artists for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show?

It’s difficult for me to explain. I have a gut reaction to work after having juried many competitions. One important criterion was whether I felt the work contributed to furthering innovation in its respective field.

What craft trends have you seen emerging among this year's applicants?

It was interesting to see the number of artists who are working in additive fabrication, or 3D printing. In 2013 I organized the exhibition Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital on digital fabrication in art, architecture, and design to argue that these emerging technologies were simply tools for greater creative expression in hands of talented individuals. We’re seeing that bearing out.

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