Glenn Adamson on material intelligence

22.01.19. On the hop, London

Every now and again I break the format of the podcast and speak to a critic or someone who can provide an overview of the field. In series one I featured the New York-based curator and commentator Glenn Adamson. The fact that he also had a new book out – entitled Fewer Better Things: The Hidden Wisdom of Objects – was an added bonus.

I think it’s safe to say that we cover a fair amount of turf in our conversation: the relationship between academia and craft; the role of museums in our digital age; middle-class consumption; and how his grandfather Arthur became a rocket scientist (I know what you’re thinking but he really did). The thread running through all this is the importance of what he describes as ‘material intelligence’. Incidentally, did you know that Glenn can play the Irish pipes? No, me neither.

Find out more Glenn Adamson

Some of Adamson’s books including his latest, Craft: An American History.

Adamson co-curated Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970 – 1990 at London’s V&A in 2011. All images courtesy of the author.