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Ralph Caplan Memorial Lecture

This annual program is co-produced with the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York and honors the memory of Ralph Caplan. Speakers highlight design with creative and critical perspectives.

The second annual Ralph Caplan Memorial Lecture was delivered by photographer Christopher Payne in conversation with journalist Julie Lasky followed by a reception and book signing. Hosted by SVA MA Design Research, Writing & Criticism and The Museum of 21st Century Design (M21D). December 4, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.

In Memoriam: Ralph Caplan (1925-2020) was a writer, editor, design critic, and beloved faculty member in the MFA Design Criticism program, a.k.a. DCrit, at the School of Visual Arts. He began his career in 1957 as a writer for I.D. magazine (then called “Industrial Design”), becoming editor in 1959, a position he held until 1963. Caplan continued to write design criticism for I.D. and several other periodicals and authored several books, including By Design: Why There Are No Locks on the Bathroom Doors in the Hotel Louis XIV, Other Object Lessons, and Cracking the Whip: Essays on Design and Its Side Effects. As a board member of the International Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado and as a consultant for Herman Miller, he was at the heart of conversations that shaped post-WWII design and design thinking, receiving the “Design Mind” award in 2019 from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Ralph taught design criticism at the School of Visual Arts from 2009 to 2013.

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