Maggie Taft

Maggie Taft

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (2014-2016)


20th century art and design, everyday life and the built environment, cultural memory and national formation, Scandinavian design, global legacies of Modernist architecture and design, participation and pedagogy in postwar art, Modernist art criticism identity and representation in activist art.

In 2007 Maggie received her BA in architectural studies from Brown University where a semester studying studio architecture abroad in Copenhagen piqued her interest in the Danish built environment. Her dissertation on Danish Modern traces the furniture in its Danish and American contexts in order to analyze the interrelationship between politics of consumption and discourses of modernism during the early years of the Cold War. Maggie’s mid-century focus has also included work on postwar American art criticism, exhibiting architecture and design, and László Moholy-Nagy and the New Bauhaus in Chicago.  A former co‑editor in chief of the Chicago Art Journal and an exhibitions editor for Design and Culture, her writing and reviews have appeared in Design and Culture, The PointThe Journal of Design History and Artforum.




  • Co-Editor, Into the City: Art and Design in Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, under contract). Making Danish Modern (manuscript in preparation).

Peer Reviewed

  • “Morphologies and Genealogies: Shaker Furniture and Danish Design,” Design and Culture (forthcoming).
  • “Containers, Corporations, and Containment: Herbert Bayer’s World Geo-Graphic Atlas,” with Hadji Bakara (in preparation).


  • “Hostess Twinkies,” “Haeger Pottery,” and “Hess Coffee Set for Bruce-Hunt, Inc.,” Art Deco Chicago, edited by Robert Bruegmann (under contract).
  • “Progress, Now.” In The Future Is Not What It Used to Be, edited by Zoe Ryan, 346-349. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2014.
  • “The Open Work in One Dimension,” Lodi: Natalie Smith. Albuquerque: SCA Contemporary Art, 2014.
  • “The Anatomy of Porcelain: Laura Letinsky, Molosco,” Chicago: Paris/London/Hong Kong, 2014.
  • “Better than Before: László Moholy-Nagy and the New Bauhaus in Chicago.” In Chicago Makes Modern: How Creative Minds Changed Society, edited by Jacquelynn Bass and Mary Jane Jacob, 31-43. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.
  • “Educating Intuition,” with Matthew Metzger. In Internal Necessity: A Reader Tracing the Inner Logics of the Contemporary Art Field, edited by Tirdad Zolghadr, 149-154. Berlin; New York: Sternberg Press, 2010.
  • “Matt Metzger’s Used Objects,” Chicago: Tony Wight Gallery, 2010.


  • “An Interview with Nicolai de Gier,” Shifter 18 (2012): 69-73. “The Dorchester Project: An Interview with Theaster Gates,” Chicago Art Journal 20 (2010): 72-87.


  • “Anne Wilson, Rhona Hoffman Gallery,” Artforum (January 2014): 217.
  • “Scandinavian Design: Alternative Histories,” Journal of Design History 26 (September 2013): 339-342.
  • “R.H. Quaytman: Passing Through the Opposite of What It Approaches, Chapter 25,” Texte zur Kunst, (March 2013): 229-232.
  • “Anne Tyng: Inhabiting Geometry,” Design and Culture, Vol. 4, No. 2 (June 2012): 232- 235.
  • “Josiah McElheny, Donald Young Gallery,” Artforum (February 2011): 234-235. “The Modern Wing,” The Point 2 (Winter 2010): 126-131.

Ph.D., University of Chicago

  • Dissertation: “Making Danish Modern, 1945-1960”

M.A., University of Chicago

  • Thesis: “The Non-Object of Design: László Moholy-Nagy and the new Bauhaus in America”

A.B. Brown University