Open main menu

Mildred Friedman

Mildred "Mickey" Friedman (née Shenberg; 25 July 1929 – 3 September 2014) was an American architecture and design curator and editor of the journal Design Quarterly.



Friedman, née Shenberg, was born in Los Angeles to Nathaniel and Hortense Schenberg. After majoring in design at University of California, Los Angeles, she taught design at Los Angeles City College before moving with her husband to Minneapolis in 1958. She was hired by the Walker Art Center as a design consultant in 1969.

Friedman was promoted to Curator of Design in 1979, after having conceived and organized several seminal exhibitions, such as the 1975 exhibition, Nelson/Eames/Girard/Propst: The Design Process at Herman Miller (Design Quarterly 98/99),[1][2] bringing about further scrutiny and critical accolades for design as an art.

She continued to work at Walker Art Center in many capacities up until her retirement in 1990.[3][4] In addition to curating exhibits on architecture and design, including the Walker's noted 1986 exhibition Frank Gehry, architect,[5] Friedman was also instrumental in shaping the remodeling and interiors of the Walker.[3]

Friedman was also interested in making architecture and design more accessible. "What interests me about movements in architecture and design is when something really has an impact on the way people live and the way they think."[6] In addition to her role as Curator of Design, Friedman also wrote extensively and served as an editor for several exhibition publications.[7] Her first job at the Walker Art Center in 1969 was as the editor of Design Quarterly,[8] a publication started by the Walker (1954-1996; previous title: Everyday Art Quarterly, 1946-1953).[9] The last issue she edited was no. 152 (1991).[10]

In 2013, the Walker Art Center named their design fellowship, the Mildred S. Friedman Design Fellowship, a program started under Friedman's leadership in the 1980, in Friedman's honor.[11]

Major exhibitionsEdit

Friedman curated or co-curated many large shows, from the 1970s up until the mid-2000s.[12] In addition to Frank Gehry, architect,[5] other notable shows include De Stijl, 1917-1931: Visions of Utopia[13] and Tokyo: Form and Spirit.[14] The last show she curated, Architecture Tomorrow, was a three year long series that ran from 1988-1991, ending after she retired.[15][16]

Selected publicationsEdit

  • Friedman, Mildred S; Jaffé, Hans Ludwig Cohn (1988-01-01). De Stijl, 1917-1931: visions of utopia. Oxford: Phaidon. ISBN 0714824380.
  • Friedman, Mildred; Giovannini, Joseph; Heller, Steven; Walker Art Center (1989-01-01). Graphic design in America: a visual language history. Minneapolis; New York: Walker Art Center ; Abrams. ISBN 0810910365.
  • Friedman, Mildred (2013-01-01). Frank Gehry: the houses. New York: Rizzoli. ISBN 9780847830602.
  • Rand, Paul; Friedman, Mildred S; Walker Art Center (1984-01-01). A Paul Rand miscellany. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Yardley, William (2014-09-09). "Mildred Friedman, 85, Dies; Curator Elevated Design and Architecture". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
  4. ^ "Obituary: Mildred Friedman made Walker Art Center a world leader in design". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  5. ^ a b Ragheb, J. Fiona; Gehry, Frank O; Cohen, Jean-Louis; Friedman, Mildred S; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Museo Guggenheim Bilbao (2001-01-01). Frank Gehry, architect. New York: Guggenheim Museum Publications. ISBN 0810969297.
  6. ^ Gordon, Alice (1988). "Talking to...: Mildred Friedman". Vogue. 178: 204, 208, 214.
  7. ^ Woo, Elaine (2014). "Mildred Friedman, 1929 - 2014; curator found emerging talents". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ "Design for Explication not Veneration: Remembering Mickey Friedman — Magazine — Walker Art Center". Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  9. ^ "Design Quarterly on JSTOR". Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  10. ^ "No. 152, 1991 of Design Quarterly on JSTOR". JSTOR i386026.
  11. ^ "Mildred Friedman Design Fellowship". The Gradient. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  12. ^ "Results for 'su:exhibitions au:Friedman, Mildred' []". Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  13. ^ Bock, Manfred; Friedman, Mildred S; Walker Art Center (1982-01-01). De Stijl, 1917-1931: visions of Utopia. Minneapolis; New York: Walker Art Center ; Abbeville Press.
  14. ^ Brandon, James R; Friedman, Mildred S; Walker Art Center (1986-01-01). Tokyo, form and spirit. Minneapolis; New York: Walker Art Center ; Abrams.
  15. ^ Friedman, Mildred (1991-01-01). "Architecture Tomorrow and the Visionary Tradition". Design Quarterly (152): 3–6. JSTOR 4091250.
  16. ^ "About the Program — Architecture/Design — Walker Art Center". Retrieved 2017-03-11.