Michelle Millar Fisher is currently the Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts within the Contemporary Art Department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her work focuses on the intersections of people, power, and the material world. At the MFA, she is working on her next book and exhibition, tentatively titled Craft Schools: Where We Make What We Inherit which is taking her across 48 contiguous US states via train over the course of a yearThe recipient of an MA and an M.Phil in Art History from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, she received an M.Phil from and is currently completing her doctorate in art history at The Graduate Center at the City University of New York (CUNY). She was part of the 2022 fellow cohort at the Center for Curatorial Leadership.

She has long been interested in the confluence of gender and design. She has written widely on care work, mothering, and reproductive labor, including parenting in museums (and hiding care work at work), being childfree, grief and mothers, and the architecture of maternity. Since 2017, she has co-organized an independent team of collaborators around a book (MIT Press 2021), exhibition, curriculum, and program series called Designing Motherhood: Things That Make and Break Our Births. Find it on Instagram at @designingmotherhood. In 2017, she co-organized an exhibition and book, I Will What I Want: Women, Design, and Empowerment, in conjunction with muca-Roma, Mexico City. 

Previously, she was the The Louis C. Madeira IV Assistant Curator of European Decorative Arts and Design at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where she co-organized Designs for Different Futures (book and exhibition, 2019), helped rethink the display of nineteenth century European decorative arts, and engaged in research for the PMA’s new Gehry galleries which center contemporary art and design production at local and global levels. From 2014-2018 she was a Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, where she co-organized, amongst others, the exhibitions Design and Violence, This Is for Everyone: Design Experiments for the Common Good, From the Collection, 1960-1969 and Items: Is Fashion Modern? as well as accompanying catalogues.

Before that, she worked for four years as a museum educator at the Solomon. R. Guggenheim Museum and as a research intern in Arms & Armor for a year at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She frequently lectures at conferences and symposia, and has been an adjunct lecturer at many schools, including Parsons The New School for Design, CUNY’s Baruch College, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Graham Foundation Award, a Pew Center for Arts & Heritage project award, a Sachs Program for Arts Innovation Award, a full CUNY Graduate Center Enhanced Chancellor’s Dissertation Fellowship, several Kress Foundation Institutional Grants for Digital Resources, a DAAD Summer Language Fellowship, and an Arts & Humanities Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship.

Collaboration and mentorship is at the core of her practice. In 2011, she co-founded ArtHistoryTeachingResources.org, a Kress Foundation-funded project now used in over 185 countries. In 2019, she co-founded Art + Museum Transparency, dedicated to supporting critical conversations on the intersections of art and labor, and home to the Salary Transparency Spreadsheet.

Interviews with MMF:
Strange Fire Collective, 2021
The Architect’s Newspaper, 2020
Artpress, 2020
Architexx, 2019
Squinch, 2019
Crea, 2018
MoMA Young Curators, 2018
Harvard GSD, 2016

michellemillarfisher [at] gmail [dot] com

Photo: Brigitte Lacombe