Michelle Millar Fisher is a curator and an architecture and design historian. The 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 is currently the Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her work focuses on the intersections of people, power, design, and craft.
She has long been interested in the confluence of gender and design, the subject of an independent co-organized exhibition and co-published book, I Will What I Want: Women, Design, and Empowerment (spring 2018), in conjunction with muca-Roma, Mexico City. Right now, she’s excited to be collaborating with fellow design historian Amber Winick on a book (MIT Press 2021), exhibition, curriculum, and program series, Designing Motherhood: Things That Make and Break Our Births. Find it on Instagram at @designingmotherhood.
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, most recently, the 2017 exhibition Items: Is Fashion Modern? and the accompanying catalogue (both of which made the end-of-year New York Times “Best of 2017” list).
Before that, she worked at the Solomon. R. Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She frequently lectures at conferences and symposia, and has been an instructor of record at 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 Pew Center for Arts & Heritage project 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.
Fisher likes working collaboratively. 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 of the Salary Transparency Spreadsheet.
Email: michellemillarfisher [at] gmail [dot] com