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News — 27 Aug 2020

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam appoints designer and educator Thomas Castro as the new curator of Graphic Design. The Filipino-American Castro was Head of Graphic Design at the ArtEZ University of Arts in Arnhem and he is co-founder of the award-winning studio LUST and LUSTLab, and research lab ZeroDotZero. With Castro as our third curator, the Design team is back at full strength.
Thomas Castro

Thomas Castro studied psychology and fine arts at the University of California, Irvine. It was there that a tutor introduced him to late 80s Dutch graphic design. Castro was so inspired by the playful, experimental, disruptive visual language that he switched to graphic design, and decided to continue his education in the Netherlands.

The new curator founded several successful (research) studios and has several awards and nominations to his name. LUST, for example, won the BNO Piet Zwart Award after a rich oeuvre spanning twenty years. The studio was also nominated for a Dutch Design Award for several projects, eventually winning the 2008 Dutch Design Award for Interactive Media for the retrospective 100 Years Graphic Design in the former Graphic Design Museum Breda. Castro currently runs the research lab ZeroDotZero, a platform for young talent, where design education and practice are central.

At LUST, Castro was also responsible for ground-breaking graphic design exhibition concepts such as Digital Depot created for Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the Posterwall for the 21st Century at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, and Type / Dynamics at the Stedelijk Museum. This presentation at the Stedelijk invited LUST to play off and respond to the visual language of designer Jurriaan Schrofer in a cutting-edge interactive presentation.

In addition to being a maker, Castro is a passionate educator. He was Head of Graphic Design at ArtEZ in Arnhem where he was responsible for developing the current de-modernizing design curriculum. He also gave lectures and workshops at institutions such as CAFA Beijing, University of Seoul, Columbia GSAPP, UCLA and SFMOMA. He also developed various public programmes, workshops and symposia such as GDA Design Summer Sessions with editions in Nida, Beijing, Detroit, Mexico City, and Tokyo. Castro has held design fellowships and was involved as a lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University, Vilnius Art Academy, ERBA Valence, and ISIA Urbino.

I see my practice as a trilogy, from maker to educator to curator. In my new role as curator I want to focus on the heritage of graphic design. How can we recalibrate and broaden the current design canon with new attitudes, knowledge and developments within the contemporary socio-cultural landscape? And how can we embrace and support more diverse forms of graphic design which at times only have a street life of one day.

— Thomas Castro

With a graphic designer on board our curatorial team, Castro follows in the footsteps of designers Sandberg and Crouwel, who develop programmes, present design and collect objects in a museum from a unique maker's perspective. Having travelled the world and worked on three continents, he sees the world from a broad perspective. Moreover, he belongs to a generation of graphic designers who experienced firsthand the transition from analogue to digital. We look forward to working with him.