Honoring Mildred (Mickey) Friedman
Mildred (Mickey) Friedman (1929-2014)—former Walker Art Center design curator, editor of Design Quarterly (1969-1990), and wife of former Walker director Martin Friedman—passed away on September 3, 2014, at age 85. Her profound influence on the Minnesota design community cannot be overstated. She will be greatly missed.
Read Andrew Blauvelt’s eloquent essay Remembering Mickey Friedman for an in-depth look at her distinguished career and enduring legacy.
The Minnesota Graphic Designers Association (MGDA) showed how much it respected and valued Mickey Friedman’s design advocacy at the Walker Art Center by giving her the Designing for Society Award in 1984. (See Archive Post 12.) She also partnered with AIGA Minnesota in 1986 to create the annual Insights design lecture series, which has become one of the longest running programs at the Walker. Under Friedman’s direction the Walker’s in-house design studio received the prestigious national AIGA Design Leadership Award in 1987 for its exhibition design, environmental graphics, promotional campaigns, identity programs, and numerous publications.
Friedman followed Peter Seitz as design curator at the Walker in 1969. Seitz recalls, “Mickey realized that design was everywhere, and if used correctly it could be a game changer. Working both independently and collaboratively, she used her position to change attitudes, policies, and expectations. She enthusiastically promoted emerging design and architecture pioneers through her work at the Walker. Her influence went beyond the Twin Cities, the Midwest, and the country. It was international.”
James E. Johnson, chief graphic designer at the Walker, worked with Mickey Friedman on Design Quarterly and many Walker exhibitions from 1969 to 1980. He observed, “Mickey and Martin Friedman (the Dynamic Duo) were a force of nature in the art and design world. It is hard to imagine one without the other—like yang without yin. Mickey was the GRAND international lady of design. She was the first woman I met in design that I truly respected and admired. One of a kind. It was my good fortune that she was my teacher of art, design, and architecture. With her passing, many have said it is the end of an era. No doubt she will be missed, but her remarkable legacy will be remembered in design history.”