Zoë Ryan

Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director


Zoë Ryan is Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania. Since joining ICA in 2020, she has focused on expanding the institution’s role as a launchpad for contemporary art, research, and ideas across disciplines. Recent projects include the creation of Field Notes, ICA’s first research platform to explore the intersection of art, design, and society.

Prior to ICA, Zoë was John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she set the vision for collecting and exhibiting modern and contemporary architecture and design. Her research explores the arts as a catalyst for social and cultural change and she is an active lecturer and panelist at national and international institutions.

Upcoming projects include a co-edited volume of writings by Cuban-Mexican designer Clara Porset, many translated into English for the first time (Concordia University Press, 2024). Past projects include the exhibition and catalogue: In a Cloud, in a Wall, in a Chair: Six Modernists in Mexico at Midcentury (2019); the edited volume: As Seen: Exhibitions that Made Architecture and Design History (2017); and major survey exhibitions of the work of architects and designers, including: Christien Meindertsma, Studio Gang, Bertrand Goldberg, Konstantin Grcic, Max Lamb, and the Ambiguous Standards Institute.

In 2014, Zoë was the curator of the second Istanbul Design Biennial: The Future is Not What it Used to Be. Zoë has taught graduate courses in design history and theory at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a member of the Design Trust International Advisory Council, Hong Kong; a Board of Advisor for MAS Context; and on the Executive Committee of the International Confederation of Architecture Museums.