Ezra Shales received his Ph.D. from the Bard Graduate Center and an M.F.A. from Hunter College. He is Associate Professor in the History of Art department at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
He has worked with visual culture from multiple perspectives, having exhibited his own work in New York City at the Brooklyn Museum, P.S. 1 and Artists Space, served as Director of Education at the Katonah Museum of Art and worked as a curator, too. His research and teaching are focused on the productive confusion that lies at the intersection of design, craft, and art.
Shales's work as a writer, educator and curator involve site visits to manufacturing facilities as often as archives and museums. He has authored essays for the Journal of Design History, Design and Culture and Journal of Modern Craft on topics such as Victorian toys and the role of artisans in building the Empire State Building and writes about contemporary practices, too. In his book, Made in Newark (Rutgers University Press, 2010), Shales examines the exhibitions and demonstrations of handicraft held in the public library, schools, department stores and municipal pageantry in Progressive-era Newark, New Jersey, and investigates the power of making in relationship to the fashioning of vernacular identities. He was the curator of an award-winning exhibition that focused on manufacturing in Western New York (titled "Raw Goods") and is currently at work on a larger scale version that will explore large-scale American industrial craft from across the nation.