is a graphic designer, writer, curator, and educator.
Lupton described the evolution of her own career like this:
"I studied design and art in the early 1980s at The Cooper Union in New York City. When I graduated, I was invited to run a small design gallery inside the school. I did that for seven years. I was a do-it-yourself curator, hanging my own shows, keeping the windows clean, trimming the labels. At the same time, I was publishing a lot, building a reputation as a writer and critic. In 1992, I was offered a ‘real job’ at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, also in New York City. Now, I had the opportunity to create much larger exhibitions for a bigger public. Each exhibition has been accompanied by a sturdy exhibition catalogue and ambitious public programming."
Her exhibitions have included: Mechanical Brides
in 1993; Mixing Messages
in 1996; Graphic Design in the Mechanical Age
in 1999; Cooper-Hewitt National Design Triennial
in 2000, 2003 and 2006; Skin: Surface, Substance + Design
in 2002; Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table
in 2006; and Solos: New Design from Israel
Since 1997 Lupton has also been the director of the Master of Fine Art program in graphic design at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA): "In 1997, I was invited to run the graphic design program at Maryland Institute College of Art, in Baltimore, a big, tough city that is two hours by train from New York. Baltimore is my hometown, and a fun place to live. Cooper-Hewitt has allowed me to live in Baltimore for the past ten years and continue as a part-time curator."
Lupton is married to J. Abbott Miller, a partner in the New York office of the international design firm Pentagram. Together Ellen and Abbott live in Baltimore and have two children, Jay and Ruby.