Zoë Ryan is the John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago. A curator and author, her projects focus on exploring the impact of architecture and design on society. Her recent exhibitions include, In a Cloud, in a Wall, in a Chair: Modernists in Mexico at Midcentury (2019) and Past Forward: Architecture and Design at the Art Institute, a major installation of the modern and contemporary architecture and design collections (2017–ongoing). In 2017, she published As Seen: Exhibitions that Made Architecture and Design History, the first volume to explore in depth the important role that exhibitions have played in the history of these fields of practice.
Her past exhibitions include: Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye (2015), Fashioning the Object: Bless, Boudicca, and Sandra Backlund (2012), and Bertrand Goldberg: Architecture of Invention (2011). In 2014, she was the curator of the second Istanbul Design Biennial, The Future Is Not What It Used To Be. Ryan has taught graduate seminars on 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.