Maggie Taft’s research collects in two primary areas: modern design and the history of art in Chicago. Her current work on design is concerned with the global circulation not only of, but also embedded in inter- and postwar design. Her teaching in subject areas such as Chicago’s art history and the Bauhaus foregrounds research approaches, writing strategies, and methodology.
Taft’s current book project, The Chieftain and the Chair: Danish Design in Postwar America (under contract with the University of Chicago Press), tells the story of the production and persistent international appeal of Danish Modern design through a dual biography of two iconic midcentury chairs—Finn Juhl's Chieftain Chair and Hans Wegner's Round Chair (known colloquially as The Chair). She is also co-editor of Art in Chicago: A History from the Fire to Now (University of Chicago Press, 2018). Taft’s work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Graham Foundation, the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright Foundation, and the American-Scandinavian Foundation, among others.
Taft is Founding Director of the Haddon Avenue Writing Institute, an independent, community-based writing center, and post-graduate preceptor for the MAPH program.