In May 2004, I interviewed Michael Graves about his career as an architect and product designer at the Pantages Theater, Minneapolis The interview — Graves' first public appearance since becoming paralyzed and wheelchair-bound as a result of an acute infection — was subsequently broadcast on the Minnesota Channel, as a co-production of the University of Minnesota Design Institute, Twin Cities Public Television, and the Weisman Art Museum.
After discussing his architectural career, Graves spoke humorously and informatively about his product designs: the Target toilet brush, seen above, was an example of the relationship between legislative changes and design, as it followed the introduction of new limits on water used for flushing). He then spoke movingly about the illness that radically changed his life, bringing a new awareness of design as experienced by people with disabilities. "There's an ADA act, and it's not nearly sufficient...You can't imagine how many things there are that we do, that you become dependent on. And no ramp, or lowering of the bookcase, is going to solve the question of range-of-motion. This is my world, now. The physical pain continues. I'm never without it."
This dialogue formed part of the series Architects Shape the New Minneapolis, jointly organized by leading Minneapolis cultural organizations including the Weisman Art Museum, the Walker Art Center, the Childrens Theater, the Minneapolis Public Library, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, which were all simultaneously undergoing major expansions or new building construction.