15th Annual Iris Foundation Awards
For Outstanding Contributions to the Decorative Arts

Dr. Susan Weber, founder and director of the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, has announced the recipients of the Fifteenth Annual Iris Foundation Awards for Outstanding Contributions to the Decorative Arts.

This year’s honorees are Donald and Shelley Rubin,  John Harris, OBE, Juliet Kinchin, and Bernard Dragesco.

The awards will be presented at a luncheon on April 6, 2011, at 583 Park Avenue, New York City. For further information, please call (212) 501-3071.

About the Honorees

Shelley and Donald Rubin
About thirty-five years ago, Shelley and Donald Rubin became fascinated with the art and culture of the Himalayas and began collecting tangkas (Himalayan paintings on fabric). Over time they amassed an astonishing array of paintings and sculpture from the Himalayan region, ranging in date from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century. During the late nineties, reluctant to give their collection to an established institution that would bury it in storage, they decided instead to find another way to share it with the public. The Rubin Museum of Art opened to the public in 2004 and has become the premier museum in the Western world dedicated to the art of the Himalayas. Through its collections, critically acclaimed exhibitions, and extensive public programming, the museum has become a vital part of New York’s cultural fabric

John Harris, OBE
John Harris is universally regarded as one of the greatest historians of architecture, gardens and architectural drawings of our times. Author of more than twenty-five books and catalogues, and two hundred articles, his rich and varied work includes Moving Rooms: The Trade in Architectural Salvages (2007), Inigo Jones: Complete Architectual Drawings (1989), The Design of the English Country House (1985), and The Artist and the Country House (1979).  Harris is a Fellow and Curator Emeritus of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects, founding Trustee of SAVE Britain's Heritage and SAVE Europe's Heritage, and founding member and Honorary Life President of the International Confederation of Architectural Museums.

Juliet Kinchin
Juliet Kinchin joined the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2008 as Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, focusing on the history of modern design. She holds an M.A. from Cambridge University and an M.A. from the Courtauld Institute of Art of the University of London. She is currently an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow where she was formerly a Senior Lecturer in the Department of the History of Art, and Founding Director of the graduate program in Decorative Arts and Design History. Kinchin has published extensively on nineteenth- and twentieth-century design and decorative arts, notably on Charles R. Mackintosh and his Glasgow contemporaries, on E.W. Godwin, and on aspects of Hungarian design and architecture. She recently organized the exhibition, Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen.

Bernard Dragesco
Paris-based dealer Bernard Dragesco specialises in museum quality French porcelain and European glass in the gallery he founded with Didier Cramoisan. As an art historian, Bernard Dragesco lectures regularly on the Continent, in England, and in the United States. His research achievements include the identification of the elusive English “Girl In a Swing” porcelain factory as that of Charles Gouyn in St. James’s, London.  He also discovered that the fabled Sèvres “crescent” bird painter was in fact Louis-Denis Armand l'aîné.  In 2007, the French Minister for Culture promoted Bernard Dragesco to the rank of Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters.

About the Awards

The Iris Foundation Awards were created in 1997 to recognize scholars, patrons, and professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the study and appreciation of the decorative arts, thereby helping to sustain the cultural heritage of our world. The Awards are named for Dr. Susan Weber’s mother, Iris Weber. Proceeds from the luncheon fund graduate student scholarships and fellowships.

click here for a list of past Iris Award recipients

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