2013 Iris Awards


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

This year's honorees are Richard Jenrette, Morrison H. Heckscher, Glenn Adamson, and Adrian Sassoon. The awards will be presented at a luncheon at the Colony Club, 564 Park Avenue, on April 17, 2013.

About the Honorees
Richard Jenrette is the founder and president of the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust. Established in 1994, Classical American Homes is dedicated to preserving, protecting, and opening to the public examples of classical American residential architecture, fine and decorative arts of the first half of the nineteenth century. Over the past 40 years, Mr. Jenrette has owned and restored a dozen early American houses, most dating back to the early nineteenth century. He is also a collector of period antiques, almost entirely American and many original to the houses. Mr. Jenrette has served on many boards dedicated to historic preservation, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Hudson Valley, and the Committee for the Preservation of the White House. He has received various awards for his historic preservation activities, including the Louise DuPont Crowninshield Award, presented by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Hadrian Award, presented by the World Monuments Fund. Mr. Jenrette’s 50-year business career in the financial sector included serving as chairman and chief executive officer of Donaldson, Lufkin, and Jenrette Inc., and the Equitable Life Assurance Society. He is currently a director of the Blackstone Group.

Morrison H. Heckscher, who was named the Lawrence A. Fleischman Chairman of the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2001, worked with architect Kevin Roche and museum colleagues to totally rethink the building and its displays. The opening of new paintings, sculpture and decorative arts galleries in January 2012 signaled the project’s completion. Mr. Heckscher has been a member of the curatorial staff of the American Wing since 1969. His interests include eighteenth-century American furniture and nineteenth and twentieth-century American architecture. Among his recent exhibitions and publications are John Townsend, Newport Cabinetmaker (2005) and Creating Central Park (2008).

Glenn Adamson is head of research at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Dr. Adamson is co-editor of the triannual Journal of Modern Craft, and the author of Thinking Through Craft (2007), an anthology entitled The Craft Reader (2010), and The Invention of Craft (2013). His other publications include the co-edited volumes Global Design History (2011) and Surface Tensions (2013). He was the co-curator of the exhibition Postmodernism: Style and Subversion, 1970 to 1990, which was on view at the V&A from September 2011 to January 2012. He is now at work on a major exhibition to be held at the museum in 2016, entitled The Future: A History.

Adrian Sassoon, over the last eighteen years, has become Britain’s leading dealer in contemporary ceramics, glass, and silver made by studio artists. Based in London, he presents these works at TEFAF in Maastricht and other major art fairs in London and New York. Mr. Sassoon is also a leading scholar and dealer in French eighteenth-century Vincennes and Sèvres porcelain. The author of Vincennes and Sevres Porcelain: Catalogue of the Collections in the J. Paul Getty Museum (1991), he worked there as assistant curator of decorative arts from 1980 to 1985. He is a trustee of the Wallace Collection, London as well as of the Hermitage Foundation, UK.  Mr. Sassoon advises collectors on a wide range of other works of art and is a long-term patron and fellow of many museums including the National Gallery, London; the Wallace Collection, London; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Sir John Soane’s Museum, London; the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; and the Frick Collection, New York.

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 and thereby help to sustain the cultural heritage of our world. The awards are named for BGC Founder and Director Susan Weber’s mother, Iris Weber. Proceeds from the luncheon fund graduate student scholarships and fellowships.

Bard Graduate Center, located in New York City, is a graduate institution of Bard College, a liberal arts school with a distinguished reputation for innovation in the arts and sciences. Since its establishment in 1993, the BGC has aimed to become the leading graduate center for the study of the cultural history of the material world. The BGC is committed to the encyclopedic study of things, drawing on methodologies and approaches from art and design history, economic and cultural history, history of technology, philosophy, anthropology, and archaeology. Students enrolled in the MA and PhD programs work closely with a distinguished faculty of active scholars in exploring the interrelationships between works of art and craft, design, places, ideas, and social and cultural practice in courses ranging from antiquity to the twenty-first century.

For more information e-mail bass@bgc.bard.edu or call 212-501-3058. 
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