BGC and Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Launch New Program

The Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture (BGC) and the Fundación Cisneros/Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC) announce the launch of the The Cisneros Seminar in the Material Cultures of the Iberoamerican World. The program, which will be centered at the BGC, will advance scholarship on the cultures of the Ibero-American world through study of its material artifacts across space, time, media, and methodology, and irrespective of institutional and national divisions.

The core of the project is the creation of a network of scholars, practitioners, and intellectuals—whether independent or affiliated with universities, museums, cultural institutions, or the business world—who share a scholarly commitment to this previously understudied area. The network is intended to provide the foundation for a new field of scholarly inquiry, one that will open fresh areas of study and provide answers to questions that have long been thought solved.

Peter N. Miller, Dean at the BGC, notes, "With this project, we hope to help bring into existence a new field of intellectual inquiry, focusing on the varied material cultures of the Iberian-colonized lands of America, while at the same time helping to remake what remains essentially 'Uniter States Studies into a genuine American Studies."'

Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, director of the CPPC, adds, ―The Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros is delighted to collaborate with the Bard Graduate Center on this exciting new endeavor. Support for scholarship is a critical element of the CPPC’s mission to foster greater understanding of the Ibero-American world in all of its complexities. We look forward to helping this new field of study grow, and to continuing what we hope will be an ongoing and highly productive partnership with the Bard Graduate Center.‖

The first stage of the Cisneros Seminar will be a meeting of an Advisory Group of scholars representing a variety of areas (list of members attached). Devoted to a discussion of possible frameworks and critical issues in the field, this will be held in New York City on May 18, 2010. The seminar will be inaugurated with a public lecture at the Bard Graduate Center on May 17 at 6 p.m by Richard Kagan, Professor of Early Modern History at The Charles Singleton Center for the Study of Pre-Modern Europe, Johns Hopkins University
entitled ―Discoveries: Perspectives on the History of Ibero-American Art in the United States. Dr. Kagan's lecture will be followed by a reception.

During each of the 2010–11 and 2011–12 academic years, three visiting scholars and practitioners recommended by the Advisory Group will come to the Bard Graduate Center for one-week residencies. While there, they will give a public seminar, meet informally with students, and be introduced to New York City resources for studying the material world. It is hoped that these residencies will help to create an intellectual focus in New York City for the study of Ibero-American material culture. The program will also help to develop professional networks for participants and provide opportunities for ongoing intellectual exchange.

Bard Graduate Center

The BGC is a graduate research institute committed to studying the cultural history of the material world, drawing on methodologies and approaches from art and design history, economic and cultural history, history of technology, philosophy, anthropology, and archaeology. It was founded in 1993 and awards MA and PhD degrees. Its acclaimed Gallery is a center for exhibiting decorative arts and design in New York City, and it is the sponsor of West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History and Material Culture (published by University of Chicago Press) and the book series Cultural Histories of the Material World.

Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

The Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC) is one of the core cultural and educational initiatives of the Fundación Cisneros. Based in New York City and Caracas, the wide-ranging program was established in the 1970s by Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and Gustavo A. Cisneros in order to advance scholarship on Latin American art, promote excellence in visual-arts education, and encourage a high level of expertise among Latin American art professionals. The CPPC additionally works to enhance appreciation of the diversity, sophistication, and range of art from Latin America. It achieves these goals through the preservation and study of the material culture of the Ibero-American world—from colonial and federalist furniture to modern and contemporary art—as well as the material evidence of Latin America’s indigenous peoples. CPPC activities include exhibitions, publications, grants for scholarly research and artistic production, and the internationally recognized education program Piensa en arte/Think Art.

Advisory Group

Gui Bonsiepe, former professor of interface design, University of Applied Sciences, Cologne, Germany
Jonathan Brown, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Thomas Cummins, professor of pre-Columbian art, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Gustavo Curiel, researcher, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Autónoma de México, Mexico City
Cristina Esteras, professor of Hispano-American art, Complutensian University, Madrid
Silvia Fernandez, dean of the faculty of design and communication, Universidad del Este, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Valerie Fraser, director of the Latin American Centre and co-director of the University of Essex, Collection of Latin American Art University of Essex
Richard Kagan, professor of Early Modern History at The Charles Singleton Center for the Study of Pre-Modern Europe, Johns Hopkins University
Ilona Katzew, curator of Latin American art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Thomas DaCosta Kaufman, Frederick Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University
Jay Levenson, director of international programs, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Sabine MacCormack, Theodore Hesburgh Professor of Arts and Letters, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana
Natalia Majluf, director of the Museo de Arte de Lima
Gabriela Rangel, director of visual arts, Americas Society, New York
Alessandra Russo, assistant professor, Columbia University Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Nuno Senos, resident director of the Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE) Study Center Lisbon, Faculdade de Ciencas Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon
Edward Sullivan, Helen Gould Sheppard Professor in the History of Art, Institute of Fine Arts and College of Arts and Sciences, New York University
Marva Griffin Wilshire, curator of Salone Satellite, Milan International Furniture Fair

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