I work on European design, architecture, and art from 1750 through the present, with an emphasis on German design and domestic architecture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I’m especially interested in the ways in which we interact with objects – and how they interact with us – both historically and in contemporary life, so I look closely at how form and materials have influenced the way designed objects have played active roles in the creation of history and theory. I understand domestic objects as communicators or agents during a modern period when Europe was experiencing unprecedented political, cultural, and social upheaval. My book manuscript, Living Things: The Modern Art of Richard Riemerschmid, examines how Munich artist Richard Riemerschmid’s early twentieth-century designs for housewares, interiors, and clothing force a reconception of what we tend to understand as “modern.” My research has been supported by the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Central European History Society, and the Wolfsonian Museum. I’m currently pursuing a new research project – “The Emperor’s New Clothes” – that explores the material and conceptual aspects of transparency in design and their political implications for international modernism.

Selected Recent Publications

Book manuscript: “Living Things: The Modern Art of Richard Riemerschmid.”

“The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Modern Myth of Transparency.” In New Challenges to Conventions: Innovation in the Weimar Republic. New York: Peter Lang, German Visual Culture Series Volume 6, forthcoming.

“Bauhaus Made Miniature: Material Politics in German Design, 1919-1939.” Journal of Modern Craft, forthcoming.

“A Renovated Renaissance: Richard Riemerschmid’s Modern Interiors for the Thieme House in Munich.” Interiors 5:1 (2014): 5-36.


“Otherworldly Worldliness: Romantic Fantasy and Biedermeier Desire in Schinkel’s Berlin.” Centropa 10:2 (May 2010): 80-105.

“A Ghost in the Machine Age: The Westerwald Stoneware Industry and German Design Reform.” The Journal of Modern Craft 2:3 (November 2009): 251-277.

“The Velvet Touch: Fashion, Furniture, and the Fabric of the Interior.” Fashion Theory 13:1 (March 2009): 51-82.

Anthologized in Interior Design and Architecture: Critical and Primary Sources, vol. 2, edited by Mark Taylor, 138-157. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013.

Selected Courses

501 Survey of the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture II

923 Against Nature: Domesticating Modernism in Nineteenth-Century Europe

926 Bauhaus, Before, and Beyond: German Design from Gründerzeit to Ulm School

931 News from Nowhere: Design and Utopia

938 “Ornament and Crime”: Decoration and Its Discourses from Late Antiquity to Today

942 Tales of Seduction: Architecture and Design in Fiction

953 Seize the Stem! Art Nouveau in Europe