The Bard Graduate Center offers courses that lead to the MA and PhD in the history of the decorative arts, design history, and material culture studies.
The courses are designed to acquaint the student with a critical interdisciplinary perspective. We train students to think about how objects and the material world can be understood in a variety of contexts and how knowledge about them can enrich our own. Courses range from the arts of the ancient world to the arts of the 20th century. Faculty call on methodologies from art history, history, archaeology, and anthropology. Our fields of special strength include: New York and American Material Culture, Modern Design History, Early Modern Europe, History and Theory of Museums, Comparative Medieval Material Culture (China, Islam, Japan) Archaeology, Anthropology, and Material Culture.
In addition to our regular course offerings, we have established a series of Focus Gallery exhibitions, collaborations between faculty and students, to bring ideas born in the classroom to life in our own exhibition space. Our Focus Gallery exhibitions include: Confluences: An American Expedition to Northern Burma, 1935; The Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot: Fractals, Chaos, and the Materiality of Thinking; Objects of Exchange: Social and Material Transformation on the Late Nineteenth-Century Northwest Coast; American Christmas Cards, 1900-1960; and Staging Fashion 1880-1920: Jane Hading, Lily Elsie, and Billie Burke.