Susan Weber. Photo by Da Ping Luo.

Dear Friends,

Greetings from West 86th Street. In late May, just before commencement at Bard College, the BGC community had the great pleasure of attending our annual Qualifying Paper Symposium, where graduating MA students present their capstone research projects. The quality of their work is a source of pride for me and the entire faculty. The breadth of topics is always astonishing, and this year was no different. Our intrepid scholars investigated piña textiles from the Philippines, coffee culture in early modern Europe, Indigenous featherwork mantles in the seventeenth-century American Northeast, and the dining table in Black art and design.

I had the honor of presenting awards for excellence to five students. MAs Elliot Camarra and Bob Hewis shared the Clive Wainwright Award, and Allison Donoghue and Mabel Capability Taylor received the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts Award. PhD students Julia Lillie and Diana Xiaoyi Yang won the CINOA Award for Outstanding Dissertation and the Lee B. Anderson Memorial Foundation Prize, respectively. I offer thanks to the generous donors who help us recognize emerging scholars in this most meaningful way.

June is a busy month! First-year MA students have recently returned from two weeks in Paris and Greece, led by faculty members Jeffrey Collins, Mei Mei Rado (PhD ’18), and Caspar Meyer. Learn more about their trip in student Nishtha Dani’s reflection. Preparations are under way for the BGC Summer School, led by assistant professor Freyja Hartzell. This year’s course, Designing Utopia, explores the history of modern and contemporary design in North America and Europe, from the nineteenth century through today, as a series of utopian projects. And we are looking forward to welcoming Julia Siemon, BGC’s new director of exhibitions and chief curator, on July 1. Julia brings a wealth of experience at the Getty Museum, the Met, and Cooper Hewitt to the role.

Speaking of exhibitions, Sonia Delaunay: Living Art, currently on view in the BGC Gallery, has garnered impressive press coverage and wonderful reviews. I urge you to see it before it closes on July 7. Soon thereafter, we begin transforming the Gallery to mount Sèvres Extraordinaire! Sculpture from 1740 Until Today, which will provide a rare opportunity to see both seventeenth- to nineteenth-century works from the manufactory and present-day collaborations with contemporary artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Louise Bourgeois.

This issue of the newsletter also provides exciting updates from our faculty, students, and alumni, including the first publications by Mandylion Press, a nascent endeavor established by MA alumnae Madeline Porsella and Mabel Capability Taylor. You can read about director of Digital Humanities / Digital Exhibitions Jesse Merandy’s game design course and the fascinating work of two recent MA alums, both of whom are continuing in the PhD program, to my delight: Angela Crenshaw and Sydney Maresca.

Perhaps the stories of these newly minted alumni and their outstanding work will inspire you to make a gift to support student scholarships before the end of BGC’s fiscal year on June 30. We are ever grateful for your support.

Enjoy the summer!

Susan Weber
Founder and Director