Faculty News

At the 80th annual meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics (ASA) in Portland, Oregon (November 16–19), Professor Ivan Gaskell presented “The Duchamp Fallacy: A Response to Miguel Dos Santos” and chaired the session “Defining Art.” The ASA board of trustees appointed Gaskell to be its delegate to the American Council of Learned Societies for 2023–26. In January 2023, Gaskell published “Aesthetics, Ontology, and a Museum Acquisition” in Aesthetic Literacy, Volume II: Out of Mind, ed. Valery Vinogradovs, (Mongrel Matter, 2023), pp. 153–167.

Associate professor Aaron Glass’s book, Writing the Hamat’sa: Ethnography, Colonialism, and the Cannibal Dance, has been selected for Honorable Mention in the 2023 Vinson Sutlive Book Prize competition by the Department of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary. The honor includes a cash prize, and the selection committee described the work as “a remarkable contribution to an ethnohistory of anthropology itself, making impeccable use of a dizzying array of resources, and crafting a compelling argument about representation, settler practice, and the transformation, and endurance of cultural form.” Glass’s essay, “Hosting Paikea: On Indigenous Ontologies of Carving and Kinship,” has just been published on the website Engaging Religion, a program at Indiana University that commissions reflexive essays on the practice and pedagogy of teaching religion in cross-cultural contexts.

Assistant professor Freyja Hartzell published Richard Riemerschmid’s Extraordinary Living Things (MIT Press) in November 2022. Elizabeth Otto, professor of modern and contemporary art history at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, praised the book: “In her lyrical examination of Richard Riemerschmid’s beautiful, lively, and prescient objects, Freyja Hartzell restores to history a titan of modern design.”

Assistant professor Meredith Linn presented a paper titled “Complicating the Rural to Urban Hypothesis Among Irish Immigrants in Nineteenth-Century New York City” at the annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, January 4–7, in Lisbon, Portugal. It was part of a session Linn co-organized with Felipe Gaitan and Jessica Striebel MacLean focused on “Historical Archaeology of Cities: Unearthing Complexity in Urban Landscapes.”

Linn recently published an article, “Neither Snake Oils nor Miracle Cures: Interpreting Nineteenth-Century Patent Medicines,” in Historical Archaeology 56(4):681–702. The article appears as part of a December 2022 special issue, “Constructing Bodies and Persons: Health and Medicine in Historic Social Contexts.” Linn previously shared this research as a work-in-progress talk at BGC.

April Calahan, host of the podcast Dressed: The History of Fashion, interviewed professor emerita Michele Majer and associate curator Emma Cormack (MA ’18) about Threads of Power, the fall exhibition they curated with Ilona Kos of the Textilmuseum St. Gallen. The interview appears in two parts, on the October 4 and October 6, 2022, episodes. Cormack, Kos, and Majer also participated in the Cotsen Textile Traces Global Roundtable: Lacing Around the World and Across Time, October 12–13. This program was hosted by the George Washington University Museum/The Textile Museum in partnership with BGC and the Textilmuseum St. Gallen.

Professor Caspar Meyer delivered a keynote lecture, “Containers within Containers: Vitrinized Museum Display as a Cultural Technique,” at the symposium Ancient Vases in Modern Showcases hosted by the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam, January 26–28.

Associate professor Drew Thompson curated Benjamin Wigfall and Communications Village in consultation with Sarah Eckhardt of the Virginia Museum of Fine Art (VMFA). This exhibition provides the first retrospective of printmaker and educator Benjamin Wigfall, from his early career in Virginia in the 1950s to his founding of Communications Village, a community art space in Kingston, New York, in the 1970s. Benjamin Wigfall was on view last fall at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY, New Paltz, where the artist was an admired professor from 1963–1991. Artforum described the exhibition as “A poignant tribute… the fullest possible view of the artist through an approach that felt fresh, reparative, and generously site specific.”

It will be on view at the VMFA in the artist’s hometown of Richmond, Virginia, June 17–September 10, 2023.

Student news

“The intersection of design and Surrealism often rests on a sense of the strangeness of the human body or a juxtaposition of images or objects that makes both seem unfamiliar,” said Caroline Elenowitz-Hess (PhD candidate, ’26), who was quoted on surrealist fashion for the in BBC Culture article “Surrealism: How Our Strangest Dreams Come to Life in Design.”

Josh Massey (MA ’23) wrote the main essay in the richly illustrated catalogue for This Is Not: Aldwyth in Retrospect. The essay was adapted from Massey’s senior thesis at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The career retrospective of the collage artist Aldwyth (b. 1935) opens at the Gregg Museum of Art and Design in Raleigh, NC, in February 2023. The exhibition will also travel to the Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, SC, in 2024.

PhD candidate Kate Sekules spoke in London at the British Museum’s Endangered Material Knowledge Programme’s (EMKP) Mending and Making Workshop, January 25–26. On February 17, she will speak on visible mending for Creative Mornings at Newlab in Brooklyn. Registration is required, and tickets are free for Creative Mornings members.

Sekules was also featured in @NYC Japanese TV news. The 10-minute segment on visible mending includes comments from Helen Polson, assistant professor of practice in writing, and Julie Fuller, digital humanities educational technologist. You may notice others from BGC in the footage, too! Watch the segment here with the password “mending.”

PhD candidate Leonie Treier published “Architectures of Appropriation: Salvage, Repatriation, and the Politics of Jean Prouvé’s Maisons Tropicales” in Museum Worlds.

Alumni and Board Member News

Brandy Culp (MA ’04), BGC alumna and board member, will begin a new position as chief of staff and curator at Steven W. Spandle Architect, LLC. Culp was interviewed in Antiques and the Arts Weekly on her move from the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, where she was the Richard Koopman Curator of American Decorative Arts, to Spandle’s New York-based boutique firm that designs in the classical tradition.

Ellen Enderle (MA ’22) wrote the conference report for BGC’s April 2022 symposium, Rethinking the Wearable in the Middle Ages. The recently published report is included in volume 30 of the journal Al-ʿUṣūr al-Wusṭā: The Journal of Middle East Medievalists.

Jorge Rivas Pérez (PhD ’18), Frederick and Jan Mayer Curator of Latin American Art at the Denver Art Museum, edited Appropriation and Invention: Three Centuries of Art in Spanish America (Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2023, dist. by University of Chicago Press). This bilingual catalogue draws from the museum’s renowned collection of Latin American art, spanning the 1520s to the 1820s, and highlights masterpiece paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. Arranged regionally, the book’s essays explore how artists found artistic freedom under colonial authority.

BGC board member Emma Scully (MA ’14) was featured in the New York Times article “‘See, Touch…Smell’: The Next Generation of Design Gallerists Invites You Inside.” Also mentioned are galleries Friedman Benda, where BGC alum Jennifer Olshin (MA ’98) is a partner, and R & Company, a 2023 Iris Award recipient.

Susie J. Silbert (MA ’12), curator of postwar and contemporary glass at the Corning Museum of Glass, was one of three panelists invited to speak on February 1 at the Hill Art Foundation. The discussion and book signing celebrated the foundation’s publication of the new exhibition catalogue, Lux and Lumen: Spencer Finch and Valentin Bousch at Hill Art Foundation. Lux and Lumen is on view through March 4, 2023.

William (Billy) DeGregorio (PhD ’21) co-authored a two-volume book on the renowned collection of English furniture and needlework acquired by Percival D. Griffiths that, following his sudden death in 1937, was widely dispersed. The forthcoming Yale University Press publication will be the first time most of the collection has been reassembled. BGC board member Martin Levy of London furniture dealers H. Blairman and Sons and DeGregorio spoke with the Magazine Antiques about their involvement with the ten-year project. English Furniture 1680–1760 and English Needlework 1600–1740: The Percival D. Griffiths Collection (Volumes I and II) will be available on March 28, 2023.