Collar, Italy, 1690—1715, reworked 19th century. Linen, bobbin lace. Collection Leopold Iklé, Textilmuseum St. Gallen, Inv.-Nr.00524.

Curators on Curating goes behind the scenes of upcoming BGC exhibitions to give a window into the curatorial process. We invite you to think with us about exhibition making, material histories, and storytelling.

Threads of Power, an exhibition scheduled to go on view at Bard Graduate Center in fall 2022, will trace the development of lace from its sixteenth-century origins to the present, bringing more than 175 examples from the extensive collection of the Textilmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland, to the US for the first time. Join curators Emma Cormack and Michele Majer (BGC) and Ilona Kos (Textilmuseum) to learn how they are adapting and expanding the Textilmuseum’s 2019 exhibition Die Spitzen der Gesellschaft (Lace and High Society) for an American audience, and get a sneak preview of the objects that will be on display, including garments, accessories, portraits, and photographs that illustrate a wide variety of hand- and machine-made lace techniques and demonstrate lace as a signifier of power and wealth at the courts of Habsburg Spain and Bourbon France, as well as examples of cutting-edge lace in contemporary couture.

Meet the Speakers


Emma Cormack
is an associate curator at Bard Graduate Center. Her research specialties include the history of fashion and consumer culture in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century France with a particular interest in department stores and print advertising. She was the assistant curator of the recent BGC exhibition French Fashion, Women, and the First World War (2019) and the curatorial and editorial assistant for the BGC exhibition Eileen Gray (2020).

Ilona Kos
is curator for collections and exhibitions at the Textilmuseum St. Gallen. Since joining the curatorial staff of the Textilmuseum in 2018, she has curated numerous exhibitions on fiber arts including Circus Knie Fashion (2019), the 7th European Quilt Triennial (2020), and Material Matters (2020–21).

Michele Majer
is an assistant professor at Bard Graduate Center specializing in European and American fashion and textile history from the eighteenth through the twentieth century. In 2012, she curated a Focus Gallery exhibition at Bard Graduate Center and contributed to and edited the accompanying catalogue, Staging Fashion, 1880-1920: Jane Hading, Lily Elsie, Billie Burke. The exhibition and publication examined actresses as internationally known fashion leaders at the turn-of-the-twentieth century and highlighted the printed ephemera that were instrumental in the creation of public personas and reflected the rise of celebrity culture. Recent publications include a chapter on the costume-tailleur in the BGC exhibition catalogue, French Fashion, Women, and the First World War (2019), and a chapter on Giovanni Boldini and the French fashion periodical Les Modes in the exhibition catalogue, Boldini e la Moda (2019). She is also a research associate at Cora Ginsburg, LLC, a preeminent dealer of antique costume and textiles.

Other Presentations in the Series:

Curators on Curating: Conserving Active Matter
April 30, 2021
12 – 1:30 pm

Curators on Curating: “A Map is Not the Territory”: Unsettling the Curatorial Voice in Shaped by The Loom
May 13, 2021
12 – 1:30 pm