Christian Larsen delivered the Alumni Spotlight Lecture on Wednesday, March 16 at 6 pm. His talk was entitled “Defining Modern and Contemporary at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.”

Christian Larsen is Associate Curator of Modern Decorative Arts and Design at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In his previous position as Curator at the Wolfsonian-Florida International University (2013–15), his exhibition and catalogue Philodendron: From Pan-Latin Exotic to American Modern (2015) received an Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation Exhibition Award. As a former curator in the Architecture & Design Department at the Museum of Modern Art (2000–08), he organized several exhibitions including Digitally Mastered (2006–07), 50 Years of Helvetica (2007–08), and Ateliers Jean Prouvé (2008–09). He received his BA from Amherst College (2000) and his MA (2010) and MPhil (2013) from Bard Graduate Center, where he is a doctoral candidate finishing his dissertation Aquarela do Brasil: Transnational Flows of Brazilian Design and Material Culture. His recent publications include two chapters in History of Design: Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400–2000 (Yale University Press).

At Bard Graduate Center, Larsen will reflect on the past and possible future directions of the twentieth- and twenty-first-century decorative arts and design collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Under the leadership of Director Tom Campbell and Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art Sheena Wagstaff, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is poised to redefine its narrative of modern and contemporary art and design through two key initiatives: the Met Breuer and a new wing under development with David Chipperfield Architects. These ambitious projects present a rare occasion to methodically rethink the scope and mission of the collection and the department’s programming. In this talk, Larsen will review the history of key objects, typologies, curators, and staff that built the collection to its present state as a means of testing terms and parameters for an evolving collection.