Majolica’s reputation for ornament, historicism, and lighthearted eclecticism is well understood, and its astonishing breadth of styles and subjects and the explosion of workshops that manufactured the popular ceramic ware are thoroughly chronicled in BGC’s exhibition and accompanying catalogue, Majolica Mania. Curator Susan Weber observed that majolica, more than any other ware of the era, makes visible and tangible the interests, desires, and anxieties of nineteenth-century consumers on both sides of the Atlantic. However, the ways in which majolica incorporated ideas of race into its enduring subjects has remained little discussed. With this in mind, the panelists will consider issues of race and representation that were embedded in the majolica fantasmagoria of the nineteenth century.

Meet the Speakers:

Adrienne L. Childs is an art historian and curator. She is an adjunct curator at the Phillips Collection and associate of the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. She curated the exhibition Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition, 2020, at the Phillips Collection. Her current book project is Ornamental Blackness: The Black Figure in European Decorative Arts. She has recently held fellowships the Lunder Institute at the Colby College Museum of Art, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, and the Clark Art Institute. She is co-curator of the recent exhibition The Black Figure in the European Imaginary at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College. Her scholarly interests are the relationship between race and representation in European and American fine and decorative arts.

Sequoia Miller is a historian, curator, and studio potter. He is the chief curator and deputy director of the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto. Miller holds a PhD in the history of art from Yale University; an MA in decorative arts, design history, and material culture from Bard Graduate Center; and a BA in Russian and art history from Brandeis University. Recent curatorial projects include RAW and Ai Weiwei: Unbroken at the Gardiner and The Ceramic Presence in Modern Art at the Yale University Art Gallery. Miller has authored and edited numerous publications and has taught at the University of Toronto, Rhode Island School of Design, and Yale University. Prior to his academic and curatorial work, Miller was a full-time studio potter based in Olympia, Washington.

Iris Moon
is an assistant curator of European ceramics and glass at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her research on the history and theory of European decorative arts and architecture has been supported by the Met, the Clark Art Institute, and the Getty Research Institute. Alongside curatorial work at the Met, where she recently participated in the reinstallation of the British Galleries, she teaches at The Cooper Union. She is co-editor with Richard Taws of Time, Media, and Visuality in Post-Revolutionary France (2021) and is the author of Percier and Fontaine and the Struggle for Sovereignty in Revolutionary France (2016). A new book, Luxury after the Terror, is forthcoming from Penn State Press in 2022. She earned her BA at Williams College and her PhD at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.