Monet was going blind and had to wear special cataract glasses. Renoir became so arthritic, he used a wheelchair and had paintbrushes strapped to his wrists. The history of French impressionist art is filled with legends about its most famous practitioners, their bodily impairments, and the ways these were believed to have shaped their art. This lecture uses the French impressionists and their art to introduce the notion of crip objects. In so doing, it suggests that material objects related to disability are useful in helping us understand a range of issues related to human embodiment and the sensorium, all the while raising more complex questions about artistic creativity.

Elizabeth Guffey’s scholarly work meets at the convergence of design history and disability studies. Having authored an extensive body of work, Guffey has been published in Art in America, the New York Times, and the Journal of Visual Culture. Additionally, she is the founding editor of the peer-reviewed journal Design and Culture. As a leading academic in her field, Guffey has most recently co-edited After Universal Design: The Disability Design Revolution (2023). Previously, she co-edited Making Disability Modern (2020) and authored Designing Disability: Symbols, Spaces, and Society (2017). In Designing Disability, Guffey explored how design symbols can alter the environment and make a person more or less disabled, depending on the use of the design. At the State University of New York, Purchase College, Guffey teaches art and design history and heads the MA program in modern and contemporary art, criticism, and theory. Guffey’s dedication and substantial research have created greater visibility for design and disability studies.

26th Annual Iris Foundation Awards

In 1997 Susan Weber created the Iris Foundation Awards to recognize scholars, patrons, and professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the fields of decorative arts, design history, and material culture. Elizabeth Guffey will receive the Iris Award for Outstanding Mid-Career Scholar on April 26. Proceeds benefit the Bard Graduate Center Scholarship Fund. To find out more about the Iris Foundation Awards, visit us online or call 212.501.3071