DAS news/Special events

Events & Exhibitions

Early Codices: Production, Destruction and Modern Conservation Symposium
Bard Graduate Center
New York, NY
February 23, 2018

This symposium, organized in conjunction with the exhibition The Codex and Crafts in Late Antiquity, aims to give an overview of the scholarship around the innovation of the codex in late antiquity and its gradual establishment as the standard form of the book until today. Speakers will focus on two distinct but complementary aspects: the historical, which derives primarily from the study of codices as texts, and the material, which derives from the study of codices as physical objects.

The purpose of both the exhibition and the symposium is to merge disciplines, points of view and approaches to gain a better understanding of the early history and evolution of the book.

Throughout history, the number of books produced must have been huge, but the number of books lost is also substantial. Subtracting those destroyed from those created leaves the number of books preserved today. This scarcity of physical evidence is partly what makes the surviving codices from the early centuries important, not just for their texts but also for their technical and material culture aspects. Conserving these relics poses both physical and theoretical problems.

Presenters and sessions include:

• Welcome, Peter N. Miller, dean and professor, Bard Graduate Center; Ivan Gaskell, professor, curator and head, Focus Gallery Project, Bard Graduate Center; Georgios Boudalis, head of the Book and Paper Conservation Laboratory, Museum of Byzantine Culture (Thessaloniki, Greece).

• Introduction,  Brent Nongbri, independent scholar, “The Emergence of the Codex in the Roman Empire”

Dirk Rohmann, lecturer, University of Wuppertal, “Canon Formation: Book-Burning and the Christian Codex in Late Antiquity”

Francisco H. Trujillo, associate book conservator, Morgan Library and Museum, “Incipient Forms: Codicology of the Coptic Bindings Collection at the Morgan Library & Museum”

• Georgios Boudalis, “Codex as Craft: Can a Book be Compared to a Sock?”

The symposium is free. To register, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/symposiumearly-codices-production-destruction-and-modern-conservation-tickets-40951841059.

Bali and Beyond: Culture, Power and Indonesian Textiles Symposium
Bard Graduate Center
New York, NY
February 26, 2018

Organized in conjunction with the exhibition Fabricating Power with Balinese Textiles, this symposium expands upon themes of religion, power and cultural resilience to include textiles from various parts of the Indonesian archipelago. Speakers will offer reflections on the agency of Indonesian textiles, from their spiritual or ritual uses in their culture of origin to their re-contextualization in Western ethnographic and art museums.

Sessions and speakers include:

• Welcome: Peter N. Miller, dean and professor, Bard Graduate Center; Ivan Gaskell, professor, curator and head, Focus Project, Bard Graduate Center

• Introduction: Urmila Mohan, Bard Graduate Center/American Museum of Natural History Postdoctoral Fellow in Museum Anthropology

Adrian Vickers, professor of Southeast Asian Studies, University of Sydney, “Balinese-Western Interactions in a Colonial Context: The 1930s Context of the Mead-Bateson Collection”

Meghan Bill, curatorial assistant, Arts of Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, and the Islamic World, Brooklyn Museum, “A History of Indonesian Textiles at the Brooklyn Museum”

Ruth Barnes, Thomas Jaffe Curator of Indo-Pacific Art, Yale University Art Gallery, “‘Without cloth we cannot marry’: The Making and Meaning of Textiles in Eastern Indonesia”

Susan Rodgers, professor emerita, anthropology, College of the Holy Cross, “Headhunting Cloths? Power and Interpretation in Iban and Dayak Textiles on the Move”

• Urmila Mohan, “Reflections on Curating Balinese Textiles”

• Panel Discussion and Q&A, moderated by Ivan Gaskell

The symposium is free. To register, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/symposiumbali-and-beyond-culture-power-and-indonesian-textiles-tickets-38669008044.

Mosaic Arts International 2018 Invitational — Sophie Drouin
Society of Arts + Crafts
Boston, MA
Through March 8, 2018

The Arts + Crafts and American Mosaic Artists societies present Mosaic Arts International 2018 Invitational — Sophie DruoinDruoin’s mosaic collection is on view before the American Mosaic Artists Society’s 2018 conference.

Druoin is a second-generation, classically trained mosaic artist who lives in Canada and has studied, practiced and exhibited in Italy, France and beyond. In addition to her career as a mosaic artist and teacher, she is also a violinist in the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony.

The Silver Caesars: A Renaissance Mystery
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, NY
Through March 11, 2018

The Aldobrandini Tazze, a set of 12 silver-gilt standing cups surmounted by a figure of one of the Caesars, is a rare example of 16th-century metalwork, yet the circumstances of their creation are cloaked in mystery. Who made this work? When? Where? Why? For whom? This exhibition presents the most-recent scholarship into all aspects of the creation and later history of this masterpiece.

The complete set has not been seen together since the mid-19th century, when it was disassembled and dispersed, and its parts misidentified and mismatched. The exhibition presents the elements of all 12 tazze in their original configuration.

Beyond the Surface: Worldwide Embroidery Traditions
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/Legion of Honor

San Francisco, CA
Through March 25, 2018

Beyond the Surface: Worldwide Embroidery Traditions explores the social and cultural connotations of embroidered costumes and accessories from around the world.

Embroidery — stitching patterns in cloth with a needle and thread — has embellished costumes and textiles for centuries. While embroidery stitches may be purely decorative, they also may aid in construction of a textile or garment, such as to outline a pattern or design or reinforce a fabric or edge. Embroidered designs and their stitches, threads, patterns and colors also often reflect the unique identity of a maker or wearer as well as the culture’s shared — and sometimes shifting — mores and traditions.

 Embroidery stitches derive from three basic types:
• flat — running and satin stitches; individual stitches that lie on top of a fabric’s surface and are made without crossing or looping the thread
• knotted — thread knotted upon itself; used to create raised patterns and textures
• linked and looped — such as chain; formed by securing a stitch with the following one and are used to create bands of embroidery

This exhibition is a complement to the special exhibition The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll, and emphasizes that global textiles and embroidery traditions influenced the creative output of the 1960s counterculture.


Fans of the Eighteenth Century
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/de Young

San Francisco, CA
March 31, 2018



Fans have served as accessories of fashion and utility since antiquity, but reached their peak production and use in 18th-century Europe. Made from and embellished by precious materials such as ivory, mother-of-pearl, and silver and gold leaf, 18th-century fans also featured designs that reflected the spirit of their times. Fans addressed current events as well as themes of broad interest, including biblical and mythological tales and romanticized domestic and pastoral vignettes. Fans of the Eighteenth Century explores this period of fan production through examples from the permanent collection.

Call for Papers
Fashion and Conflict in Early America
An Historic Deerfield Symposium
Deadline: April 1, 2018
Historic Deerfield has issued a call for papers for a 2018 symposium on Fashion and Conflict in Early America, September 28–30, that will explore the impact of conflict on clothing and textiles in defining the culture of British and French North America in the 18th century. Priority will be given to topics that engage in new and exciting ways with meanings of conflict related to fashion in colonial and Federal America.

Clashes between European rivals, struggles by Native peoples to retain their homelands and autonomy, and the determination of colonial settlers to control their environment all shaped the physical landscape and ideological contours of the North American continent in the 17th and 18th centuries. Throughout this era of conflict, accommodation and adaptation, European newcomers and their descendants turned to the material culture and fashions of the Old World to affirm their cultural identities, even as they forged new patterns of consumption and trade.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Military influences on dress and accessories of European colonists — clothing (both civilian and military); the impact of war and scarcity on the availability of imported textiles and/or fashion news

Intercultural conflicts
— Native American intersections with and diversions from European clothing traditions
— Perceptions about, and/or inclusion of, the dress of different cultures by British and French North Americans

Personal/moral/legislative conflict
— Financial struggle and the pursuit of a fashionable appearance
— Reticence to adopt new clothing styles
— Age, gender and notions regarding appropriateness of certain styles, colors or other elements of dress
— Religious/political censure of fashion and textiles, including sumptuary laws
— Imported vs. locally woven textiles and the pursuit of luxury

Conflicted adoption of European fashions in the New World
— Disruption of traditional Anglo-French American patterns of trade or accepted transference of styles and preferences.
— Adoption or rejection of new fashions or tastes, including non-western sources

Conservation and display conflicts in the 21st century
— Choices made regarding treatment of textiles and dress, or their display and interpretation, in museums and galleries
Contextualizing the interpretation of the dress of enslaved people within Anglo-American fashion narratives.

Presentations should be 25 minutes in length.

To be considered, send a 250-word abstract to Ned Lazaro, Curator of Textiles, at lazaro@historic-deerfield.org. Deadline to submit abstracts: April 1, 2018. Notifications will be sent out by late April. Speakers whose papers are accepted will receive free registration to the symposium. 


Note: When the Decorative Arts Society receives notice of programs, exhibitions or events that occur between issues of the DAS Newsletter, we list them here as a service to those with an interest in the decorative arts. Upcoming events are listed by closing date.


Recent DAS events

See our current newsletter (fall 2017) for coverage of recent DAS tours.

DAS spends "A Weekend in Rochester and Corning, NY" with
artist studio tours, gallery exhibitions and tours, and more.

The Decorative Arts Society held a fascinating weekend in Rochester and Corning, NY, in November 2017 that included guided tours of the studio and archive of Albert Paley, among the most innovative metalsmiths working today; the Memorial Art Gallery's Wendell Castle Remastered, the first museum exhibition to examine the digitally crafted works of Wendell Castle, acclaimed figure of the American studio and art furniture movements – especially poignant given Castle's recent death; the Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) Tiffany’s Glass Mosaics exhibition with co-curators Kelly Conway, curator of American glass at CMoG, and Lindsy Parrott, director and curator of the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass and a former DAS officer; CMoG's European Gallery with Kit Maxwell, curator of European glass at CMoG; CMoG's Modern and Contemporary galleries with Alexandra Ruggiero, assistant curator at Corning; the Juliette and Leonard S. Rakow Research Library with library staff; and Rochester's George Eastman Museum with Kathy Connor, Eastman legacy curator,

Participants also had free time to explore other MG and Corning collections, displays and shops, and enjoyed meals together in both Rochester and Corning.

The spring 2018 DAS newsletter will provide tour highlights and images.

February 2016 DAS tour features Georgia museum exhibition, Green Symposium and private collections

The DAS brightened the dreary days of February by offering contributors a private, curator-led tour of the decorative arts collections of the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA) organized just for the DAS, followed by participation in the Henry D. Green Symposium on southern decorative arts (Athens, GA) and tours of private collections.
The group gathered at the High Museum and traveled by motor coach to Athens, GA, to attend the two-day symposium and enjoy private collection visits arranged especially for the DAS.
The trip concluded with a visit to the home of renowned collector William N. Banks in Newnan, GA.
Details of this exciting event are featured in the spring 2016 issue of the DAS newsletter. The newsletter is a benefit of contributing to the DAS.

DAS tours Chicago symposium, exhibition and private collections

The DAS enjoyed a fascinating weekend in Chicago in March 2015, with tours and collections visits to the Art Institute of Chicago and private collections.

Activities included a tour of Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840, led by Christopher Monkhouse, the institute's Eloise W. Martin Chair and curator of European Decorative Arts. This loan exhibition highlights 300 objects that explore the culture of Ireland during the 18th century.

We also heard Stella Tillyard, author of The Aristocrats, deliver the keynote address for the related symposium Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840, and attended other lectures in the symposium. Topics and speakers included "Buying and Selling: The Transfer of Art in and out of Ireland," Robert O’Byrne, independent scholar, author of Romantic Irish Homes (2009) and The Last Knight, A Tribute to Desmond Fitzgerald, 29th Knight of Glin (2013); "Irish Furniture," James Peill, co-author (with the Knight of Glin) of Irish Furniture (2007) and curator of the Goodwood Estate; "Patina, Pomp and Prestige: Silver in Ireland, 1690–1840," Alison FitzGerald, lecturer, National University of Ireland, Maynooth; "Burned with Turf: The Unique Charm of Irish Ceramics and the Myths of Irish Glass," Peter Francis, independent scholar and author of Irish Delftware (2000); and closing remarks by Julian Sands, actor and Irish silver collector.

Among the private tours was one of the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, commissioned in 1879 by the Chicago banker Samuel Nickerson and recently restored by the philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus, with a greeting from Lise Dubé-Scherr, executive director. This is one of the most sumptuous Gilded Age mansions in America. After the tour, we had the opportunity to view the exhibition Maker & Muse: Women and Early Twentieth Century Art Jewelry.

We also viewed an exquisite private collection of decorative arts and conversed with the owners, and saw a distinguished private collection of Americana in downtown Chicago.

Further details are in the fall 2015 issue of the DAS Newsletter.

Past DAS events

For a listing of past DAS events, click on the date links at the right of the Events section. (The listings will be updated shortly.)