DAS news/Special events

Events & Exhibitions

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.


Behind Closed Doors
20th Anniversary Conference on the Arts
New York, NY, and environs
September 20–23, 2018

The IAC goes behind closed doors of the 1882 Mayer-Loeb Townhouse (dining room added in 1889), a six-story monument to the Aesthetic Movement that has been restored and refurbished by Michael and Marjorie Loeb, working with David Scott Parker Architects. Marjorie Loeb, and project architect David Parker will provide insights into the project, which included filling it with pieces from Minton, Christopher Dresser and Herter Brothers.

Participants include:

Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang Curator of American Decorative Arts, American Wing, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and recipient of a DAS award;

Medill Higgins Harvey, assistant curator of American Decorative Arts, American Wing, Metropolitan Museum of Art;

Marsha Morton, professor, Pratt Institute;

Emily M. Orr, assistant curator of modern and contemporary American design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and DAS program manager;

Jeff Richman, historian, Green-Wood Cemetery historian;

Julie L. Sloan, stained glass preservationist, consultant and authority;

Adrienne Spinozzi, assistant research curator, American Wing, Metropolitan Museum of Art;

Janis Staggs, director of curatorial and manager of publications, Neue Galerie New York

Beth Carver Wees, Ruth Bigelow Wriston Curator of American Decorative Arts, American Wing, Metropolitan Museum of Art;

Samuel G. White, FAIA, LEED AP, partner at PBDW Architects and Stanford White’s great-grandson, who is leading an effort to restore the former NYU library, donated to the institution by Jay Gould’s eldest daughter Helen and considered Stanford White’s most important building.

Fashion and Conflict in Early America: An Historic Deerfield Symposium
Historic Deerfield
Historic Deerfield, MA
September 28–30, 2018

This symposium explores the impact of conflict on clothing and textiles in defining the culture of British and French North America in the 18th century. Details were featured in the spring 2018 DAS Newsletter.

Topics may include military influences on dress and accessories of European colonists, intercultural conflicts, personal/moral/legislative conflict, European fashions in the New World, conservation and display conflicts.

Material Culture and the Holocaust
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
Washington, DC
October 4, 2018

This event features keynote speaker Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls, holocaust archeologist, and includes three panels concerning the varied methods, new research and developing technologies to interpret traumatically scarred objects.

Registration is free: https://www.ushmm.org/online/calendar/eventDetails.php?event=MCHMATCULTHOL1018. For more information, contact Jennifer Cashin: jcashin@ushmm.org or phone at 603-325-2686.


La Frontera: Encounters along the Border
Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)
New York, NY
Through September 23, 2018

This international exhibition of contemporary jewelry explores the U.S.–Mexico border as a landscape of human interaction through the work of 48 artists from the United States, Latin America and Europe. The 62 pieces on display incorporate a diversity of materials, from metal, fiber and wood to medical equipment, pieces of green card, and the caps of water bottles.

The first iteration of the exhibition traveled to four venues in Mexico and the U.S. in 2013–14. It has been updated for the current cultural moment.

Highlights include:

No-Man’s Land, a brooch by Judy McCaig, incorporates steel, silver, tombac, Perspex, paint, Herkimer diamond and taramita.

Julia Turner’s Three Days Walking (Mourning Brooch) is based on warning maps that show the dangers of crossing the border through the desert on foot. The brooch makes reference to Victorian mourning jewelry, which often contains a remnant of hair from the loved one who died.

• Made with canvas and polyester thread, Raquel Bessudo’s necklace La Bestia references the network of cargo trains that illegally carry immigrants seeking to cross into the U.S.

• Comprising hand jewels and a necklace, Aline Berdichevsky’s Lightvessels 2 pays homage to the women of the rural Mexican town of La Patrona, who wait for La Bestia every afternoon and throw water and food to the immigrants as the train passes through.

Cristina Celis’s Dactilar pendants reflect what people are willing to do to their own bodies for the sake of staying in the U.S. 

• With her brooch Reconstructed: Framed, Demitra Thomloudis attempts to make sense of the separation between countries through the lens of jewelry.

Kevin Hughes’s untitled necklace, made from detritus of jug handles, references the plastic jugs of water left by aid workers along the border as life-saving oases.

Kristin Beeler’s necklace Descanso 2, highway 86, is made of iron wire and nylon cord, and signifies the humanity and honor of the migrants who have died.

Martha Vargas’s silver necklace Sueño y Realidad makes a connection between immigrants and the monarch butterfly migration that begins in March.

Pioneering Women in Craft
Craft in America Center
Los Angeles, CA
Varying dates

The Craft in America Center is celebrating the contributions of pioneering women in craft with a line-up of exhibitions for 2018, presenting work by female artists who redefined materials, techniques and conceptual expression.

Women have always played an integral role in the development of studio crafts. Although female artists have been at the forefront of the craft dialogue as makers and theoreticians, and instrumental in the establishment of craft organizations and institutions, their contributions have frequently been overshadowed by those of their male counterparts.

Kiff Slemmons: More than One to Make One
Craft in America
Los Angeles, VA
Through October 6, 2018

Kiff Slemmons draws on historical, cultural and literary references while redefining decorative and historic traditions to combine handcrafted components with manipulated found objects. The exhibition features her paper jewelry executed during her residencies at Taller Arte Papel (Oaxaca, Mexico).

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 provided tour highlights and images. The DAS newsletter is a benefit of contributing to the DAS.

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 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.)