Panel Discussion: Mid-Century Craft and Design

Please join us at the Museum of Arts and Design on Thursday, January 21st at 6:30pm for panel discussion with Professors Pat Kirkham, Sarah Lichtman and Catherine Whalen.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, trends in home furnishings in the United States reflected a complex national mood high hopes and deep anxiety. At once optimistic about economic and technological progress, Americans were also chastened by the pervasive anxiety of the Cold War and the prospect of military conflict with the Soviet Union. One way in which these impulses were manifested was in the trend for combining the sleek design of manufactured goods with more rustic handmade craft objects.

A panel discussion organized by Greenwich House Pottery with Pat Kirkham (Professor, Bard Graduate Center), Catherine Whalen (Assistant Professor, Bard Graduate Center) and Sarah Lichtman (Assistant Professor, Parsons - The New School for Design) hosted at the Museum of Arts and Design will investigate connections between studio craft and both elite and mass-market design during this period. This discussion is organized in association with “Studio Pottery and Mid-Century Style”, a period room installation at Greenwich House Pottery that conjures up a living space that incorporates both the craft and design of this era. This installation, which will be open on January 7 and run until February 4, is curated by Sarah Archer in collaboration with Rago Arts (New Jersey), ReGeneration Furniture (NYC) and Astro-Turf Antiques (Brooklyn, NY).


PAT KIRKHAM is a Professor at the Bard Graduate Center. She received her History from the University of Leeds and her Ph.D. from the University of London. Before joining the BGC faculty she taught at De Montfort University. She writes widely on design, gender and film and has received fellowships from the Royal College of Art, The Leverhulme Trust, The Wolfsonian/FIU, the Getty Research Institute, and the Yale Center for British Art. In addition, she was curator and research director of the Bard Graduate Center Millennium Exhibition, Women Designers in the USA, 1900–2000: Diversity and Difference , editing the eponymous award-winning book that accompanied it (Wittenborn Award and Kauffman Award), and coauthoring five chapters and co-editing a special issue of Studies in the Decorative Arts on the topic. In addition to numerous scholarly articles and reviews, her publications include Charles and Ray Eames: Designers of the Twentieth Century; The London Furniture Trade; Harry Peach Dryad and the Design and Industries Association; William and John Linnell: Eighteenth-Century London Furniture Makers (coauthor); Furnishing the World (coauthor); A View from the Interior: Women and Design (coeditor and contributing author); You Tarzan: Masculinity, Movies and Men (coeditor); Me Jane: Masculinity, Movies and Women (coeditor and contributing author); War Culture: Social Change and Changing Experiences in World War Two Britain (coeditor and contributing author); The Gendered Object (editor and contributing author). Her forthcoming books are Saul Bass, A Life in Design and Film: Elaine Bass, A Collaboration in Film and Life (2009) and Twentieth Century Interiors (2009). She has just completed editing a special issue of Studies in the Decorative Arts entitled Issues in the Interior Design History and is currently co-editing A History of the Decorative and Applied Arts and Design 1400- 2000 with Susan Weber. She is an editorial adviser for Studies in the Decorative Arts , Visual Culture in Britain , Art History , and Design and Culture.

SARAH LICHTMAN is an assistant professor of design history in the Art and Design Studies Department at Parsons the New School for Design. She is also a doctoral candidate at the Bard Graduate Center where she is completing her dissertation on American youth culture and the cold war. Her articles and reviews have appeared in the Journal of Design History, Studies in the Decorative Arts, and Design and Culture.

CATHERINE WHALEN is an Assistant Professor at the Bard Graduate Center. She received a B.S. from Cornell University, an M.A. from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture at the University of Delaware, and a Ph.D from Yale University. She has received a Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities, a Smithsonian Institution Predoctoral Fellowship, a Yale College Prize Teaching Fellowship, and the Henry S. McNeil Fellowship in American Decorative Arts. Her publications include “Finding Me,” Afterimage; “American Decorative Arts Studies at Yale and Winterthur: The Politics of Gender, Gentility, and Academia,” Studies in the Decorative Arts; “The Pickman Family Vues d’Optique,” Winterthur Portfolio; “Philadelphia Cabinetmaker Isaac Jones and the Vansyckel Bedchamber Suite,” Nineteenth Century; and “Nature Transformed: American Arts & Crafts and California Plein Air Paintings of the Early 1900s,” Revisiting Landscape, and other essays and reviews.

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