Welcome to Learning from Things

Salvaging the past.....

posted on 01 Apr 2013 18:13 by Elena Pinto Simon



Last week students, curators, conservators and BGC gallery staff spent a great evening together as we participated in an installation workshop for the Hoentschel exhibition that opens on April 3rd.

Organized and led by Nina Stritzler-Levine, Director of the Gallery, the two hour session walked students through the whole exhibition process – from first conception to the work that happened in the classroom, and in the basement of the MMA for over three semesters, to design issues, and finally to opening some of the boxes and watching as the art handlers put them into place. Conservators from the MMA talked about conservation problems and challenges that some of the furniture entailed, and how those decisions were made, in each case. While the curators of the exhibition – Professors Deborah Krohn and Ulrich Leben, along with their colleague and co-curator from the MMA Danielle Lisluk-Grosheide, each addressed the many aspects of this complicated exhibition along with some of the curatorial questions that arose during the several years of planning and work on Hoentschel.


Even in its unfinished state, the gallery rooms already look stunning.
Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art opens April 4th to the public, and runs through to August 11th.


For more information about this exhibition go to:


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Accepted Students Day....

posted on 01 Apr 2013 17:38 by Elena Pinto Simon


March 20th is the most important day on the recruitment calendar: it is BGC’s Accepted Student Day, and the first chance to bring together a large portion of the students who will make up the entering class of 2013.


The day is a very full one….introductions by Dean Peter N. Miller, faculty roundtable, where BGC faculty discuss their own journey to studying and thinking about material culture, a lunch with faculty and staff, classes to sit-in on, time in the Digital Media Lab, and an end-of-day tea in the Penthouse with many of our current students and faculty.


A great day – and one for potential students to really experience a “day in the life” at the BGC.

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digital outreach...

posted on 12 Mar 2013 20:56 by Elena Pinto Simon


Under the umbrella of Digitial Solutions for Research and Teaching in the Humanities, the BGC has
sponsored quite a few digital events and outreach activities. The DML (Digital Media Lab at the BGC)
has been at the forefront of engaging with scholars whose own work has been transformed and is
transforming, their own institutions.

Kimon Keramidas, our Asst. Director for the DML has written about recent DML activity on his blog.
Here’s a link to see what just this semester has brought to the BGC community.


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New York/Berlin.....

posted on 18 Feb 2013 13:17 by Elena Pinto Simon


In late January, Dean Peter Miller launched an exciting new initiative for the BGC: our first attempt to connect our institute on West 86th Street with a partner institution abroad. This happened via our first telepresence seminar with The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

At this two-hour session Doris Oltrogge spoke at the Planck Institute’s colloquium “Art and Knowledge in Pre-Modern Europe”, an ongoing series for them. Her topic was “Manuscripts and Prints: Exchange, Use and Reading of Recipe Texts in Early Modern Times” Dr. Oltroppe is a Research Associate in the Cologne Institute of Conservation Sciences at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

The BGC audience was a full participant in the seminar. Those present in our seminar room had a chance to ask the speaker in Berlin questions via our video link. At the BGC, the seminar came with morning coffee; in Berlin, it was afternoon tea. In both places, it was a complete success.

We hope will be the first of many such explorations, and this first connection opens up many possibilities for the future – a Global BGC may be just around the corner…

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London calling...

posted on 14 Feb 2013 13:32 by Elena Pinto Simon


A group of fashion students from the Courtauld Institute in London were our guests in late January, as part of their annual January trip to New York City. Organized by their faculty member, Rebecca Arnold, this is the second visit we’ve had from our sister institute in London.
The students had a tour of the Circus and the City exhibition, led by curator Matt Wittmann, and then spent an hour in our Digital Media Lab, with Kimon Keramidas, looking at some of our recent student projects, as they think about their own upcoming virtual exhibition assignments. They then joined our faculty and current MA students for tea and conversation in the sixth floor lounge. The afternoon was topped off by their joining us for our evening seminar series. We all enjoyed hosting our colleagues from London, and a special thanks goes to Nina Stritzler Levine for suggesting what we hope will continue to be a regular dialogue.

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