Catherine Whalen, Bard Graduate Center

• New inter-institutional course:

912. Curatorial Practice as Experiment: A Chipstone Foundation-Bard Graduate Center Collaboration

Instructor: Catherine Whalen, Assistant Professor, Bard Graduate Center
Consulting Instructor: Sarah Carter, Curator and Director of Research, Chipstone Foundation

Course description: The goal of this course is to engage students in creative curatorial practice, leading to innovative research-based, argument-driven interpretations of objects in physical and virtual space. The course constitutes a new collaboration between the Bard Graduate Center and the Chipstone Foundation, a dynamic Milwaukee-based institution devoted to promoting the study of American material culture and decorative arts through its collection, exhibitions, publications, teaching, and digital projects. Course outcomes include a student-curated exhibition at Bard Graduate Center, using objects drawn from the Chipstone Foundation Collection and our Study Collection. The course kicks off with a Chipstone Object Lab, which will expose participants to new and diverse means of interacting with, studying, and analyzing material things. Subsequent sessions include visits with scholars and maker(s) who are deeply invested in innovative museum practice, including the foundation’s curators.

• Material culture proselytizing:

This year I took part in material culture sessions at conferences in a range of disciplines and fields of study: American Studies, history, art history, craft history, and design history. My experiences varied considerably, with some settings more hospitable to material culture studies than others.The most receptive venues were the American Studies Association annual meeting and the College Art Association. In both instances I co-organized the sessions.

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