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MacArthur x BGC: What is Research?
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
6–8 pm
Bard Graduate Center Lecture Hall, 38 West 86 Street

With photographer and filmmaker An-My Lê, geochemist Terry Plank, and historian Marina Rustow.

Research may well be the key word in our contemporary knowledge culture, with global investment in research across all industries exceeding an estimated $1 trillion, and its importance acknowledged by governments, industry, and academia around the world. Yet, the idea of research, the practice of research, and the social life of research is not a subject of reflection. Of the 164 million items in the catalogue of the Library of Congress, only 43 fall into the category “Research—History.” To begin the task of understanding research, Bard Graduate Center has gathered a group of artists, scientists, and humanists—all MacArthur “Genius” Award winners—for three evenings of discussion moderated by Dean Peter Miller, himself, a MacArthur Fellow. These conversations launch a project on research that will culminate in an exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery in fall 2023.


Supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation


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Meet the MacArthur Fellows
An-My Lê was born in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1960. Lê fled Vietnam with her family as a teenager in 1975, the final year of the war, eventually settling in the United States as a political refugee. Her photographs and films examine the impact, consequences, and representation of war. Whether in color or black-and-white, her pictures frame a tension between the natural landscape and its violent transformation into battlefields.

Terry Plank is a geochemist working literally at the edge of phenomena shaping the Earth’s crust. Her research focuses on what happens when tectonic plates collide, forcing one under the other at a subduction zone. Because these collisions generate tremendous heat, they are frequently associated with volcanoes, which Plank uses as a window to the chemical and physical forces deep below the surface.

Marina Rustow is a historian using the Cairo Geniza texts to shed new light on Jewish life and on the broader society of the medieval Middle East. The Cairo Geniza (or Genizah) comprises hundreds of thousands of legal documents, letters, and literary materials—many of them fragmentary—deposited in Cairo’s Ben Ezra Synagogue over more than a millennium. Rustow’s approach to this archive goes beyond decoding documents, in itself a formidable task, to questioning the relationship between subjects and medieval states and asking what that relationship tells us about power and the negotiation of religious boundaries.


Upcoming Events

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Free Tours: Wednesdays in November
November 20, 2019
2–3 pm
Bard Graduate Center Gallery, 18 West 86th Street

Continuing November 13, join us every Wednesday throughout the month of November for free guided tours of French Fashion, Women, and the First World War. Enjoy complimentary admission and engage in lively conversation with knowledgeable gallery educators in our intimate townhouse setting. Registration is required.

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BGC Kids: Story Hour!
November 21, 2019
3:30–4:30 pm
Bard Graduate Center Gallery, 18 West 86th Street

Join us for a fun and engaging story hour featuring children’s books with empowering themes on fashion and identity. After an interactive read-along, participants will make hats inspired by those on display in our current exhibition, French Fashion, Women and the First World War. This story hour is suitable for kids under six, their families, and caretakers. Complimentary coffee and tea as well as ample stroller parking will be available.

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Fashion, Anxiety and Society: Subversion
December 12, 2019
Lecture Hall, 38 West 86th Street
Adults $8; Seniors/Students $5; Free for Members

Fashion, Anxiety and Society: Subversion is the last in the conversation series curated by Kristen Owens. The speakers in this conversation are Lucia CubaFawn Krieger, and Otto von Busch.

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On View in the Gallery
French Fashion, Women and the First World War
September 5, 2019 – January 5, 2020 Learn More Button
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