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MacArthur x BGC: What is Research?
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
6–8 pm
Bard Graduate Center Lecture Hall, 38 West 86 Street

Featuring artist Tom Joyce, physicist Hideo Mabuchi, and neuroscientist Sheila Nirenberg.

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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Upcoming Conversations in this Series
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 choreographer Elizabeth Streb.

Meet the MacArthur Fellows
Tom Joyce is a sculptor, MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and widely acknowledged as one of the foremost practitioners in the field for his contributions to the art and science of forging iron. Initially trained as a blacksmith in the rural farming community of El Rito, New Mexico, in his youth, Joyce’s works examine the physical, environmental, political, and historical implications of using iron as a primary medium.

Hideo Mabuchi is a physicist who uses optical methods to extend our understanding of quantum behavior. Mabuchi’s studies provide an experimental vehicle for exploring how thermodynamic processes mask quantum behavior, and how their interaction might be harnessed for important practical uses. Using optical trapping protocols, he investigates the effects of external perturbations on quantum behavior.

Sheila Nirenberg is a neuroscientist exploring fundamental questions about how the brain encodes visual information and developing an alternative approach to restoring sight after photoreceptor cell degeneration. In the visual sensory system in mammals, the photoreceptor cells in the retina take in information from the outside world, such as an image or visual pattern.


Upcoming Events

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Fashion and Justice Workshop
Saturday, November 9, 2019

9:00am – 5:30 pm
Bard Graduate Center Lecture Hall, 38 West 86 Street

Fashion forms part of a society’s rich tapestry and can stimulate awareness of how marginalized and racialized communities understand themselves and their place in the world. Fashion and Justice is a one-day workshop curated by Kim Jenkins and Jonathan Square that examines the role of fashion in contending with and challenging inequality through sartorial ingenuity. The workshop includes analysis of artistic work and projects, partial film screenings, review of related literature, conversations with guest speakers, and a look at how contemporary designers, artists, journalists, curators, photographers, and academics explore fashion’s role with a critical lens.

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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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