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Rebuilding the City of Ceramic: A New Project for the Sèvres Museum
March 1 at 6 pm
Zoom / 38 West 86th Street, Lecture Hall

This lecture by Charlotte Vignon will unveil current plans for a major renovation of the Sèvres Museum, which will both transform its displays and highlight its historical and physical links to the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory. At its beginning, the museum was considered  a technical resource, a conservatory of materials and techniques intended to inspire craftsmen and artists working at the prestigious French manufactory by providing them with varied examples of ceramic from many periods and places. Now a true national treasure, Sèvres seeks to contribute to the world of tomorrow by balancing today’s quest for instantaneity and start-ups with a new art of living that affirms the values of artistic creativity, scientific experimentation, and cultural diversity.

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“It is, Indeed, a Sister’s Form”: Black Feminist Pictorial/Poetic Imperatives in an Abolitionist Friendship Album
March 2 at 12:15 pm

Around 1837, Sarah Mapps Douglass, a prominent member of Philadelphia’s free Black elite, painted a lovely watercolor of a floral bouquet in the friendship album of Elizabeth Smith, a white abolitionist teenager with whom she taught Sunday school. The paintings and drawings made by Black women in nineteenth-century friendship albums represent the earliest signed artworks by African American women, and Elizabeth Smith’s album offers two of the most compelling examples: this work by Douglass and a stunning “remix” of abolitionist emblem and verse by Sarah Forten. Mia L. Bagneris examines how both artists created sophisticated pictorial-poetic texts that wed word and image to extraordinary effect, radically transforming popular discourses of genteel femininity and hackneyed antislavery tropes.

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

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