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decorative arts

Curator’s Corner

Furniture or Sculpture?

Monday, May 14, 2018 | Karl Cole

I took furniture history classes in grad school and even was a TA for the professor, so I learned to absolutely love studying the history of furniture. It seems to me, though, as our digital image col ...

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Curator’s Corner

Reused

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 | Karl Cole

I read a very disturbing article recently, which stated that a large percentage of the clothes we could donate for reuse ends up in landfills. This is disturbing because a lot of the materials do not ...

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Curator’s Corner

What's New Is Old

Thursday, June 29, 2017 | Karl Cole

I am a really big fan of art made from stainless steel, particularly in the field of the miscellaneous arts. Stainless steel tableware started being made early in the 1900s. At this time, Bauhaus ...

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Curator’s Corner

Not an Easter Egg

Monday, April 17, 2017 | Karl Cole

On our planet, the egg has been almost universally viewed as a symbol of rebirth and fertility since ancient times (imagine ancient eyes seeing something living come out of something hard and apparent ...

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Curator’s Corner

What's in a Snake? part 3

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 | Karl Cole

Today’s post in my Snakes in Art series shifts to modern design. I guess a chair is an example of a good serpent! There’s something both ironic and logical in the combination of a serpent ...

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Curator’s Corner

Mod

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 | Karl Cole

I vaguely (I’m lying) remember the word “mod” used during the late 1960s to describe anything that was slightly “edgy” (I hate that word) and “hip.” It encomp ...

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Curator’s Corner

It's the Little Things in Life

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 | Karl Cole

I despise the terms “decorative arts” and “minor arts” to categorize any art work that is not a painting, print, photograph, or sculpture. I prefer the word “miscellaneou ...

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Curator’s Corner

Rookwood, A National Treasure

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 | Karl Cole

I’m a really big fan of American art pottery, so you can just imagine me doing a little jig of joy in my office when we recently acquired this gorgeous pitcher from the Brooklyn Museum! If I cou ...

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Curator’s Corner

More Wearable Art

Friday, November 20, 2015 | Karl Cole

You may remember that I introduced you to the fiber art of Korean artist Jeung Hwa-Park, whose work is fabulous, back in 2009. Now I’ve discovered this wonderful Japanese artist who bowls me ove ...

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Curator’s Corner

Utilitarian Object or Sculpture?

Friday, November 13, 2015 | Karl Cole

First of all, let me clarify the use of “utilitarian” or “decorative arts.” These are unfortunately terms art historians are stuck with from the 1800s art history gods in Weste ...

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Curator’s Corner

Revival Curiosities

Friday, November 6, 2015 | Karl Cole

I once was a teaching assistant in a furniture history course in grad school, and have subsequently loved historic furniture and design. One of the mantras we chanted about the history of furniture wa ...

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Curator’s Corner

German American Heritage Month

Monday, October 5, 2015 | Karl Cole

The more things change, etc. I get really irritated with people who say in speeches that immigrants to the US should “speak American.” For one thing, “American” isn’t a l ...

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Curator’s Corner

Too Nice to Put on the Floor

Monday, June 29, 2015 | Karl Cole

Every so often I learn about a period in history in a certain place that seemed to have everything going for it—relative peace, flourishing economy and vibrant artistic culture, and a government ...

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Curator’s Corner

How Old Is This?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 | Karl Cole

Lately, I can’t seem to get away from seeing “abstraction” in all sorts of places. I came across this wonderful Japanese bowl from the mid-1700s to mid-1800s and was sort of wowed by ...

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Curator’s Corner

Some Thoughts About Stools

Monday, May 11, 2015 | Karl Cole

Does furniture have a soul? I sort of think it does. We sit on, lean on, and lie down on furniture for most of our lives. It’s hard to believe that something of our souls does not get infused in ...

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Curator’s Corner

Art History Survey, A New Slant, No. 8: The 1800s: A Different Take on Neoclassicism

Monday, January 5, 2015 | Karl Cole

Art is produced steadily on a second-by-second basis throughout the world. In our art history survey, we are now entering the 1800s, a period in world history when the influence of art from non-Wester ...

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