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Girard: Culture x Design symposium
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Girard: Culture x Design symposium

October 18, 2019 through October 19, 2019

Girard: Culture x Design is a 2-day symposium about Alexander Girard, a luminary of modern design whose close engagement with traditional arts, whimsical toys, and everyday objects from around the world was a rich visual resource. Symposium speakers and moderated discussions will examine Girard through various lenses in order to create a more complex and textured understanding of his place in the history of American design as well as his approach to the collecting and exhibiting of global material culture.

The Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA) is home to one of few remaining examples of Girard’s designed environments, the exhibition Multiple Visions: A Common Bond, which Girard created and installed in 1982 from his 106,000-object folk art collection. Here, modern design and folk art converge. By inviting contributors to explore Girard through multiple disciplines—design, art history, folklore, anthropology, and museology—this symposium offers previously unexplored perspectives on Girard and insists on a more complex interpretation of his role in both worlds.

In conjunction with the exhibition Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe, organized by Vitra Design Museum, on view at MOIFA through October 27

Symposium Participants:

Amy Auscherman  (Herman Miller)

Charlene Cerny  (Museum of International Folk Art)

Jochen Eisenbrand, PhD  (Vitra Design Museum)

Shawn Evans, AIA (Atkin Olshin Schade Architects)

Ira Jacknis, PhD  (Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley)

Felicia Katz-Harris (Museum of International Folk Art)

Matthew J. Martinez, PhD  (Museum of Indian Arts and Culture)

Monica Obniski, PhD  (Milwaukee Art Museum)

Todd Oldham (Todd Oldham Studio)

Kymberly N. Pinder, PhD (MassArts)

Rachel Preston Prinz  (Archinia + Architecture for EveryBody)

Khristaan Villela, PhD  (Museum of International Folk Art)

Katherine White  (The Henry Ford)

Symposium costs are:

$225 for non-members / $200 for MNMF members

$150 for students with valid ID, and Museum of International Folk Art docents and volunteers (with special code)

Price includes 2-day symposium, continental breakfast and lunch both days, Saturday Closing Party

$100 for Saturday Closing Party only

A limited number of student scholarships are available. Contact Leslie Fagre for more information:

All other questions:

Register online, by October 7, 2019:

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