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Expert Biographies

7 / Domestic Life

John Beardsley

John Beardsley, Ph.D., is the director of Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. Beardsley has authored numerous books, including Gardens of Revelation: Environments by Visionary Artists and Earthworks and Beyond: Contemporary Art in the Landscape. He has also curated exhibitions for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Hirshhorn Museum, among other institutions. In addition to his role at Dumbarton Oaks, Beardsley is an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, where he teaches courses on landscape architectural history, theory, and writing. His many honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Fine Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Beardsley received his B.A. in Fine Arts from Harvard University and his M.A. and Ph.D in Fine Arts from the University of Virginia.

Bettina Bergmann

Bettina Bergmann, Ph.D., is Helene Phillips Herzig ‘49 Professor of Art at Mount Holyoke College. A specialist in Greek and Roman art, Bergmann’s research focuses on Roman houses, interiors, gardens, and landscapes. In addition to authoring articles and essays, she co-edited, with Christine Kondoleon, The Ancient Art of Spectacle. She has taught courses on art and cultural politics, myth, spectacle, the cities of Vesuvius, and the Hellenistic world, among other topics. To facilitate an understanding of the past, Bergmann is involved in creating three-dimensional models of ancient buildings. She earned her B.A. at UC Berkeley, her M.A. at the Archaeological Institute, Bochum, Germany, and her Ph.D. and M.Phil. at Columbia University.

Marla C. Berns

Marla C. Berns, Ph.D, is the director of the Fowler Museum at UCLA and is adjunct professor of art history. Berns was formerly director of the University Art Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the Goldstein, a museum of design at the University of Minnesota. Her research and writing have concentrated on women’s arts in Northeastern Nigeria—which include ceramics, decorated gourds and programs of body scarification—and on the historical and ritual importance of figurative ceramic vessels. Exhibitions she has curated feature topics on twentieth-century art and design, including solo projects on the artists Magdalene Odundo and Renee Stout. She is currently organizing a major exhibition on the arts of the Benue River Valley, Central Nigeria. Berns received her Ph.D. in art history from UCLA.

Sarah D. Coffin

Sarah D. Coffin is curator of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century decorative arts and head of product design and decorative arts at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Recently Coffin curated the “Rococo: The Continuing Curve 1730–2008” exhibition and co-authored the accompanying book of the same name. Coffin has also authored many other catalogues, articles, and books, including “Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table 1500–2005.” Coffin holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.A. from Columbia University.

Alexandra Griffith Winton

Alexandra Griffith Winton is a freelance writer and design historian based in New York City. Her research focuses on the history and theory of the domestic interior, with a special emphasis on the twentieth century. She has written comprehensive articles for publications such as Dwell, I.D., and the Journal of Design History, and has contributed thematic essays to the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, an online overview of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. Winton has received grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in Fine Arts and the Craft Research Fund and was recently selected as a CuratorLab fellow at Konstfack in Stockholm. She teaches courses on the history and theory of interior design, architecture, and light at Parsons, The New School in New York. Currently, Winton is writing a monograph on textile designer Dorothy Liebes, to be published by Princeton Architectural Press.

Soyoung Lee

Soyoung Lee is associate curator in the Asian Art Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lee is the museum’s first curator of Korean art. Most recently, Lee organized the exhibition, “The Art of the Korean Renaissance (1400–1600),” which highlighted forty-five works of Korean painting, ceramics, metalwork, and lacquer from the period. Lee has authored several books, essays, and articles, including The Art of the Korean Renaissance (1400–1600), and the essay, “Korean Buddhist Sculpture (5th–9th century).” Lee received her B.A. and M.A. from Columbia University and is currently working on her Ph.D.

Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold is an artist and professor emeritus of art at the University of California, San Diego. Ringgold began her career as a painter and is well-known for her painted story quilts. Her work is featured in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and she has held exhibitions in museums all over the world. Ringgold has written and illustrated fourteen children’s books, including the Caldecott award-winning Tar Beach. Ringgold’s many honors include a Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship, an NAACP Image Award, and two National Endowment for the Arts awards. Ringgold holds a B.A. and M.A. from the City College of New York.

Jeff L. Rosenheim

Jeff L. Rosenheim is curator in the Department of Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A leading authority on Walker Evans, Rosenheim helped to bring Evans’ complete archive to the Museum. He has published several works on the photographer and curated “Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard.” Among the many other exhibitions he has organized are “Diane Arbus Revelations,” “Lee Friedlander: A Ramble in Olmsted Parks,” “Looking In: Robert Frank’s Americans,” and “New Orleans after the Flood: Photographs by Robert Polidori.”

Thomas K. Seligman

Thomas K. Seligman is the director of the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. Among the many exhibitions Seligman has curated are “Timbuktu to Capetown,” a celebration of African art and culture, and “The Art of Being Tuareg: Sahara Nomads in a Modern World.” Seligman was the founding curator of the Department of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. He has done fieldwork among the Tuareg for over thirty years and has authored numerous articles and catalogues on African art. He has delivered lectures and podcasts to a variety of audiences as well.

Jeff Spurr

Jeff Spurr is an Islamic and Middle East specialist at the Documentation Center of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, Fine Arts Library, Harvard University. An authority on historical textiles, Spurr is on the advisory committees of several art institutions. He is also an active leader in efforts to restore libraries in Bosnia, and more recently, Iraq. Spurr is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where he pursued studies in art, archaeology, and anthropology.

Lynda S. Waggoner

Lynda S. Waggoner is the vice president of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the director of Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Fallingwater. Waggoner is also author of Fallingwater: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Romance with Nature and is featured in several documentary films, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and Saving Fallingwater. She has written numerous articles on the building and on museum issues and lectures frequently. Prior to joining the staff at Fallingwater, Waggoner was curator of the Museum without Walls, formerly an outreach program of the Baltimore Museum of Art, and curator of the Jay C. Leff Collection of non-Western art. Her honors include the American Institute of Architects, Pittsburgh Chapter, Gold Medal award and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s Wright Spirit Award.

Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr.

Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr., Ph.D., is curator of Northern Baroque painting at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and a professor of art history at the University of Maryland. Wheelock has lectured widely on Dutch and Flemish art and is the author of numerous books, including Perspective, Optics, and Delft Artists around 1650; Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century; and Vermeer and the Art of Painting. Among the many exhibitions he has curated for the National Gallery are “Aelbert Cuyp” (2001), “Jan Steen: Painter and Storyteller” (1996), “Johannes Vermeer” (1995), “Anthony van Dyck” (1990), and “Gods, Saints, & Heroes: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt” (1980). Wheelock has been honored with the College Art Association/National Institute for Conservation Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation, the Johannes Vermeer Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Dutch Art, the Bicentennial Medal from Williams College, and the Dutch-American Achievement Award. He has also been named Knight Officer in the Order of the Orange-Nassau by the Dutch government. Wheelock received his Ph.D. from Harvard University.