Boroughs in Business: Art and Commerce in New York City

The American Folk Art Museum, New York City.
May 11, 2019.

This half-day symposium will bring curators and scholars together to examine New York City as the center for commercial and artistic innovation through the works on view in Made in New York City: The Business of Folk Art. The afternoon session, “The Art of Business,” will expand on the history of commerce and consumer culture during this period, as reflected in works of art included in the exhibition. On occasion of the exhibition Made in New York City: The Business of Folk Art.

Afternoon Speakers:

Daniel Finamore is the Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM). Finamore has organized more than fifteen exhibitions of American and European painting and decorative arts at PEM. He holds a BA from Vassar College, where he studied anthropology and art history, and an MA and PhD from Boston University, where he studied archaeology. He has conducted extensive archaeological field research in Belize and elsewhere, and was awarded a prize from the Society of American Archaeology for an outstanding doctoral dissertation. Finamore has received grants from a diverse range of funders for his research and exhibition projects, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has written more than forty articles and chapters for academic and popular publications, and is the author and/or editor of five books, including Capturing Poseidon: Photographic Encounters with the Sea (PEM, 1999), Maritime History as World History (University Press of Florida, 2008), and Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea (Yale University Press, 2010). He curated the 2017 traveling exhibition Ocean Liners: Modernism and Glamour, co-organized with the Victoria and Albert Museum. Finamore is also a director of the Institute for Global Maritime Studies and an honorary member of the Salem Marine Society. He has served on the executive council of the International Congress of Maritime Museums and the US National Committee of the Census of Marine Life, and has been a director of the Council of American Maritime Museums. He was a 2011 fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership.

Emily M. Orr is the assistant curator of modern and contemporary American design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. She holds a PhD in the history of design from the Royal College of Art/Victoria & Albert Museum and an MA in visual culture: costume studies from New York University. Her primary areas of scholarship include retail history, industrial design, and consumer culture. Her PhD thesis is now the focus for a forthcoming monograph Designing the Department Store: Display and Retail at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (Bloomsbury, fall 2019).

Graham Russell Gao-Hodges is the George Dorland Langdon, Jr. Professor of History and Africana Studies at Colgate University. His primary areas of scholarship are colonial and revolutionary American history, social history, labor and urban America, New York City history, and Asian American history. Gao-Hodges received his PhD from New York University, and an MA from City College of New York. He is the author or editor of seventeen books, including Black New Jersey: 1664 to the Present Day (Rutgers University Press, 2018) and TAXI! A Social History of the New York City Cabdriver (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007). His first book, New York City Cartmen, 1667–1850 (NYU Press, 1986; revised edition, 2012) is the basis for his presentation.

Moderated by:

Dr. Annie Polland is the executive director of the American Jewish Historical Society. She was formerly the vice president for programs and education at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where she oversaw exhibits and interpretation. She is the co-author, with Daniel Soyer, of Emerging Metropolis: New York Jews in the Age of Immigration (NYU Press, 2012), which was the winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award. She served as vice president of education at the Museum at Eldridge Street, where she wrote Landmark of the Spirit: The Eldridge Street Synagogue (Yale University Press, 2008). Polland also teaches at New York University. She received her PhD in history from Columbia University.

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