P. T. Barnum and General Tom Thumb
Samuel Root (1819–1889) and Marcus Aurelius Root (1808–1888)
ca. 1850
Half-plate daguerreotype
Case open: 6.25 × 9.75 × .5 inches; plate: 5.5 × 4.25 inches
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, NPG.93.154

Circus Folk: Art and Design under the American Big Top

Lecture    2:30 pm     Lecture Hall

For over two hundred years, the circus has variously served as a source of inspiration and a forum for innovation in American art and design. Matthew Wittmann, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Bard Graduate Center, explores this extraordinary history through a discussion of some of the signature objects in the Bard Graduate Center’s current exhibition, Circus and the City: New York, 1793-2010 which he curated.

Wittmann received his Ph.D. in 2010 from the Program in American Culture at the University of Michigan. His research and teaching focus on the cultural, material, and transnational history of the United States during the nineteenth century and on the dynamics of popular entertainment in particular. His dissertation looked at the experiences of U.S. entertainers that traveled around the Pacific in the nineteenth century and the reciprocal interactions and exchanges they had with the people and places that they encountered along the way.

For more information on the exhibition, please visit: http://www.bgc.bard.edu/gallery/gallery-at-bgc/main-gallery.html

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