Women Designers of the 20th Century, Shaping National Artistic Identities in Latin America, the third of the “Cisneros Seminar in the Material Cultures of the Ibero-American World at the Bard Graduate Center,” will take place on December 6th from 5:30 pm to 8 pm at the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture located at 38 West 86 St. between Central Park West and Columbus Avenues in New York. This seminar, created in conjunction with the Fundación Cisneros/Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, was established to advance scholarship on the cultures of the Ibero-American world through the study of the material artifacts of this region across space, time, media, and methodology.

Defying social conventions and exploring disciplines traditionally performed by men such as design and studio craft, women designers played a fundamental role in spreading the ideas of the Modern avant-garde art in Latin America. Though their writings, professional practice, and by educating the next generations of designers, those women actively contributed to define what is today’s Latin American design. This seminar will explore the life and work of some of these designers such as Elena Izcue, a Peruvian educator and textile designer who found in Peruvian ancient pre-Columbian traditions a source of inspiration for designing children’s art textbooks and fashionable modern textiles; Clara Porset, a Cuban-Mexican designer whose furniture became iconic in Mexican mid-century modern interiors; and the Brazilians Lina Bo Bardi, Carmem Portinho and Gilda de Mello e Souza, whose pioneering ideas and work shaped Brazilian modern design and design education.


Dr. Natalia Majluf
Director Museo de Arte de Lima
“Elena Izcue: Precolumbian Design in Modern Life”

Ana Elena Mallet
Independent Writer and Curator
“Clara Porset: Inventing Modern Design in Mexico”

Dr. Maria Cecilia Loschiavo dos Santos
Associate Professor of Design, School of Architecture and Urbanism, University of São Paulo
“Women And Brazilian Modern Design”

Dr. Pat Kirkham
Professor, Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture

PLEASE NOTE that our Lecture Hall can only accommodate a limited number of people, so please come early if you would like to have a seat in the main room. We also have overflow seating available; all registrants who arrive late will be seated in the overflow area.