Alumni News, Fall 2015

12 Nov

Dear Alumni,

The response to our call for alumni news was tremendous! Thank you for getting in touch, and hearty congratulations on all of your achievements, milestones, and activities.  We hope to hear from more of you for our next Alumni News round-up, which we’ll post sometime in Spring 2016.  Thanks also go to Department of Art History faculty Carol Krinsky, Mosette Broderick, and Jon Ritter for contributing to this post.

Please continue to send your news, links, photos, videos, podcasts, and corrections to Professor Kathryn Smith ( with a copy to our Administrator Peggy Coon (  Thank you again, and best wishes for happiness, fulfillment, and success to all!

Shelley Karen Perlove (B.A. Fine Arts, Washington Square College, ’68) received her M.A. in Museology in 1978 from Wayne State University and her Ph.D. in History of Art in 1983 from the University of Michigan, where she taught at the Dearborn branch until her official retirement. She nevertheless continues to teach, now at the Ann Arbor campus, and has published and edited several volumes, especially on Dutch seventeenth-century art but also on baroque art in other countries. She has written many books, catalogues, and articles, including most recently The Ferocious Dragon and the Docile Elephant: the Unleashing of Sin in Rembrandt’s Garden of Eden,” published in Religion, the Supernatural and Visual Culture in Early Modern Europe (Brepols, 2015), The Glory of the Last House” (Haggai 2:9): Rembrandt and the Prophets Malachi and Haggai,” which appeared in Imago Exegetica: Visual Images as Exegetical Instruments, 1400-1600 (Brill, 2014), and Pursuit of Faith: Etchings by Rembrandt in the Thrivent Financial Collection of Religious Art (University of Michigan-Dearborn, 2010); other publications include Renaissance, Reform, Reflections in the Age of Dürer, Bruegel, and Rembrandt (1994) and Piranesi’s Views of Rome (1986). She has won numerous honors and awards over the years as well. Rembrandt’s Faith: Church and Temple in the Dutch Golden Age (Penn State University Press, 2009), co-authored with Larry Silver, received the Bainton Book Prize and the Brown-Weiss Newberry Library Humanities Book and was a finalist for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award for most Outstanding Book of 2009 from the College Art Association; while Bernini and the Idealization of Death: Study of the Ludovica Albertoni and the Altieri Chapel (Penn State University Press, 1990) was a finalist for the 1990 Gustav Arlt Humanities book award. (This post contributed by Professor Krinsky.)

Nancy Ruddy (B.A. Fine Arts, Washington Square College, ’70s) earned her architecture degree at City College (now the Bernard Spitzer School of Architecture), and with her husband, John Cetra, has formed a successful firm, Cetra Ruddy, which does interior design and architecture. Recent buildings that have attracted favorable attention include One Madison Park and the Lincoln Square Synagogue.  Ruddy and Cetra were inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame earlier this year. (This post contributed by Professor Krinsky.)

David Penny (B.A. Fine Arts, Washington Square College, ’78), Associate Director for Museum Scholarship at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., moderated a panel at the museum on “Seizing the Sky: Redfining American Art” (See our November 5th blogpost).

Adela Oppenheim’s (B.A. Fine Arts ’86; M.A. University of Pennsylvania; Ph.D. Institute of Fine Arts ’08) exhibition, “Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom,” co-curated with Dieter Arnold, Dorothea Arnold and Kei Yamamoto of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, opened at the museum on October 12th, 2015. It earned a wonderful review from Holland Cotter in The New York Times. Department of Art History students and faculty enjoyed an engaging, informative special lecture by Dr. Oppenheim on the exhibition on October 28th: thanks go to Professor Ann Macy Roth for arranging the talk. Dr. Oppenheim’s former professors Kenneth Silver and Carol Krinsky were delighted to have the opportunity to reconnect with Dr. Oppenheim, their former student, during her visit to the department. (This post contributed by Professor Smith).

Edith Taichman (B.A. Fine Arts ’99) recently left Peter Marino Architect in New York after a five-year stint as Director of Communications there. Edith reports, “I am moving on to a new position as Vice President of Global Communications at Oscar de la Renta, taking up the new position this November.”

Tarek Ibrahim (B.A. Fine Arts ’00) is completing his M.A. degree at the Humboldt University in Berlin, where he expects to continue for his Ph.D.  He holds an architecture degree from Parsons but left architectural practice (with an outstanding firm) during a business downturn, and is earning a better living as a tourist guide. Anyone visiting Berlin would be wise to have him guide you, since he knows much more about art, architecture, and the city than any normal tourist guide does. (This post contributed by Professor Krinsky.)

Gabriel Wick (Gallatin; B.A. Urban Design and Architecture Studies ’00), who has been living in Paris and teaching there while doing his Ph.D. work in landscape history, presented a paper at the April 2015 annual meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians. People who were present, and not just his former professors, described the talk as “brilliant” and “excellent.” He is the author of Un Paysage des Lumieres: Un Jardin Anglais du Chateau de La Roche-Guyon, which may soon be available in English. Professor Krinsky had the pleasure of a long conversation with him during the Society of Architectural Historians convention. (This post contributed by Professor Krinsky).

Ryann Pointon Imperioli (B.A. Fine Arts ’03) and Chris Imperioli welcomed their daughter Sadie Jane on August 4!

Lydia Mattice Brandt (B.A. Art History ’04; Ph.D. Art and Architectural History, University of Virginia) participated in the 64th year of the Attingham Summer School run by the Attingham Trust for the study of country houses. For three weeks, Lydia and her compatriot curators, architects, and historians traipsed around England examining some of the finest examples of the country house and their collections. Lydia’s experiences will feed the courses she teaches in early American art and architecture at the University of South Carolina and her research on the history of historic preservation in the U.S.Lydia Brandt enjoying the gardens at Broughton Castle, Oxfordshire, UK

Will Robinette (B.A. Urban Design and Architecture Studies ’04) earned his Master’s degree in architecture from Columbia University. He is now working in Manhattan as an architect with Ryall Porter Sheridan Architects, a firm with a varied practice in new and historic buildings.

Betsy Williams (B.A. Fine Arts / Romance Languages ‘04; M.A., Ph.D., Institute of Fine Arts ‘15) recently finished her Ph.D. under the supervision of Profs. Thelma Thomas and Barry Flood with a dissertation on precious metal jewelry from the early Byzantine and early Islamic eastern Mediterranean. For the past three years, Betsy has worked in the Museum Department at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C., where she coordinates efforts to catalogue its collection of late antique and medieval textiles. This past March, she co-organized a conference at Dumbarton Oaks around the theme of furnishing textiles and interior décor; proceedings are expected to appear as a born-digital publication in late 2017. Betsy also teaches courses on late antique, Byzantine, and Islamic art and architecture in the art history department at the George Washington University. Last term she taught a MA seminar on the art of Christian communities of the Middle East, a topic of increasing urgency given the threats facing monuments and communities in the region.

Betsy stays connected to New York, and is frequently visiting family, friends, and colleagues there. She is on the advisory committee for the upcoming 2016 exhibition at the Met, Jerusalem in the Middle Ages, and wrote an essay and several entries for the exhibition catalogue. She was recently elected to the governing board of the Byzantine Studies Association of North America (BSANA) during the most recent Byzantine Studies Conference in New York, where she was happy to spend time with many NYU colleagues, fellow alums, and former students. Betsy and her husband Marek Dospel, got married last summer in Prague, with many old friends from NYU in attendance. Betsy and Marek met when he was a visiting Fulbright student at ISAW, and he also recently finished his Ph.D. in Egyptology at Charles University.

Rebecca Willis (B.A. Urban Design and Architecture Studies ’10) began her studies in the Tufts Post-Baccalaureate Medical Program this September.

Joseph Audeh (B. A. Urban Design and Architecture Studies ’11) began working toward his M.Sc. in Art, Culture and Technology at MIT this September.

Kirsten Burrows (M.A. Historical and Sustainable Architecture ’11) is Senior Analyst, Climate Change Secretariat at Taking Action on Climate Change (Yukon Government Climate Change Secretariat, Whitehorse, Yukon).

Samantha Irvine (M.A. Historical and Sustainable Architecture ’11) reports, “I’ve landed an amazing job with the heritage planning team at ERA Architects in Toronto, an architecture firm that specializes in the adaptive reuse of historic buildings. Another NYU Historical and Sustainable Architecture success story!”

Nicole Paynter (B.A. Urban Design and Architecture Studies ’11) began the M.A. Program in Historical and Sustainable Architecture this September.

Amanda Gruen (B.A. Urban Design and Architecture Studies ’12) studied historic preservation at Pratt and is currently working at the non-profit Landmark West!, which is committed to preserving the historic character and architecture of Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

James Newhouse (B.A. Art History, B.S. Chemistry ’12) celebrated his three-year anniversary working at BASF, the world’s largest chemical company. Currently, he is working to improve workplace equality at his Tarrytown, NY office by organizing and launching a chapter of the company’s LGBT employee resource group. The group focuses on engaging employees through education, outreach, and networking to increase awareness of the challenges faced by the LGBT community in the workplace.

 Robert Rock (B.A. Art History ’12) created Making the Invisible Visible, a guided art tour intended for health professions students. As Robert reports, “The tour aims to study the expression of bias in western culture in an effort to help future health care providers recognize and begin to work toward correcting the assumptions inherent to society. It uses the art gallery as a safe space and the interpretation of selected works as a means to examine the stereotypes embedded in western society as they relate to race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.  With the power dynamic between patient and provider shifted so heavily in favor of the later, the presence and unconscious expression of such biases in high stakes interactions can have dramatic results that seriously influence the equitable delivery of health care.”

Robert created the tour as a second-year medical student at Yale with the assistance of Yale University faculty in an effort to begin this difficult conversation among students. The Yale School of Medicine has incorporated the session into their curriculum. Through a collaboration with the Yale University Art Gallery, all 104 first year students participated in the tour this past August.  See the album from Yale School of Medicine Facebook page.

Congratulations to Richard Sanchez (B.A. Art History ’12) on his recent curatorial project, Queer WAH: Contemporary LGBTQ Artists, presented by the WAH Center (Williamsburg Art and Historical Center). As Richard writes, “LGBTQ rights have progressed monumentally in the past few years, culminating with the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide this past June. We looked to the artistic responses to and celebrations of these progressive moments in our history… Here, the work of an exciting group of artists that inhabit all areas of the queer spectrum, whether they identify as gay/lesbian, transgender, intersex, or non-normative, were on display in an exhibition aimed at examining and celebrating the contributions of queer artists to the contemporary art landscape.” Queer WAH was on view through Sunday, November 1st.  The show was recently reviewed by both Bowery + Bedford and Next Magazine, as well as by the in-house staff writer for the WAH Center’s Blog.

Zak al-Haffar (B.A. Urban Design and Architecture Studies ’13) was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania’s M.Arch. program beginning this fall.

 Rachel High (B.A. Art History ’13) works at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as Publishing and Marketing Assistant in the Editorial Department. She is editor of the MetPublications website, which features more than five decades of Met publications available to read, download, and/or search for free found here. As part of her responsibilities, she also blogs for Now at the Met  and creates book trailers for some of the Met’s major catalogues, examples of which can be found at the here, here and here.

Ariane Prache (B. A. Urban Design & Architecture Studies ’13) began her studies in Columbia Unviersity’s M. Arch. program this September.

Alexandra Thomopoulos (B.A. Urban Design & Architecture Studies ’13) entered the M.Arch program at the University of Southern California this September.

James Walsh (B.A. Urban Design and Architecture Studies ’13), who is currently working toward a Certificate in Building Management in NYU’s SCPS, entered NYU’s M.A. program in World History this fall.

 Yifu Zhu (M.A. Historical and Sustainable Architecture ’13) began working toward an M.Sc. in Regional and Urban Planning Studies at the London School of Economics this fall.

 Alessandro Bello (B.A. Urban Design and Architecture Studies ’14; M.A. Historical and Sustainable Architecture ’15) recently accepted a position at AECOM, a global provider of architecture, design, engineering, and construction services for both public and private clients.

Evelyn Cheng (B.A. Urban Design and Architecture Studies ’14) began her studies toward an M.A. in Management at the London School of Economics this fall.

Michael Hall (M.A. Historical and Sustainable Architecture ’14) began his studies in the Ph.D. program in Architectural History at the University of Kent, Canterbury, this fall.

Megan Hari-Sandver (M.A. Historical and Sustainable Architecture ’14) earned the 2014 Euston Memorial Arch Award for the best Capstone Thesis.

Hyunkyung Lee (B.A. Urban Design and Architecture Studies ’14) began working toward her Certificate at the Kyujanggak Institute, Seoul National University, South Korea, this fall.

Nancy Xintong Nie (M.A. Historical and Sustainable Architecture ’14) began working toward her M.A. in Real Estate Development in Columbia’s GSAP Program this fall.

Arenae A. Sarkisian (B.A. Art History ’14) worked as a Marketing Analyst for a year at a Lead Generation Marketing Agency for All-For-Profit Schools called Edufficient LLC. Recently, she took a position as Senior Administrative Assistant at Christie’s Auction House in the Old Masters Department.

Wilson Tarbox (B.A. Art History ‘14) has been admitted to the Masters program in Comparative Literature at La Nouvelle Sorbonne Paris III. He is preparing a thesis that will compare the art critical output present in the writing Mexican poet and essayist Octavio Paz and Martiniquan poet and novelist Édouard Glissant. Wilson also recently published a review of artist Mary Mattingly’s installation “Wading Bridge” in the online magazine Hyperallergic.

Veronica Watson (B.A. Urban Design and Architecture Studies ’14) began her studies in Columbia University’s M. Arch. program this September.

David Bransfield’s (B.A. Urban Design and Architecture Studies ’15; B.F.A. Steinhardt) show, Feels Like Home, was featured at 80WSE Gallery’s satellite space from August 23rd – October 18th, 2015 (see our September 21st blogpost).

Ellis Edwards (B.A. Art History ’15) began her Masters in Art History and Archaeology at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts, where she is focusing on modern and contemporary art.  When she isn’t studying, she is an intern at Kim Heirston Art Advisory uptown, where she is learning the trade of advising, consulting, and dealing in the fast-paced contemporary art world.  Ellis was also selected as a curator for the IFA Curatorial Collaborative, which curates exhibitions for honors seniors in the NYU Steinhart studio art program.  Her show will be at 80WSE sometime during the spring semester.

Siena Falino (M.A. Historical and Sustainable Architecture ’15) earned the 2015 Euston Memorial Arch Award for the best Capstone Thesis.

Rachel Hong (B.A. Urban Design and Architecture Studies ’15) entered Emory Law School this fall, where she is working toward her J.D.

Seoyoung Lee (B.A. Urban Design and Architecture Studies ’15) entered the M. Arch. program at Pratt this fall.



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