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About the symposium

This event is being livestreamed, to watch the livestream click here.

The Parthenon is the most sculpturally rich building to survive from antiquity, and the frieze is the best-preserved section of its original adornment. Newly installed in the Graduate Center’s lobby and library is a remarkably early and well-conserved set of British Museum casts on long-term loan from CUNY’s City College that had originally been used to teach art and art history there for more than 100 years.

This day-long symposium, organized as part of welcoming these plasters to the Graduate Center and cosponsored by the Yale Center for British Art, brings together a distinguished lineup of art historians, curators, and artists to examine their historical and contemporary context. Beginning with the original sculptural scheme of the Parthenon and its legacy, and turning towards the international distribution and educational role of the plaster cast, the symposium will conclude with a discussion of issues surrounding the production and reception of public works of sculpture.

The symposium will be followed by a celebratory event co-hosted by the Graduate Center’s Office of the Provost to toast the new installation held in the Mina Rees Library atrium, 365 Fifth Avenue.


11:15 AM Registration and Coffee in Skylight Room (9100)

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Panel 1: The Parthenon Marbles

Rachel Kousser, “Destruction, Memory, and Monuments: The Parthenon and its Afterlives,” Art History, CUNY Graduate Center

Katherine Schwab, “Parthenon Studies: Marble Sculptures in Athens and Plaster Casts in Fairfield,” Visual & Performing Arts, Fairfield University, CT


12:30 – 1:45 PM Lunch

1:45 – 3:00 PM Panel 2: Plaster Casts

Rebecca Wade, Keynote, “Object Lessons: The Place of Plaster in the Nineteenth-Century School-Museum,” Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK

Martina Droth, "Sculpture in Painting: Parthenon to Paragone," Yale Center for British Art

Ray Ring, “Gods and Heroes at the Graduate Center: Why and How,” Director of Building Design and Exhibitions, CUNY Graduate Center


3:00 – 3:20 PM Break for coffee

3:20 – 4:20 PM Panel 3: Public Sculpture

Harriet Senie, “The Parthenon Casts at Olympic Tower: Considering the Classical Tradition in a Postmodern Context,” Art History, CCNY and the Graduate Center, CUNY

Keith Wilson, “Presence and Absence in Public Art,” The Center for the Humanities, the Graduate Center, CUNY


4:30 PM Tour of the James Gallery, current exhibition: Block Party: Peter Krashes

5:00 – 6:30 PM Reception in the Mina Rees Library and Lobby area, including:

5:30 PM Remarks by Graduate Center Provost Joy Connolly and Professor Harriet Senie followed by a short performance of a Katrina Palmer work in front of the Frieze. Click here for more information on the reception.

Co-sponsored by the Yale Center for British Art.