Trip to Ratti Center – Syria’s Fame of Silk

Dr. Deniz Beyazit & Eva Labson

Friday, November 3, 2023

11:00am - 12:30pm

The presentation will introduce the group to Dr. Beyazit’s work on Syrian textiles and dress in relation to the Katonah Museum exhibition, which she and Blair Fowlkes-Childs look forward to sharing with the Hajji Baba group during our visit to Katonah in January. Following the presentation we will view garments in the Study Room.

Syria’s Fame of Silk, will present the most recent research conducted for the Katonah exhibition that focuses on Syrian Dress and Textiles from the late Ottoman and French Mandate Periods (ca. 19th and early 20th centuries). A half hour lecture will provide insight on the clothing and textiles designed and created by skilled artisans and reveal the social and cultural traditions not only of elite city residents in Aleppo and Damascus, but also of desert nomads and villagers living in the Syrian countryside and mountains. The lecture will position Greater Syria’s role as a Ssilk producer in the Global market, while discussing select “Syrian signature weaving styles,”, and articulate the development of Ottoman fashion between Istanbul, Aleppo and Paris in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The lecture will be followed by a close-up viewing of a selection of The Met’s finely woven dresses and textiles from Syria and neighboring regions. The study session will include little known objects, each one presenting a colorful and glittering appearance.

Deniz Beyazit is a graduate of the University of Paris I: Panthéon-Sorbonne (2009), and is a curator in the Department of Islamic Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, which she joined in 2010. Her expertise and research fields vary from medieval Islamic to Ottoman arts, and comprise medieval metalwork, carpets and textiles, Islamic prayer books, art in the context of pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, orientalism & collecting Islamic Art, and Dress in the Islamic world. She has curated many exhibitions and installations, published widely, lectured, and taught courses on Islamic Art and architecture as well as Modern and Contemporary art from the Middle East. Since 2016 Deniz’s research has included The Met’s collection of dress and accessories from the Islamic world. Together with her Met colleagues Monika Bincsik and Eva Labson she is co-directing “Global Dress at The Met”. This year she collaborated as consulting curator to the exhibition Stories of Syria’s Textiles: Art and Heritage across Two Millennia, curated by Blair Fowlkes Childs, on view from October 15, 2023 to January 28, 2024 at the Katonah Museum of Art.
Eva Labson joined the staff of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2007. A specialist in the fields of textile studies and collections care, she is General Manager and Head of the Antonio Ratti Textile Study and Storage Center. In this role she is responsible for the management of an active 19,000 square foot storage facility housing The Met’s collection of over 33,000 textiles and the Center’s publicly accessible educational resources including: the study rooms, reference library, archives, and gallery. With a particular interest in encouraging object-based learning and fostering close relationships between universities and museum collections, she serves as an Adjunct Instructor in the Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory and Museum Practice graduate program at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Costume Studies graduate program at NYU. Since 2021 she has served on the Board of the Textile Society of America and is responsible for developing programing and membership outreach initiatives.  Eva holds degrees from Beloit College, The Bard Graduate Center and is currently working towards her Ph.D. at the University of Bern, Switzerland.