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John Beardsley

Program Director for Garden and Landscape Studies

As Program Director for Garden and Landscape Studies, John Beardsley oversees a fellowship program, lecture series, publications program, summer internships, the Mellon-funded Initiative in Urban Landscape Studies, and an annual symposium and colloquium. Recent publications include the edited volumes Landscape Body Dwelling: Charles Simonds at Dumbarton Oaks (Dumbarton Oaks, 2012); Designing Wildlife Habitats (Dumbarton Oaks, 2013); and Cultural Landscape Heritage in Sub-Saharan Africa (Dumbarton Oaks, 2016), which received the 2018 Elisabeth Blair MacDougall Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians, given annually to “the most distinguished work of scholarship in the history of landscape architecture or garden design.”

Trained as an art historian, with a PhD from the University of Virginia, Beardsley is the author of numerous books on contemporary art and design, including Earthworks and Beyond: Contemporary Art in the Landscape (Abbeville Press, fourth edition, 2006) and Gardens of Revelation: Environments by Visionary Artists (Abbeville Press, 1995), as well as many titles on recent landscape architecture. He has extensive experience as a curator for numerous museums, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Among the exhibitions he has organized or co-organized are Black Folk Art in America (Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1982); Hispanic Art in the United States (MFAH, 1987); and The Quilts of Gee’s Bend (MFAH and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2002). In 1997, he curated the visual arts project Human Nature: Art and Landscape in Charleston and the Low Country for the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston. His program of installations of contemporary art at Dumbarton Oaks have included projects with Charles Simonds, Patrick Dougherty, Andy Cao, Hugh Livingston, and Martha Jackson Jarvis.

Beardsley has taught in departments of landscape architecture at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University, where he co-organized the exhibitions One Hundred Years of Landscape Architecture at Harvard (2000) and Dirty Work: Transforming the Landscape of Nonformal Cities in the Americas (2008).

Email: BeardsleyJ@doaks.org