Desire, Conflict & Exchange Featured Student: Celia Bugno

Written by Marketing Intern Astrid Cabello

Celia Bugno is one of the students from the Art History Capstone course from this past fall which was responsible for the curation of the current exhibit: Desire, Conflict & Exchange Art of 19th Century East Asia & the West. Bugno is a senior from the Chicago suburbs. She is an Art and Architecture History and Arts Management double major with a minor in Spanish. She is also a member of the Women’s Rugby Team and Outdoor Adventure Club.

During the semester-long capstone course, all students worked collaboratively to select an overall theme, sub-themes, and a wide variety of pieces to be featured. Later on, each student chose an individual piece to highlight and explore more in-depth, researching its history and background and then compiling that information in a catalogue entry and gallery label. 

Bugno chose a Travel Journal by John Grant Birch that documents his business journeys throughout north and central China in 1899. Bugno chose this piece because she thought his documentation processes of noting everything he could about social and political interactions, as well as economic concerns he faced as a European trader in China at this time, was fascinating. By taking a closer look, Bugno found his obvious biases included in his social notes that can be interpreted in a variety of ways, but which reflected his time period and what type of international relationships were at play.

During the semester, Bugno learned extensive research methods, how the look of different objects used on promotional materials can affect an exhibits initial reception, an immense amount about East Asian history during the 19th century, and the many factors that play into exhibition design.

When asked what her favorite part of the capstone was she said “Working with my team to make a clear and organized section on Conflict within the exhibit and the challenges in that task”. Bugno recommends that anyone interested in art, history, art history, interior design, or museums considers taking the capstone.

The exhibition opened Tuesday, January 28 and will remain open through alumni weekend, closing on Saturday, June 13. Attend the following programs to celebrate the exhibition:

East Asian Symposium: Trade, War, Art: East Asian Exchange Past & Present

Mon, Mar 16 | 5–6:30 PM 

This symposium examines the current state of economic and cultural exchange with East Asia through the lens of our recent past. Scholars from Miami University and the student-curators of our Spring 2020 exhibition will present short papers on topics from the first foreign residencies at Yokohama, China’s current Belt & Road Initiatives and the Japanese influences on Rookwood.

Presenting are: Professors Haosheng Yang, Kazue Harada and Michael Hatch and

Capstone Students:  Maria Jose DeSantiago Galan, Faith Walker and Yiwen Bai.

Cosponsored by the East Asian Studies Minor and the Miami University Art Museum.

Gallery Talk & Reception: Desire, Conflict & Exchange

Mon, Mar 16 | 6:30–8 PM

Join the Art & Architecture History Capstone students (ART 498), as they share their curatorial experiences and research related to works on display in the exhibition, Desire, Conflict & Exchange.


Come learn more about Celia Bugno’s piece along with the rest of the exhibition, Desire, Conflict & Exchange, at the Miami University Art Museum!

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