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BARD COLLEGE Art History Program

Alexander Calder, Yellow Tights, 1945

Senior Project Presentations May 17, 2012


Farewell Message From Professor Susan L. Aberth Director, Art History Program

The Art History faculty extends their congratulations to you on the successful completion of your Senior Project and college career. During the past four years we have come to know you all well and have tried to assist you in every way imaginable. Our commitment to you does not end here, however, and we hope that you allow us to assist you in future endeavors as well. Year after year our graduates have gone off to lead adventurous lives, but have still found time to let us know of their many achievements. We invite you to do the same and look forward to learning about your jobs, graduate school admissions and the many other journeys you will embark upon. Our program alumni are our extended family, and we know that you will make us proud!

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SENIOR PRESENTATIONS PROGRAM 2012 Art History Majors Lilah Anderson Emanuela Del Peschio Amy Freeman Keziah Goudsmit Anatole Hocek Lily Kaminsky Madeleine Kiwak Stefan Klecheski Fiona Laugharn Patricia Manos Nicole Minatel Elizabeth Erin Morrel Anna Page Nadin Miriam Natis Madeleine Nimoy Alexander O’Kane Lindsay Pike Christopher Richards Monica Semczyk Nicole Stein Madeline Turner Jeremy Ulman Madeline Williamson


LILAH ANDERSON Title: Four New /Corners/Artists Approaching the Intersection Adviser: Noah Chasin

The corner is marginalized. The corner is the stability of a room. The corner is a refuge. The corner is for the dreamer. The corner is for the naughty boy. The corner is forgotten. The corner has an array of significations that generate infinite interpretations. The corner is not fixed but a dynamic and ever-moving entity, therefore we see the many different interactions created when the artist uses this space. This project examined the interaction of viewer and artistic approach in four case studies of works in the corner. The corner has always contained the /corner/ and it is only through these visual works that the multiplicity of this space is revealed.

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EMANUELA DEL PESCHIO Title: Oh My Gouache: A Reconsideration of Alexander Calder's Opaque Watercolors Adviser: Tom Wolf

Alexander Caler’s gouaches, or opaque watercolors, are a little studied area within Calder’s work. This major artist painted in gouache for a fifty-year period, producing close to five thousand works. This project provides a chronology of the progressions in style and content of the paintings. The first wave of gouaches underscores Calder’s interest in cosmic themes, plus the circus imagery that inspired his famous Le Cirque Calder, 1926. His works of the 1940’s and 1950’s illustrate the psychological impact of World War II upon the artist. As his career ripened in the remaining years of his life, brilliantly charming and positive metaphors are rampant in the gouaches, revealing his pacifistic nature throughout the Vietnam War. In Calder’s works of the 1960’s and 1970’s, he returned to themes that dominated his early work, echoing his early introduction to the Dutch painter, Piet Mondrian. The project aims to posit new insight into these works which are so often overlooked, to demonstrate their strengths as compositions, and to provide a deeper analysis into the many metamorphosis of the artist’s consciousness.

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AMY FREEMAN Title: David Wojnarowicz and the Art Love Hate Triangle: Artists, Art Institutions and the Right Wing Adviser: Noah Chasin

The creation of the NEA in 1965 began an era of government involvement in art funding. The purpose of the NEA was to foster emerging artists by funding exhibits and providing financial support. The mission of the NEA founders was to allow creative expression without limitations, with the acknowledgement that artists are the mirror of society and a cultivated society embraces artistic freedom. In the late 1980's, there was a shift in the political climate towards an ascension of power by conservative Republicans like Jesse Helms and Donald Wildmon. Simultaneously, an anti-establishment society in the East Village was gaining strength as the hottest spot for emerging artists. David Wojnarowicz, as a leading artist in the East Village scene, did not stray from his forthright and clearly messaged works. Other artists like Felix Gonzalez-Torres used more subversive methods to avoid controversy, but still communicated his intended message.

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KEZIAH GOUDSMIT Title: Hitler’s Great Wall: The Battle Of The Entartete Kunst exhibition, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Otto Dix Misrepresented As “Anti-Heroes” To Consolidate Volksgemeinschaft Adviser: Tom Wolf

Four paintings, Otto Dix’s Der Schützengraben (Trench) and Kriegskrüppel (War-Cripples), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Selbstbildnis als Soldat (Self-Portrait as Soldier), and Abschied (Botho und Hugo)(Farewell, Botho and Hugo) share a common history: they hung on the same wall in the infamous Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition organized by Hitler and his followers in 1937. In the Degenerate Art show Hitler foregrounded what he considered “bad” art and these four paintings went from being part of the avant-garde to being damned as degenerate. In my project I juxtapose reality—depictions of World War I in Dix and Kirchner’s work—and illusion— the Nazi artists’ glorification of war and its soldiers. The common element in all these works, besides the war, is the portrayal of the hero. The hero subject was meant to boost German morale and superiority, to further Hitler’s goal of stripping individuality and creativeness in order to create Volksgemeinschaft (a strong single-minded community). Through his cultural alterations Hitler succeeded in shaping this singleminded community that made the German nation so powerful at the time. Surprisingly enough, although their art was condemned by Hitler’s regime, Kirchner and Dix shared his admiration for their Fatherland, its people and its heroes.

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ANATOLE HOCEK Title: The Art of Urban Exploration: A Means of Processing Alienation and Intimacy with the Built Environment Adviser: Noah Chasin

Urban Exploration (UE or urbex) is an overlooked art form with profound impact for both Art and Urbanism. Although the act itself is straight forward, the practice of UE demonstrates the instability of the urban fabric, an environment by which an individual’s being is simultaneously defined and alienated. Everyday life, or the automatic movement through the environment, is contoured around predetermined physical structures and social systems: the urban. Life is consistently contoured, molded, and directed by the urban and is therefore, over time, a product of it. Alienation arises because the defining role of the urban systems in our lives is often taken for granted. Interaction is meant to be peripheral to the purpose for which the interaction occurs. In order to be efficient and consumable, technology, in this case the urban, is designed for and dictates specific outcomes. However, if no thought or conscious interaction is given to the spaces and technologies that have and continue to define life, the result is alienation: the disconnection between an individual and the environment. Urban exploration is a spatial interaction for the sake of spatial interaction, an end in itself, and thus confronts urban alienism. The alien, that which has no opposite is the urban as it is physically ubiquitous and, by means of society, virtually omnipresent.

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LILY KAMINSKY Title: Film Among The Arts:Understanding the History of Film through Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard Adviser: Richard Suchenski

The Leopard, based on the novel by Giuseppe di Lampedusa, takes place during the Risorgimento. In the 1860s, Italy sought unification and freedom from the reigning foreign powers. While the movie may tell the political history of Italy, I sought to understand a different side of the film, one in which Visconti tells the story of film through the art forms which have come before it, and the political atmosphere serves as the background.

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MADELEINE KIWAK Title: Carolingian Medieval Manuscripts: Reception and Controversies Surrounding the Ebbo Gospels and the Utrecht Psalter Advisers: Alice Stroup and Jean French

The illuminated manuscripts known as the Ebbo Gospels and the Utrecht Psalter were both products of the “Carolingian” period. Art historically this term covers a period of time from about 781 to the end of the ninth century, though the historical dates span a larger period of time starting with the reign of Charlemagne (768-814) and continuing with his successors. The reign of Charlemagne has been called a “renaissance” because of the revival of classical and late antique styles of manuscript painting as well as the political and social changes made by both Charlemagne and his father Pepin. The Utrecht Psalter and the Ebbo Gospels are both from the Reims school and manuscript production, which differs stylistically from the Court School. Since scholars began analyzing and researching the manuscripts in the mid to late 19th century there have been debates regarding the dating, origins and influences of the illuminations. This senior project is an in-depth exploration of the Utrecht Psalter and Ebbo Gospels, their relationship to each other and the controversies and theories developed about these two books over time.

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STEFAN KLECHESKI Title: The Narkomfin Building: Housing the Transitional Ideal Adviser: Noah Chasin

This senior project examines the Narkomfin Building (constructed between 1928 and 1930), an experimental communal housing complex in Moscow designed by the premier Soviet avant -garde architect and theorist, Moisei Ginzburg. The project investigates Ginzburg's architectural and urban theories as they developed from 1924 until 1932, and traces the architect's involvement in the state-wide ideological enterprise that sought to find housing solutions for the Soviet population at the time and for the future. Ginzburg, who was both a pragmatist and a utopian visionary, designed a building that was informed by both Russian Constructivism and Western Modernism, a structure that was both a prototype of standardization and a unique fragment of an unrealized vision.

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FIONA LAUGHARN Title: Giving Form to the Formless: Gutai's Critical Reception in America Adviser: Tom Wolf

The Gutai Art Association was created as a collective group of artists reacting to their postwar environment and the emergence of performance and abstract art. Yoshihara Jiro, a Japanese artist in Ashiya, Kobe, founded Gutai in July 1954, starting with seventeen members. He brought together a select group of young artists to create something new, in an environment devoted to promoting untraditional artistic methods. Yoshihara was aware of Western abstraction and influenced by its aesthetic, and recruited young artists into Gutai based on their nontraditional approaches towards art making. Gutai’s initial exposure in the United States was crucial for its aesthetic evolution as a collective because it defined its first connections with two key art world figures – the French art critic, Michel Tapié, and American gallery owner, Martha Jackson. Gutai’s first show in the United States at the Martha Jackson Gallery in 1958—exposed how these artists were defined in both local and international contexts. The critical mentality could not keep up with the rapid devolution of the traditional canvas. The Gutai artists were essentially displaying their work in territory dominated by Abstract Expressionists: their similarities to this movement were prominent but ultimately misread.

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PATRICIA MANOS Title: “Strong in Our Weakness:"Yael Bartana's Strategies for Living With Ghosts Adviser: Julia Rosenbaum

In my project, I discuss Yael Bartana's video trilogy ." . . and Europe will be Stunned." This body of work was completed for the 2011 Venice Biennale, at which the Israeli-Dutch artist was chosen to represent Poland at its national pavilion as the firstever non-Polish artist to be awarded this honor. “. . . and Europe will be Stunned" takes as its premise the implications of a hypothetical call for the return of a Jewish population to Poland, equal in size to that which existed there prior to World War II. In this way, Bartana raises the questions of nationalism and contemporary European identity, but also the way in which themes of national exceptionalism and xenophobia manifest themselves in her native Israel. My project approaches each of the pieces in the trilogy with a different interpretive angle in mind. In my conclusion, I tie the themes of criticism, community and public discourse together in a discussion of Bartana's participation in large-scale, international exhibitions of contemporary art such as the Venice and Berlin Biennales.

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NICOLE MINATEL Title: Modern Man, Old Master: World War I Exposed in Otto Dix’s Der Krieg Triptych. Adviser: Tom Wolf

When Otto Dix volunteered to join the German army in the early days of World War I, he could not have imagined how impactful this experience would become later on in his career as a painter of the Weimar Republic. In these years of instability that succeeded the war, Dix busily sketched, etched and painted a number of images that showed the various forms in which the continental conflict overwhelmingly affected every aspect of German life – all of which culminated in the monumental front-scenes of his opus magnum, the Der Krieg [War] triptych. Claiming that he wanted to dispel the myths of hero being propagated by right-wing literature and simultaneously remind his compatriots of the events that had transpired only ten years earlier, the artist then embarked on a four-year project in which, using the materials and techniques of Old Masters of the Grotesque such as Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald and Albrecht Altdorfer, he revealed his own outlook on what was to be considered a ‘truthful reportage’ of the war.

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ELIZABETH ERIN MORREL Title: Carl Akeley’s African Hall of Mammals: Reanimating Life and the Popularization of Natural History at the American Museum Adviser: Julia Rosenbaum

In this project, I examine Carl Akeley’s groundbreaking African Hall of Mammals, part of the 1936 addition to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Akeley synthesized and expanded on newly developed taxidermy techniques to create imaginative and artistic natural history displays. He incorporated his knowledge of photography, painting, cinematography, arts and crafts, as well as taxidermy to add drama and narrative to formerly staid displays. By grouping animals by habitat in a cohesive and engaging manner, and creating panoramic backgrounds with naturalistic props and foliage, Akeley created an illusion of reality for each habitat. I compare Akeley’s work with those of his peers to show how he elevated taxidermy to an art form by creating theatrical, but realistic displays that both engaged and informed laymen and scholars. Akeley’s dioramas reflect his own world view of nuclear families with a dominant male. The gorilla exhibit in particular can be viewed as an unconscious self-portrait depicting Akeley’s own dilemma as a hunter and conservationist. Akeley’s work contributed significantly to the popularity of natural history in the early 20th century. He was a leader in conservationist efforts in Africa, and yet at the same time, his expeditions contributed to the popularity of the hunting safari.

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ANNA PAGE NADIN Title: Submission to Salvation: Deconstructing the Body and the Inanimate in the Photography of Jimmy DeSana Adviser: Susan Merriam

In this project I discuss work by photographer Jimmy DeSana created from 1972 until his death from AIDS in 1990. I analyze his artistic progression by discussing how he treats the human body in relation to different objects that were present in the photograph. In his early career he produced two publications, 101 Nudes and Submission which contained images of youthful nudes interacting with the suburban domestic landscape and engaging in S&M fetishism. Starting in 1980 he began to shoot his photographs in color and turned his bodies into sculptures and photographed their interaction with mundane household objects. After he was diagnosed with HIV in 1984, he turned to complete abstraction collaging older negatives to create bizarre objectimages. Because DeSana's work has never been discussed in a thesis before, I conducted original research in the Jimmy DeSana Estate at the Fales Collection at Bobst Library, NYU and at the Jimmy DeSana Estate in Cornwall, Connecticut.

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MIRIAM NATIS Title: Dead in the Water: The Representation of Mermaids in Symbolist Art Adviser: Laurie Dahllberg

The mermaid is a creature of maritime folklore whose usage in fine art has not been thoroughly explored. One period in which the mermaid was used a great deal was in the late 19th century, through graphic design, Art Nouveau luxury items, and Symbolist painting. English artists earlier in the century and continuing through to the fin-de-siècle depicted mermaids in their paintings before their mainland counterparts. This rise in popularity of the mermaid came with the rising popularity of maritime culture and the search for subjects representing a national identity. These mermaids tended to be sexy rather than explicitly threatening. The continental Symbolists then took up the mermaid, first using her as a femme fatale before adapting her in a way that represented the New Woman, a contemporary, rising socio-political concept that lacked a proper symbolic vocabulary due to its nature as something new. This senior project tracks the development of the mermaid in Symbolist painting from being portrayed as a benign beauty to a monstrous representation of the dangerous sea and the New Woman.

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MADELEINE NIMOY Title: The Happiest Place on Earth: A Disneyland Retrospective Through the Postcard. Adviser: Susan Merriam

This thesis explores how Disneyland has been portrayed through the postcard over time. I focus specifically on the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. In this thesis, I make connections between the postcard and the Disneyland theme park through a greater understanding of the socio-political time period each postcard came from. I explore the intrinsic qualities of the postcard in relation to the intention of Disneyland's theme park. Through this formal analysis, I come up with a multiplicity of binary distinctions to show why it is important to look specifically at the postcard rather than other forms of advertisements and souvenirs within Disneyland.

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ALEXANDER O’KANE Title: D " ress Becomes Body Becomes Dress:" The Work and Influence of Rei Kawakubo for Commme des Garçons Adviser: Susan Aberth

Rei Kawakubo is the sole owner and head designer of the Tokyo-based fashion company Comme des Garçons. She has been designing clothing for over 40 years, and her work has completely reshaped the landscape of modern fashion. Through her use of deconstructionist fashion design she has reconfigured our notions of what defines “clothing” and “fashion.” Though constantly changing and evolving, Kawakubo’s design process is founded on the relationship between body and clothing, derived from the Japanese concept ma. While traditional western fashion posits the purpose of clothing as a form of body accentuation or concealment, Kawakubo conceives of clothing as a sculptural object distinct from the body. Rather than positioning clothing as a tool to aid in the body’s appearance, Kawakubo uses clothing to express a multitude of complex interrelating and multileveled ideas and emotions. Her work is never presented as a singular concept or literal manifestation of a visual aesthetic, but rather serves as a tangential expression of her own personal emotions and feelings.



LINDSAY PIKE Title: Resurrection and Reconstruction: Visions of Vézelay during the 13th, 19th, and 21st Centuries Adviser: Julia Rosenbaum

This paper traces the evolution of Vézelay through its various incarnations from a premiere Christian pilgrimage site to a UNESCO World Heritage site. I begin with the 12th century, with the rise of Vézelay, work through the church’s “resurrection” during the 19th century, and finally provide a look at modern Vézelay as it exists under UNESCO.

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CHRISTOPHER RICHARDS Title: The Age of Tears: Rogier van der Weyden’s Descent from the Cross and its Lachrymose Contexts Adviser: Susan Merriam

My project is about tears. In the Middle Ages, tears were more than signs of grief or intense emotion. Tears could actively transform the body: curing blindness, causing blindness, or even puncturing and bloodying the body. Tears, a form of blood according to humoural theory, functioned ascetically and offered late-medieval Christians a restrained form of imitatio Christi. I argue that the restrained weeping of the witnesses in Rogier van der Weyden’s Descent from the Cross imitate Christ’s bleeding side-wound with their eyes. Furthermore, the side-wound functions as an eye, piercing the viewer with its gaze and willing him to weep in response. The entire painting pushes beyond itself, reaching towards the viewer, very much like a weeping eye or a bleeding wound.

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MONICA SEMCZYK Title: Patterning the Past: Arthur Szyk's Kaleidoscopic ReImagination of Historical Identity Adviser: Susan Aberth

Arthur Szyk was a Polish Jewish illustrator best known for the political cartoons he created during World War II. Today, his book illustrations are less well known, and this reception does not do justice to his contributions to art. His techniques as an illustrator surpass the publication techniques of the modern era, and he created his own unique style based on traditional manuscript illumination techniques. In my project, I focused on his illustrations for the Book of Esther. In his images, Szyk blends ancient Sarmatian, Assyrian, and Oriental influences to create a new backdrop for Esther's story. By combining these influences, he re-imagines what it means to be Jewish and Polish.

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NICOLE STEIN Title: Pedroland/Fantasyland: The Construction of Mexico at South of the Border and EPCOT's Mexico Pavilion Adviser: Susan Aberth

Pedroland/Fantasyland explores the various visual modes through which Mexico is popularly represented in American tourist attractions, specifically at South of the Border, a kitschy, run-down tourist trap in Dillon, South Carolina and the Mexico Pavilion at Disney World's EPCOT Center. The decor, architecture, advertising strategies, and mascots conceived of and employed by these American enclaves of amusement to convey "Mexicanness" are compared and critiqued, as a means to understand what Mexico means to middle-America in the twenty-first century.

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MADELINE TURNER Title: Pop Culture Catholicism: The Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, and Other Superstars of the transición española Adviser: Susan Aberth

Catholicism has a pervasive presence in Spain. In this study, I look at Catholic imagery during the turbulent and experimental transición española, the period between 19751985, when Spain transitioned from a dictatorship to a democracy. During the thirty years of dictatorship, the Franco regime made Golden Age representations of Catholicism into propaganda in order to control Spanish citizens. Through painting, photography, performance art, and illustrations, Spanish artists of the transición española reclaimed Catholicism by using Catholic imagery in order to reveal a camp sensibility, homoeroticism, and alternative gender roles. What was once used as propaganda was turned into freedom of speech.

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JEREMY ULMAN Title: “Outta My Way, Homes:” Domestic Discontent in NYC’s Graffiti Culture, ca. 1973 Adviser: Noah Chasin

This project is an evaluation of the relationship between graffiti and the built environment in New York City. From the late 1960s through the 1970s graffiti was, for better or for worse, a crucial visual aspect of life in the socio-economic periphery. Being an implicitly illegal act of vandalism, graffiti has encountered much criticism. I break down the origins of this revolutionary art form as it relates to the blight of impoverished communities and projects across the city. In particular, I address how the architecture and urban planning of these spaces created feelings of intense alienation for the youth of this era, and why graffiti emerged as the iconic form of artistic expression in these dilapidated communities. In addition, I discuss the evolution of styles, ideologies and methodologies that these young aspiring artists, or writers, practiced. In this project, I hoped to lead the reader to an appreciation of the dynamics and progression of this subversive and significant art movement.

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MADELINE WILLIAMSON Title: New Wilderness Adviser: Susan Merriam

The wilderness we know is no older than America. The offspring of eighteenth-century British romanticism and the nineteenth-century American frontier fantasy, the now-unanimous conception of a “pristine wilderness” was solidified in the United States between the World Wars. Soon after Frederick Law Olmsted’s introduction of the picturesque British landscape into the grid of America’s most rapidly growing city, a boom in domestic tourism and overhaul of the National Parks System confirmed this country’s expectations of Nature: as remote— physically or at least visually—from civilization as possible. In my paper I compare case studies of two recent projects—the High Line in Manhattan and Vintondale Reclamation Park in Pennsylvania—and argue that postindustrial landscape architecture is challenging America’s traditional definition of wilderness.

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The Alexander Klebanoff Award for Outstanding Achievement in Art History Awarded to a student whose Senior Project demonstrates extensive scholarship and daring originality in the area of modern art. —————————————————

Recipient announced at the College-Wide Senior Dinner

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The Jean French Art History Travel Award

An award given annually to second semester juniors in the Art History Program for expenses relating to their senior project. ____________________________________

Recipient 2012 Sebastian Sarmiento-Moreno

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Graduating Seniors! Don’t cry, you can stay in touch!

The Art History Alumni Association of Bard College invites you to become a member and stay connected. Please email the following Information: Name Mailing Address Email Address Telephone and/or Cell Phone Number Any Immediate future plans

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Faculty Susan Aberth, Chair Norton Batkin Teju Cole Noah Chasin Laurie Dahlberg Patricia Karetzky Susan Merriam Diana Depardo-Minsky Julia Rosenbaum Luc Sante Richard Suchenski Tom Wolf

Art History Department Fisher Arts Annex (845) 758-6822, ext. 7158

Bard Art History Projects 2012  

Updated senior projects program

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