Scholar and curator
Architectural History, Islamic Art, and Mathematics
Carol Bier is a scholar actively engaged in the study of Islamic geometric patterns. Her current research focuses on the intersectionality of art and mathematics, and patterns in Islamic art and architecture as “geometry made manifest.” She is interested in understanding the deep cultural significance of historic Islamic ornament, not as decorative and non-representational, but as expressive of geometry, representing an emergent intersection in the trajectories of the history of mathematics, history of architecture, and philosophy. From 1984-2001, Bier served as curator for Eastern Hemisphere Collections at The Textile Museum in Washington, DC, where she first began to study patterns in relation to textile technologies, which had developed extensively in the Islamic world prior to industrialization in Europe. Her publications reflect a strong interest in crafts and technology, and my most recent book (the catalogue of an exhibition), addresses the emergence of an algorithmic aesthetic in classical Islamic art and architecture.