As a scholar actively engaged in the study of Islamic geometric patterns, my current research focuses on the intersectionality of art and mathematics, and patterns in Islamic art and architecture as “geometry made manifest.” I am 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 I served as curator for Eastern Hemisphere Collections at The Textile Museum in Washington, DC, where I first began to study patterns in relation to textile technologies, which had developed extensively in the Islamic world prior to industrialization in Europe. My 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.
algorithmic aesthetics, Islamic art, Islamic architecture, Islamic ornament, Islamic geometric patterns, symmetry, symmetry-breaking, quasiperiodic patterns, Oriental carpets, textile technologies, history of textiles, crafts and technology
Center for Islamic Studies, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley CA: Research Scholar (2017-present); Visiting Scholar (2010-17)
The Textile Museum, George Washington University, Washington DC: Research Associate (2001-present); Curator, Eastern Hemisphere Collections (1987-2001); Associate Curator/Head of Department, Eastern Hemisphere Collections (1984-1987)
Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, Associate Editor (2017-present)
Center for the Arts & Religion, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley CA: Curator, Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired by Traditional Islamic Art (2017)
Textile Museum Journal, Co-editor (1992-2003)
Textile Society of America, President (2006-08)
University of Michigan, Institute for Humanities, Ann Arbor MI: Norman Freehling Visiting Professor (Fall 1998)
Publications and Exhibitions
Bier, Carol (2017) Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired by Traditional Islamic Art (Berkeley: Graduate Theological Union).
Bier, Carol (1997-2012) Symmetry and Pattern: The Art of Oriental Carpets http://mathforum.org/geometry/rugs/
Bier, Carol (1995) The Persian Velvets at Rosenborg (Copenhagen: Rosenborg Palace and Dadema Trading).
Bier, Carol, ed. (2018) Journal of Mathematics and the Arts: Special Issue Honouring the Memory of Reza Sarhangi (1952-2016), 12/2-3.
Bier, Carol, ed. (1986) Woven from the Soul, Spun from the Heart: Textile Arts of Safavid and Qajar Iran (Washington: The Textile Museum).