Vivien Green Fryd Awarded the 34th Annual Eldredge Prize for Her Book Against Our Will: Sexual Trauma in American Art Since 1970

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The Smithsonian American Art Museum has awarded the 34th annual Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in American Art to Vivien Green Fryd for her book Against Our Will: Sexual Trauma in American Art Since 1970 (Penn State University Press, 2019). Fryd was recognized by an independent panel for her innovative examination of the social history of artworks addressing pornography, domestic violence, incest and rape from the 1970s to the present. The panel noted the publication stands out given its “academic rigor, historical understanding and contemporary relevance that characterize the highest achievements in our field.”

Jurors for the $3,000 prize this year were Elizabeth Hutchinson, associate professor of American art history at Barnard College/Columbia University; Nizan Shaked, professor of contemporary art history, museum and curatorial studies at California State University, Long Beach; and Laura Kina, the Vincent de Paul Professor at the Art School of DePaul University.  

Jurors described the book as a “groundbreaking and timely study of sexual violence in American art. Deeply researched and clearly written, this brave and difficult book offers a capacious history of this important artistic subject in the late 20th century and establishes a foundation for understanding contemporary work that continues this tradition, inviting art historians working in all periods to confront the damaging tradition of silence around sexual violence.”

Fryd is a professor emerita in the history of art and architecture department at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of Art and Empire: The Politics of Ethnicity in the United States Capitol, 1815–1865 (Ohio University Press, 2001; reprint Yale University Press, 1992) and Art and the Crisis of Marriage: Georgia O’Keeffe and Edward Hopper (University of Chicago Press, 2003). She is currently writing another book manuscript tentatively titled Henry Ries’s Photographs of Berlin Iconic Buildings and Monuments, 1937–2004. In addition, Fryd has published essays in Panorama, Art Bulletin, American Art Journal, American Art and Winterthur Portfolio, among other publications. She received a doctorate in 1984 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

In conjunction with the award, Fryd will present the annual Eldredge Prize Lecture March 14, 2023. Details and more information will be available online. 

The Eldredge Prize, named in honor of the museum’s former director (1982–1988), is sponsored by the American Art Forum, a patrons’ support organization. This annual award, initiated in 1989, recognizes originality and thoroughness of research, excellence of writing and clarity of method. Single-author, book-length publications in the field of American art history appearing within the previous three calendar years are eligible. The deadline for nominations for the 2023 prize is Jan. 15, 2023.  

Recent Eldredge Prize recipients include Cherise Smith (2021) for her book Michael Ray Charles: A Retrospective, Linda Kim (2020) for her book Race Experts: Sculpture, Anthropology and the American Public in Malvina Hoffman’s “Races of Mankind” and Nizan Shaked (2019) for her book The Synthetic Proposition: Conceptualism and the Political Referent in Contemporary Art. A complete list of past winners is available online.

About the Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is home to one of the most significant and inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. The museum’s main building, located at Eighth and G Streets N.W., is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The museum’s Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft and decorative arts, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Check online for current hours and admission information. Admission is free. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Website: americanart.si.edu.

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