Fellows in Residence, 2011-2012

Anna Arabindan-Kesson

Terra Foundation for American Art Predoctoral Fellow, Yale University

Threads of Empire: Art and the Cotton Trade in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean Worlds, 1780–1900

In the nineteenth century, networks of trade and exchange—in particular those inscribed through the slave trade—continually shaped and inflected the material and artistic cultures of local and regional spaces in Britain and America. Scholarship on the complex historical interchanges of aesthetic forms and international trade during this time, as a rich global context from which to re-examine national art histories, constitutes a newly emerging field, and my study aims to add to this body of knowledge. My dissertation explores the visual significance of cotton fabric in the Atlantic world, weaving together its importance to the nineteenth-century Anglo-American and African-Asian trade in commodities and slavery with its legacy of complex aesthetic forms. Using five case studies that incorporate textile samples, paintings, prints, and drawings, alongside pattern books and written media, my project follows the trade in cotton between regions in Britain, the United States, the Caribbean, India, and West Africa. I use an art historical methodology, influenced by scholarship in material culture and the decorative arts, that foregrounds a close formal analysis of the transmission, translation, and innovation of style, form, and technique in the production of cotton fabric and its representation. I bring this analysis to bear on clarifying how aesthetic processes helped form, and were formed by, the historical processes of colonialism and trade culture, arguing that through these intersections we might emphasize the internationalism of British and American art in new ways. I aim to suggest new ways that art historians might approach the historical connection between art, objects, and ideas. My work compliments and extends scholarship in the fields of British and American art, African American studies and material culture in the hope of shaping a more global perspective on the scholarship and teaching of the art and material culture of the nineteenth century.

Sarah Beetham

Douglass Foundation Predoctoral Fellow, University of Delaware

Sculpting the Citizen Soldier: Reproduction and National Memory, 1865–1917

This dissertation examines the emergence of the citizen soldier monument in the decades following the Civil War: the proliferation of single figure statues, granite markers, obelisks, columns, and triumphal arches erected in honor of war veterans that appeared throughout American towns. A study of citizen soldier monuments presents the opportunity to understand the relationship between sculptural form and the formation of national memory during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Though these monuments were often criticized for their easy replicability and generic appearance, their very sameness may have been their most effective asset in connecting local traumas with national memory. The monuments examined in this dissertation include the early sculptural prototypes of James G. Batterson, Martin Milmore, and Randolph Rogers; the standardized output of foundries such as the McNeel Marble Works in Marietta, Georgia; Daniel Chester French’s Minuteman and the related phenomenon of Colonial Revival soldier monuments in connection with the nation’s centennial; and Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson’s Hiker, a Spanish-American War soldier monument so popular that it was reproduced nearly fifty times.

As my project will argue, the cities and small towns that built monuments to their citizen soldiers forged a connection between local loss and the broader national stage. The tall, straight specimens of white Victorian manhood rendered in granite and bronze encoded a battleground of ideas about why the Civil War was fought and how conflict should be remembered. Building on the scholarship of historians who have examined the Reconstruction era on a largely textual basis, I examine how the citizen soldier monument became one of the most important sculptural forms in the nineteenth century, and how sculpture’s unique ability to be copied became entwined with the monuments’ meaning.

Susanneh Bieber

Postdoctoral Fellow, Freie Universitaet Berlin

Construction Sites: American Artists Engage the Built Environment

My dissertation explores the work of American artists active during the 1960s and early ’70s who intertwined their practice with the contemporaneous conditions of the built environment. Central to my dissertation are selected projects by Christo and JeanneClaude, Robert Grosvenor, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Gordon Matta-Clark, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Smithson, Lawrence Weiner, and William T. Williams. Even though I distinguish between artwork and the built environment, I am interested in how these artists challenged such a division and opened possibilities for their own practice and for other protagonists active in our cities and suburbs. I argue that these artists used the forms, materials, and processes that were the prerogative of other professionals such as engineers, architects, urban planners, and preservationists, in a determined effort to expand their practice beyond the disciplinary confines of the visual arts and to gain broader public relevance.

I develop my argument in four chapters each analyzing a group of artworks clustered around a specific thematic approach to the built environment. First, I examine sculptural objects that took inspiration from large-scale engineering structures and the technological inventions that made them possible. The second chapter focuses on works in which artists engaged with the preservation, destruction, and historical meanings of monuments. This is followed in the third chapter by a discussion of artists who employed public and political processes typical of an urban construction project as an integral part of their art. The study concludes with an analysis of artistic practices that worked with leftover urban situations, making small yet meaningful modifications as an alternative to large urban planning schemes.

Alan C. Braddock

Senior Fellow, Temple University

Gun Vision: The Ballistic Imagination in American Art from Homer to O'Keeffe

This book project critically explores the relationship between art and arms in American culture from the Civil War to World War I, a period during which ballistic phenomena acquired new metaphorical meanings that implicated seeing with shooting in powerful and unprecedented ways. I have coined the term gun vision to designate that catalytic metaphorical relationship and the rich cultural discourse it produced—a discourse forged amid the technological revolutions of modernity, and yet so commonplace today as to seem primordial or timeless. Whenever we “shoot” a photograph, peer through a gun “sight,” or feel physically riveted by “bullet time” special effects in a Hollywood movie, such discourse speaks through us, but any number of other visual forms can similarly conflate or closely relate the act of looking with the explosive potential of ballistics. The discourse’s pervasiveness in our time bespeaks the naturalization of violence in American culture, including art, but it also reveals an important modern innovation in aesthetics and perception. Since the late nineteenth century, when the market for images became exponentially more diversified, industrial, and competitive through mass media and mechanical reproduction, artists have increasingly leveraged their ballistic imagination in order to make an impact and attract attention. The guns spectacularly pointed in our faces in recent works such as James Rosenquist’s Blue Nail or Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry (directed by Don Siegel), for example, belong to a tradition established by Winslow Homer, Charles Schreyvogel, Edwin S. Porter, and other post-Civil War artists whose works I examine. Although American artists were by no means alone in pursuing such ballistic effects, the peculiar configuration of historical factors in this country—frontier ideology, imperialism, and an extraordinarily productive arms industry—made the United States especially conducive to the invention of gun vision. That invention is the subject of my book.

Jenny Carson

Senior Fellow, Maryland Institute College of Art 

The Art and Studio of William Henry Rinehart

This study examines the life, art, and studio workshop of William Henry Rinehart, a Baltimore native who permanently established his studio in Rome in 1858. Considered one of the most talented sculptors of his generation, Rinehart’s work provides an important link between American neo-classicism and a more naturalistic aesthetic of the late nineteenth century. In spite of his importance, it has been over sixty years since an extensive study has been conducted on the artist, and his studio in Rome has been largely overlooked. My monographic manuscript on Rinehart will fully investigate his work in Rome, with a particular emphasis on the daily workings of his studio and the art produced there.

Rinehart’s studio records include account books, an inventory taken after his death that details both finished and unfinished works, a list of workmen and their salaries, strategies for finishing and selling remaining works, and receipts for sales and studio labor. Correspondence also reveals that in the months prior to and after his death, Rinehart’s studio was run by his close friend, British sculptor George Blackall Simonds. My method will be to closely analyze Rinehart’s sculptures in the context of their plaster models and written studio accounts in order to get a clearer picture of how a busy nineteenth-century sculpture studio operated. Viewing Rinehart’s art in the context of his collaborative workshop also allows us to consider questions of authorship, calling to mind concepts like “original” and “copy”; terms that were already in flux by the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Liam Considine

Sara Roby Predoctoral Fellow in Twentieth-Century American Realism, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

Innovation and Disavowal: American Pop Art in France, 1962–68

In what ways did the international dissemination of pop art affect artistic production in France between 1962 and 1968? In answering this question we must look beyond the center of the visual arts, as pop art became a wider social phenomenon that reordered cultural categories in France as it had in the US. Gaining exposure through the Sonnabend Gallery in Paris, as well as international art journals, advertising, and film, American pop art had a strong influence on artists and cultural producers in France faced with ongoing changes in mass media and everyday life. Beginning in 1962, pop art affected the continuation of anti-art practices of the prewar period, restaged with political concerns at the fore. However advertisers and new wave filmmakers also responded to the pop aesthetic, often times before visual artists. By examining uses of the pop aesthetic in specific instances at the center and periphery of the French art world, we gain a broader view of the ways in which pop art served as both a model and a foil for an art of social engagement. The art form most closely linked with the rise of American hegemony and capitalist advancement, pop art also played an unrecognized role in critiques of Americanization. My dissertation will show the ways in which Parisian artists and cultural producers utilized the pop aesthetic while adapting it to their own political ends, shaping the utopian social visions of May and June 1968.

Sophie Cras

 Terra Foundation for American Art Predoctoral Fellow, Sorbonne University

The Artist as an Economist: The Emergence of Economics as an Artistic Theme in Europe and in the United States (1955–75)

The goal of this fellowship is to complete two chapters of my doctoral dissertation dealing with the emergence of economics as a theme for contemporary art in Europe and in the United States from 1955 to 1975. The first chapter is focused on artists who emphasized the act and the place of selling in their work rather than the objects sold. The second chapter questions the way money became a primary motif in 1960s art. This research project involves three major methodological stakes. Firstly, it overlooks traditional artistic and geographic categories to build a demonstration that is not based on artistic movements nor national boundaries, but that emphasizes instead connections between diverse practices at an international level. Secondly, this research necessitates the use of a wide range of approaches—from iconography to textual or conceptual analysis—to propose convincing readings of very different artworks. Thirdly, this project is committed to interdisciplinary work: not only economic history, but also economic theory and philosophy, as well as anthropology and sociology, will be essential to my investigation of artistic practices involving economics as a theme.

The two chapters which I will complete at the Smithsonian are part of a general dissertation structure based on economic concepts. Questions of the marketplace, price, currency, the financial market, and finally, of the economic system as a whole, will constitute the five chapters of this dissertation. Each chapter will confront diverse artworks and artists from Europe and the United States. Artists’ fascination with selling and money (as a symbol or a visual motif) has already been the object of a few exhibitions in the past twenty years; however, these exhibitions have mainly focused on very recent art (1980s to present) and generally fail to historicize the moment of birth of these themes in international contemporary art.

Seth Feman

Patricia and Phillip Frost Predoctoral Fellow, College of William & Mary

Paintings in Place: Encountering Art in Washington's National Gallery, 1941–68

It is no longer acceptable in American art history to claim art is transcendent. In fact, the discipline’s putative objective—to situate art in its social, political, and cultural contexts—seems to oppose this notion directly. This is at least in part why art historians have failed to reckon with the ways many Americans experienced art for much of the twentieth century and still today. With rare exception, current research, whether explicitly or implicitly, works to debunk the widespread mythos of modern aesthetic experience, as if its foundational belief—that art is the immutable work of great genius and consequently “speaks for itself”—amounts to little more than blind faith.

In an effort to better historicize Americans’ aesthetic experiences, my dissertation reconstructs the immediacy of a number of artworks on display at the National Gallery of Art from its 1941 inauguration to its reorganization in 1968. As the federal government’s principal cultural arm concerned with “fine art” from the end of the New Deal until the mid-1960s (when it was joined, and in some ways displaced, by the Smithsonian’s revitalized National Collection of Fine Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts), the National Gallery played a leading roll in popularizing the notion of art’s transcendence among mid-century Americans. To examine this mode of art perception, I necessarily investigate its historical construction—that is, I study how the National Gallery’s donors, administrators, workers, and various publics encouraged a host of visualizing practices that enabled the belief in art’s transcendence to take hold. Yet, by recognizing this way of seeing art as a construct, I do not seek to dismiss it, but rather to use it in producing a fuller account of how individuals experienced specific works of art. For many, such artworks posed an evocative disruption to daily routines and expectations, an experience that held special resonance in mid-century America. At a moment when late modernity and its concept of history as a linear push forward made daily life seem all but fated, art’s ability to suspend or escape history was quite remarkable. In some cases, viewers found this art could wrest selfhood from an all too determinative history and the unfulfilled promises of modern America.

Bibiana Obler

James Renwick Postdoctoral Fellow in American Craft, George Washington University

The Anti-Craft Tradition

William Morris, a founding father of the arts and crafts movement, espoused socialism but produced luxury goods for the rich. Since the mid-nineteenth century, an engagement with handicraft has been seen as a potent vehicle of critique against industrialization, capitalism, and mass production, but it has also been highly susceptible to bourgeois appropriation. Witness the explosion of do-it-yourself activity fostered by Martha Stewart and the expansion of the Home Depot from 96 stores in 1998 to 2,224 today. It is the perennial challenge of the avant-garde to carve out a mode of production that sustains its counter-cultural force against the threat of cooptation. I would argue that one key strategy of the postwar American and European avant-garde involved an attraction to, but also a deep skepticism for, the use of handicraft as a means of social intervention. In a book entitled The Anti-Craft Tradition, I intend to trace a history of how and why artists have been increasingly drawn to craft and its negation over the course of the latter twentieth century and into the twenty-first century.

Until recently, the history of craft was relegated to art history’s margins, especially when it came to modern art. The Anti-Craft Tradition builds on recent research that takes seriously the intersections between so-called fine art and craft. I argue that the anti-craft tradition in particular constitutes an important but ignored strand of artistic practice that runs through modern and contemporary art and is currently gaining more adherents. Its practitioners are discreet about the intense simultaneity of their attraction to and unease with craft, but this tension cuts to the heart of modernism. It is discernable in the poles of the conventional art-historical narrative, which sets up Piet Mondrian’s rigorously reductive abstraction against Marcel Duchamp’s readymades, both versions of anti-craft in their supposed rejection of signs of the handmade, and both arguably flipping into the opposite with their obsessive attention to processes of making. The artists I focus on—Peter Voulkos, Rebecca Horn, Charles LeDray, and Michael Rakowitz—explore this dialectic in illuminating fullness.

Erin Pauwels

Wyeth Foundation Predoctoral Fellow, Indiana University

Impersonating Identity: Celebrity, Costume, and Dramatic Realism in Gilded Age American Portraiture

“Impersonating Identity: Celebrity, Costume, and Dramatic Realism in Gilded Age American Portraiture,” explores how the visual language of theater and the rise of celebrity culture impacted the practice of portraiture in the United States during the decades around the turn of the twentieth century. In the 1870s and 1880s a new “dramatic realism” emerged in American portraiture, emphasizing the expression of individual personality through the use of dynamic pose, unconventional costume, and evocative setting. This new representational approach bears a conceptual resemblance to the contemporary cult of personality in acting and a visual relationship to the mass-produced celebrity images that flooded American media at this time. I propose that these developments in the world of theater fundamentally changed the way that Americans conceived of themselves and constructed public identities through portraiture. Just as Gilded Age actors sought a more truthful level of performance by synthesizing their own personalities with the dramatic characters they portrayed, Gilded Age portraitists were expected to give their sitters star treatment by infusing realistic likeness with the drama of artistic vision to express a subject’s “true” character. By examining the use of theatrical devices like costume, distortion, and role-play in portraits by painters Thomas Eakins, William Merritt Chase, and John Singer Sargent; photographs by Napoleon Sarony and Jose Maria Mora; and caricatures by Thomas Nast and Joseph Keppler, this study offers an enhanced account of the way realism was understood by the artists and audiences of this period and provides new insight into the American experience at the dawn of the twentieth century.

Cory Pillen

Predoctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin-Madison

WPA Posters: A New Deal for Design

My dissertation focuses on posters produced by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Between 1935 and 1943, the WPA established poster divisions in more than seventeen states and printed over two million posters from thirty-five thousand designs. These posters, which were commissioned by government agencies to promote various social programs and services, engaged some of the most pressing concerns of Americans during the New Deal. My project is organized thematically and concentrates on five issues addressed repeatedly in the roughly 2000 extant WPA posters: recreation and leisure, conservation, health and disease, public housing, and service on the home front during World War II. My study, which is the first to address the posters in a broader cultural context, expands our understanding of the important role that visual culture played in the discourse surrounding public policy and social welfare during the period. Poster designers and the agencies commissioning their work were united in their desire to develop a visual rhetoric that would engage contemporary social needs and inspire action in the viewer. As my dissertation argues, this rhetoric was influenced by a commitment to efficiency, functionality, and revitalization that characterized the modernizing impulse of many New Deal agencies and contemporary attitudes regarding modern graphic design.

Lara Stein Pardo

CIC Predoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan

Artists, Aesthetics, and Migrations: Caribbean Women Artists in Miami, Florida, and the Aesthetics and Politics of Cultural Production

“Artists, Aesthetics, and Migrations” is an ethnographic study of women visual artists of Caribbean origin in Miami, Florida. The project address the questions: How do the artworks and life stories of immigrant artists help us to understand the changing landscape of art in the United States as well as the broader American experience? How do immigrant artists harness the power of being “in-between” to produce art and navigate the political economy of cultural production? What insights do we gain from studying the aesthetics and politics of contemporary artistic production in relation to migration and diaspora? My research focuses on contemporary artists from Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic who work in Miami, analyzing their artwork, personal experiences, and social contexts. The analysis is based on in-depth ethnographic fieldwork in Miami, Florida, a city shaped by its role as a hub of Latin American and Caribbean migration and trade. While most studies of immigration attend to labor and domestic work, this project turns attention to the field of artistic production. I seek to understand the interplay between immigration and visual art, with specific attention to their interconnections with gender, race, class, nationality, citizenship, and sexual orientation. I detail how these women negotiate their “in-between” positions as artists, mothers, teachers, Caribbean people, Americans, etc., and contend that they practice art as form of public engagement as a way to balance their multiple roles. I argue for an analysis of Caribbean women’s artwork through the lens of “diaspora aesthetics” rather than in terms of a one-to-one connection between the individual and his or her country of origin (e.g. “Cuban artist”), as is standard practice in discussions of migration and diaspora. This lens encompasses an art and aesthetic practice that reflects artists’ awareness of and commitments and connections to many places and people, and reveals the politics and conditions of artistic production.

Alex J. Taylor

Terra Foundation for American Art Predoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford

Forms of Persuasion: Art and Business Collaborations in the 1960s

In the 1960s, many major American corporations chose to align themselves with contemporary art. They installed it in their forecourts and foyers and used it in their advertisements and annual reports. They bought and commissioned artworks, developed exhibitions and toured them to museums across the country and across the world. Before corporate sponsorship became the mainstay of art museum funding in the decades that followed, collaborative projects that saw the nation’s most prominent artists working directly with big business were a favored communications tool for many American corporations including IBM, Container Corporation, Pepsi‐Cola Company, U.S. Steel, Chase Manhattan Bank, and Philip Morris. My doctoral research examines how business‐art collaborations of the 1960s turned art into a tool of the persuasion industry, supporting corporate strategy in advertising and public relations. The study considers how corporations worked with their advertising agencies, designers, and architects to use art as a marketing tool, and how prominent artists, dealers, and museums became active participants in the promotional art programs they conceived. Taking a socio‐cultural approach to these neglected projects, my research considers how relations between the artist and the corporation fuelled crucial period debates concerning the commercialism of art and the rising cultural influence of the persuasion industry.

Tatsiana Zhurauliova

Terra Foundation for American Art Predoctoral Fellow, Yale University

Arcadia Americana: Landscape in the Art of Arshile Gorky, Pavel Tchelitchew, and Yasuo Kuniyoshi during World War II

Between 1939 and 1945, the American mass media forged a link between war and images of terrain: maps interlaced with carefully drawn lines of troop movements, aerial photographs of battlefields, drawings of camouflaged cities and countryside. Already in August 1939, just a few days before the German invasion of Poland, Time reproduced the words of the Nazi theoretician Ewald Banse: “War…is above all things a geographical phenomenon. It is tied to the surface of the earth; it derives its material sustenance from it, and moves purposefully over it…” In the face of global catastrophe and destruction, the image of landscape became contested ground where national identity and international policy was defined and negotiated.

In my dissertation, I consider the changing attitudes towards landscape in American art during World War II. I focus on works by Arshile Gorky, Pavel Tchelitchew, and Yasuo Kuniyoshi that signal a move away from the idea of landscape rooted in local identity, as represented by the art of the Regionalists, towards the inscription of the local landscape into the larger temporal and spatial context, rendering it the locus of the global. I address the ways in which these artists complicate the portrayal of specific American locales by endowing them with memories of their native lands and people and by relating contemporaneous events to the history of earlier conflicts. The goal of this project is to bring together scholarship on art, trauma, displacement, identity politics, and geopolitical theory in order to examine wartime discourse on American identity and nationhood, as well as its relation to landscape painting.

Ayelet Zohar

Terra Foundation for American Art Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Haifa

Photography and Camouflage: An Exploration into the Photographic Materials in the Abbott Handerson Thayer Collection

My Ph.D. dissertation (Strategies of Camouflage: Invisibility and Multifocality in Contemporary Visual Arts, University of London, 2007) considered several ideas discussed by Abbott Handerson Thayer in his inquiry into the process of camouflage in the animal kingdom. Recently I’ve discovered that Thayer used photographs as a crucial tool in the process of articulating his theory of camouflage. Thayer’s work thus serves as an important link in establishing a specific connection between the photographic process and the strategies of camouflage. By considering Thayer’s photographs in relation to photography theory, while also taking into account the articulations and explanations offered by Thayer, this research will allow for an understanding of the specificity of the photographic process and how camouflage strategies can be a powerful tool in examining the value and qualities of photography in general, and contemporary photography in particular.

Other Smithsonian Fellowship Appointments in American Art

Emily Liebert

Predoctoral Fellow (at the Archives of American Art), Columbia University

Roles Recast: Eleanor Antin and the 1970s

“Roles Recast: Eleanor Antin and the 1970s” will provide the first book-length study devoted to the pivotal artist Eleanor Antin (b. 1935, New York). In particular, I explore the ways that embodiment and humor serve Antin’s feminist artistic project as she develops it across genres and mediums. Beyond the parameters of a single artist’s practice, my dissertation will show that Antin’s hybrid model of post-conceptualist feminist performance challenges the dominant accounts of late-twentieth-century American art history in two core ways. First, during the period under consideration, Antin’s work defies and undermines the categorical distinctions that have been established between conceptual art, performance art, and feminist art. Antin’s elusion of these categories is the starting point from which I posit a genealogy that accounts for some of the most important interdisciplinary art practices of this period. This genealogy in turn opens doors for our understanding of current art practices. Second, through my reading of Antin, I contest the feminist narratives that establish a chronological passage from essentialist body art in the 1970s to theoretically-grounded but bodyless art in the 1980s. Antin confounds this historical structure and productively instantiates a model of feminism in the arts that is not bound by style or time but instead acts as a set of embodied political positions.

Heather Shannon

Predoctoral Fellow (at the National Portrait Gallery), Rutgers University

Primitive Camera: Adam Clark Vroman and the American Southwest, 1895–1904

Between 1895 and 1904, Adam Clark Vroman (1859–1916), a bookstore owner from Pasadena, California, took eight photographic excursions to the Southwest Territories. Although his activity as a cameraman was relatively brief, his contemporaries nevertheless identified him as one of the most talented photographers working in the American West, and his reputation rivaled those of professionals like Edward S. Curtis and William Henry Jackson. These men famously used photography to secure images of a West lost to accelerated land development and acculturation of indigenous peoples. Yet Vroman largely avoided using his camera to construct idealized visions of the frontier. Indeed, in many ways his photography represents an alternative to widespread contemporary assumptions about American Indians. At a moment when photographic art and American Indian culture were widely described as primitive, as lacking the attributes of civilized art and culture, Vroman was sensitive to associations between his picturemaking processes and the Southwest Indian practices he photographed. Challenging topdown understandings of transcultural exchange, this dissertation traces the complex, and at times surprising, connections between Vroman’s working methods and American Indian customs and beliefs. By exploring the ritualistic and spiritual dimensions of Vroman’s photographic work, my project posits the anthropological underpinnings of photography’s critical reception in turn-of-the-century America.

Allison Stagg

Postdoctoral Fellow (at the National Portrait Gallery), University College London

The Art of Wit: Political Caricature in the United States, 1780–1830

This research project will be the first comprehensive study to analyze and interpret American political caricatures published in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston between 1780 and 1830. Caricatures published during the early Republic relied heavily on the format and design of graphic satires published in London; however, subject matter found in American satirical prints represent an early nationalistic American society. This study will concentrate on the underdeveloped field of exchange between satirical print cultures in the United States and England in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries by focusing on the early training and influences of the American-born caricaturist James Akin (1773−1846) and the Scottish-born caricaturist William Charles (1776−1820).

Despite the abundance of recent scholarship on caricatures published in London during this fifty-year period, art historians have largely ignored the wealth of contemporary satirical images published in the United States. This study will address that gross oversight by examining the engagement between political caricatures from the time period within a broader social and historical context. This research will develop and expand on evidence that supports the influence on satirical prints from other forms of art work within this period, namely from imported British prints, while also considering their impact on an emerging early American consumer market. Furthermore, this project will establish an art-historical context in which to place these American satirical images, a topic that has previously been neglected by the history of art discipline.

Hannah Wong

Predoctoral Fellow (at the National Portrait Gallery), University of Texas at Austin

A 'Funny Guy' Visits America: The Role of Humor in the Works of Francis Picabia, 1913–17

My dissertation examines the work of French artist Francis Picabia, particularly the work he produced during and in response to his three extended visits to New York City between 1913 and 1917. Although Picabia assigned humor a prominent role in his art and writing, even assuming the pen name, “Funny Guy,” his relationship to humor remains little studied. This project offers humor as a central critical lens for understanding Picabia’s artistic output and explores the historical and cultural contexts in which Picabia produced and circulated his work, namely avant-garde circles in pre-World War Paris and early-twentieth-century New York. It also revolves around three issues that characterize his work between 1913 and 1917: first, Picabia’s relationship with modern science and technology; second, his fascination with and regular depiction of the “young American girl”; and third, Picabia’s sophisticated engagement with the principles of caricature and subsequent work with mechanical object portraits.