In 2014, with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, CCL launched a summer seminar intensive, which introduces art history doctoral candidates at the outset of their careers to the daily challenges and strategic questions of museum practice.
CCL Mellon Foundation Seminar 2019
Florida State University
Jennifer Baez specializes in the arts and visual culture of the early modern Ibero-Atlantic and Afro-Caribbean world (c.1500-1800), with a focus on aesthetics and practices of Christianity in late colonial contexts. Her dissertation explores miracle-making and the engagement of collective memory in eighteenth-century Hispaniola. She examines a series of cycles painted for the Virgin of Altagracia of rural Higüey to identify intersections between Marian piety, artistic practice, and the development of creole origin stories during the age of the Hispanic Enlightenment. Jennifer received her MA in art history from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Her thesis on the 1955 World’s Fair in Santo Domingo considered how the Trujillo regime fashioned national identity through a visual and performative program that (re)presented colonial architecture, natural space, and the laboring, racialized, and gendered body. As a Patricia Rose Doctoral Fellow at Florida State University, Jennifer taught the Arts of Africa and The Museum Object courses. She is a recipient of the International Dissertation Semester Research Fellowship from The Graduate School and the Mason Dissertation Research Award from the Department of Art History at FSU. Her research has also recently been funded by a generous Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation Travel Award.
Tina Barouti is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History of Art and Architecture at Boston University specializing in modern and contemporary African art. In 2015, she received her M.A. at Boston University, where she focused on photography during Algeria’s civil war of the nineties. In 2017-2018, Barouti conducted fieldwork in Morocco for her dissertation “A Critical Chronology: L’Institut National des Beaux-Arts in Tétouan from 1957 to the Age of Mohammed VI,” with the support of a U.S. Student Fulbright Fellowship, a Boston University Graduate Research Abroad Fellowship, and a Boston University Arts Initiative Graduate Arts Research Grant. Currently, Barouti serves as archival researcher for an upcoming exhibition on Moroccan art at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
Marlise Brown is a PhD candidate in Art History at Temple University specializing in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century art and architecture. She holds an MA in Art History from the Pennsylvania State University, where she also earned a BA in Integrative Arts with a concentration in Music and Art History. Her dissertation, “The Markgräfin’s Two Bodies: The Architecture and Performance of Wilhelmine’s Bayreuth,” examines the architectural commissions of Markgräfin Wilhelmine von Bayreuth (b. 1709, r. 1735–1758) and how the visual language and theatricality of her artistic program gave her agency to perform roles that were often at odds with her limited social and political powers as a woman consort. Currently, she teaches undergraduates at Temple University in addition to working at The Barnes Foundation as a member of the Art Team. Previously, she worked for the Philadelphia Museum of Art as a Spotlight Educator, The Walters Art Museum, and Palmer Museum of Art. She will spend the next academic year (2019-2020) in Heidelberg, Germany, on a Fulbright Fellowship.
Alicia Caticha is a PhD candidate in the history of art and architecture at the University of Virginia, specializing in eighteenth-century sculpture and decorative arts. Her dissertation, “Étienne-Maurice Falconet and the Matter of Sculpture: Marble, Porcelain, and Sugar in Eighteenth-Century Paris,” understands the sculptor as a key interlocutor between Enlightenment aesthetic theory and artisanal production outside of the academic sphere. Her research has been supported by the 24-month Chester Dale Fellowship from the Center for the Advanced Studies of the Visual Arts (2018-2020), the Decorative Arts Trust (2018), and the Newberry Library (2017). Alicia is interested in the broader relationship between popular culture and art history and has published on this topic in Eighteenth-Century Fiction and American Quarterly.
Joy Xiao Chen is a PhD candidate in the History of Art at the University of California, Los Angeles, specializing in Chinese art. Her dissertation examines the dynamics of localisms and regionalisms in literati artistic production during the dynastic transition period in imperial China. Her other research interests include prints making and travel culture in China. She received a BA with First Class Honors from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and an MA in Art History and the Certificate of Museum Studies from the Boston University in 2016. Prior to studying at UCLA, Joy worked as a curatorial assistant in the Art of Asia at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she assisted curating the Song Gallery and the “China’s 8 Brokens” exhibition. She has also served as the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 2019-2020, she will be a visiting scholar at the Zhejiang University in China and spend the spring in Taipei on a Taiwan Initiative Fellowship.
Caitlin Clerkin is a doctoral candidate in the University of Michigan’s Interdepartmental Program in Classical Art and Archaeology. She earned her A.B. in Classical Archaeology from Bowdoin College and her M.A. in Latin from the University of Georgia, Athens. Her dissertation focuses on archaeological and archival materials (and their afterlives) from the Hellenistic and Parthian city of Seleucia-on-the Tigris, in modern Iraq. She also is currently assistant ceramicist at the Omrit Settlement Excavation Project, a Roman-period site in northern Israel. Caitlin is also interested in critical cultural heritage and museum studies and practice. She was recently a graduate fellow at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She has also worked or interned at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, the Peary-MacMillian Arctic Museum, the Huntington Library, and the Historic Italian Hall Foundation. She is currently working on an archaeological gallery for an on-site heritage center at El-Kurru, Sudan, as a member of the International Kurru Archaeological Project.
Tara Contractor is a PhD Candidate at Yale University, specializing in nineteenth-century British art. Her dissertation, “British Gilt: Gold in Painting 1790-1914,” investigates gold as a defining material of the nineteenth century; a material through which artists explored the economics of empire, and their place within new, global art histories. Her research has been recognized with support from the Delaware Art Museum, the Huntington Library, and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. She previously received an MA with distinction from the Courtauld Institute of Art, and a BA from Scripps College, where she graduated summa cum laude. She previously worked at the Bruce Museum, where she was a Samuel H. Kress Interpretive Fellow. She currently works at the Brooklyn Museum, where she is a curatorial intern, and at the Yale Center for British Art, where she is a guest curator of the upcoming exhibition, Unto this Last: Two Hundred Years of John Ruskin (opening September 2019).
Kendall DeBoer is a PhD student in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester, where she specializes in 20th-century outlier artists, surrealism, and craft. Her dissertation explores works characterized by artifice, ornamentation, excess, and theatricality. She foregrounds representations of metamorphosis, and deals extensively with works made from unconventional materials, such as cellophane, human hair, and vegetal fibers. Previously, she received three Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Texas at Austin (Art History, English, and French), and she synthesizes this interdisciplinary background in her current research. In 2018, she was the Windgate Museum Intern at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where she collaboratively curated “Mending: Craft and Community,” which displays craft objects that utilize formal and metaphorical mending as an act of transformation. Currently, she is a project assistant at the William Blake Archive, works on the editorial board of InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture, and is developing her amateur practice in wheel-thrown ceramics. She formerly interned at the Harry Ransom Center, the Blanton Museum of Art, and the Contemporary Austin.
Kiara Hill is a Ph.D. candidate in the W.E.B. DuBois Department of African American Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where she also received a graduate certificate in Public History from the Department of History. She received her B.A. in Mass Communications from Sacramento State University and her M.A. in Women’s Studies from the University of Alabama. Kiara’s dissertation explores the role of Black women cultural workers during the Black Arts Movement, and the Black arts institutions they founded and organized in the Northeastern United States. Kiara has worked on curatorial projects in the Pioneer Valley and has curated two exhibitions at the University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS: 5 Takes on African Art / 42 Flags by Fred Wilson and Speak to Me of Rivers: An Exploration of Race, Identity and Lived Experience in Contemporary African American Art.
CCL Mellon Foundation Seminar 2019
Sharrissa Iqbal is a PhD Candidate in Visual Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She specializes in American art with a focus on the history of artistic abstraction on the West Coast. Her dissertation examines the intersecting histories of modern physics and abstract artwork in twentieth century Los Angeles through case studies on the artistic practices of Helen Lundeberg, Mary Corse, and Frederick Eversley. This research has been awarded a 2019-2020 Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship in American Art, and is supported by the Huntington Library’s Dibner Research Fellowship in the History of Science and Technology. Sharrissa has interned in the education departments of the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the De Young Museum. She has worked at the Oakland Museum of California, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and conducted curatorial research at the Orange County Museum of Art. Most recently, she led public gallery tours at UC Irvine’s Institute and Museum for California Art as a graduate student docent. After earning her B.A. in Art History from the University of Southern California, Sharrissa received her M.A. in the History and Theory of Contemporary Art from the San Francisco Art Institute.
Clare Kobasa is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, where she specializes in southern European Renaissance and Baroque art. Her dissertation, entitled “Sacred Impressions: Printmaking in seventeenth-century Sicily”, focuses on the adoption of intaglio printmaking to negotiate concerns and potentials around sacred images in Palermo and Messina. Clare earned a BA in history and art history from Swarthmore College and held internships at the Yale University Art Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From 2016-2018, she was a doctoral fellow at the Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome. She currently serves as the 2018-2020 Suzanne Andrée Curatorial Fellow in Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Elizabeth Lee is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in East Asian art history and archaeology at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. Her dissertation examines the role of rock-carved images of the Buddha in the spatial narratives and ritual practices of Koryŏ period (918-1392 CE) Buddhism. She is currently engaged in a digital humanities project using mapping technologies to identify significant patterns in the geospatial context of immovable Buddhist sculpture on the peninsular landscape. This project will expand to include sites in Shandong and Dunhuang - reflecting her interest in cross-cultural exchange through trade routes. In addition to medieval Buddhism, she is also interested in modern and contemporary East Asian art. She has served as Visiting Research Scholar at the Dunhuang Academy in Gansu (China), curator to a private gallery in Seoul (South Korea), and as a volunteer research associate at the National Palace Museum in Taipei (Taiwan).
Adam Harris Levine is a PhD candidate at Columbia University’s department of Art History and Archeology, where he studies medieval and renaissance sculpture. His dissertation, “Divine Gifts: Relics and Reliquaries at the Court of Charles V” examines a group of reliquary busts of women saints that were made in the Low Countries in the 1520s for the collections of Spanish noblemen. Adam has a bachelor’s degree in Art History and Spanish Literature from McGill University (Montreal) and a master’s degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art (London). He published the findings of his master’s research in a special issue of the Sculpture Journal dedicated to recent developments in gothic ivory studies. Recently, Adam worked in the European Department at the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), where he provided research support for exhibitions, collecting history, and provenance. He has held internships at the Met Cloisters, the DUMBO Arts Center, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Adam is Chief Operating Officer for VISTAS, a small non-profit organization that supports the publication of books on the history of sculpture.
Melissa M. Ramos Borges is a PhD candidate in the Programa de Estudios artísticos, literarios y culturales of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid specializing in Puerto Rican contemporary art. In her dissertation “Oversight or Censorship: A Review of the Artistic Avant-Garde in Puerto Rico, 1960-1970”, she seeks to correct misconceptions regarding the experimental art produced in the island by rescuing and unveiling a large -but mostly unexamined- body of work created by a group of Puerto Rican artists. Although these artists addressed local issues and reacted to shared social contexts, local colleagues considered them transgressors and questioned their Puerto Ricanness (puertorriqueñidad) which, she argues, contributed to posteriori-censoring by art historians. She holds a BA in History of Latin American and Caribbean Art from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, a BA in Art History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a MA in Contemporary Art History and Visual Culture from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Melissa is an adjunct professor at the Art History Program at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. She has curated and co-curated exhibitions in various institutions in her native Puerto Rico.
Danny Smith is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University where he studies medieval Italian art. His dissertation, “Dreaming in Public in Late Medieval Rome,” considers monumental depictions of dreams and dreaming in thirteenth-century Rome within shifting theological, scientific, and political conceptions of dreaming in the Middle Ages. Prior to Stanford, Danny held curatorial internships at the Williams College Museum of Art and deCordova Sculpture Park + Museum and served as a studio assistant for the conceptual artist Jenny Holzer. He received a BA in Art History and Studio Art from Carleton College and an MA from the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
CCL Mellon Foundation Seminar 2019
Hannah Yohalem is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. She is currently completing her dissertation, “Movement and Arrest: Jasper Johns, 1954-1968.” The dissertation argues that a sustained engagement with restricted motion structured Johns’s early art, which not only illuminates his entire corpus, but also clarifies the historical relationship between bodily restriction and mobility and art in the United States in the 1950s and ‘60s. Her research has been supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, while her writing has appeared in Dance Research Journal, Performa Magazine, and a forthcoming edition of MoMA Highlights: 350 Works from the Museum of Modern Art. Hannah has run educational programming at the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico as well as interning in curatorial departments at MoMA and the National Gallery. She holds a BA in Art and Architecture from Harvard University.