Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Juliet Bellow organizes “If caa.reviews were performance.reviews”

Over the past year, Dr. Juliet Bellow has spearheaded a new initiative at caa.reviews, the College Art Association’s online reviews journal.  About the project, Dr. Bellow said the following:

“If caa.reviews were performance.reviews” is the first installment of a new initiative at caa.reviews to cover dance, performance, and other time-based media staged in museums and galleries.  The initiative grew out of my participation in a 2015 panel at CAA called “Dance in the Art Museum.”  It occurred to me that caa.reviews ought to seize the opportunity to engage with the increasing number and prominence of live events in the museum setting–and that, in covering such events, the journal could become a venue for art historians to carry on a cross-disciplinary dialogue with scholars of dance, performance, film, and music.  To that end, I commissioned three dance historians to write about Boris Charmatz’s marathon two-day intervention at the Tate Modern last year.  I’m excited not only about the content of those reviews, but also the format.  Wanting to capitalize on the fact that caa.reviews is the only one of CAA’s journals to be published entirely online, we used the digital platform Scalar to create a multimedia piece that includes images, video, and an interactive map.  My hope is that, in the future, all of caa.reviews‘ content can take better advantage of such digital resources!

Check out Dr. Bellow’s introduction to the project by following the link: http://scalar.usc.edu/works/caa/introduction

Congratulations, Dr. Bellow!



AU Art History Students take a tour at the Walters Art Museum with the Curator of Rare Books

On September 14th Dr. Joanne Allen took her Medieval Art class to the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Curator of Rare Books, Dr. Lynley Herbert, first gave the students a tour of her special exhibition ‘Waste Not: The Art of Medieval Recycling.’ The exhibition contains more than twenty objects, such as gold, stone, ivory, glass, and parchment—all drawn from the Walter’s collection—that display evidence of reuse.

Subsequently, Dr. Herbert gave students a private viewing opportunity with the highlights from the museum’s medieval manuscript collection. “I hope visitors will have a new appreciation for the rich histories behind medieval objects, and the cleverness of the craftsmen who made and transformed them,” she commented.

Student Spotlight: Virginia Lefler, Recipient of a Carol Bird Ravenal Award

Virginia (Ginny) Lefler, a second year Master’s student in the Art History program, received a Carol Bird Ravenal Award for international travel to help fund her research trip to London. Below, Ginny shares her experience with us:

“While in England I visited London, Birmingham, and Oxford in order to see several collections of Pre-Raphaelite artwork from the second half of the nineteenth century. For my thesis research I am primarily focusing on a set of Morris and Company tapestries from the 1890s, which are housed at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and depict King Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail. While the tapestries themselves are in permanent storage, I was able to see several preliminary sketches and other Pre-Raphaelite works in the museum’s collection. I also visited Oxford to see the Oxford Union Murals, a cycle from 1857 that also depicts the quest for the Grail. The Arthurian Revival in Victorian England was a major theme explored by the Pre-Raphaelites, and so many of their paintings, prints, and drawings depict scenes of King Arthur and his knights. In London I spent time at the William Morris Gallery, which owns many of Morris’s early works, and also visited most of the major museums in the city to see as much Pre-Raphaelite work that I could. In all, the trip was an incredible experience: I was able to study the works in person and to develop a fuller understanding of how and why they were made.”

Upcoming Event – Museum Careers: Pathways to Success with an M.A. Degree

On Friday, November 6 from 6:00 – 8:00PM, the AU Art History Program will be hosting a panel discussion with four Art History alumni/ae. Our guest alumni/ae will discuss how they found and gained their positions, how they built their skills and moved up from entry level jobs, and what they like best and found most challenging in the process.

Speakers will include:

Susan Breitkopf, Director of Corporate, Foundation, and Association Relations, National Building Museum (1998)

Paul Ruther, Director of Docent Education, Sackler-Freer Gallery (1998)

Olivia Kohler-Maga, Assistant Director, Luther W. Brady Gallery, GWU (2006)

Elizabeth Willson Christopher, Rights and Reproductions Coordinator, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution (2012)

The panel discussion will be followed by a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception that will give AU Art History alums and current M.A. students the chance to connect and network. Please R.S. V. P. to Professor Helen Langa at hlanga@american.edu

Mid-Atlantic Followup

Joshua Kamins in front of the National Gallery Entrance

Joshua Kamins in front of the National Gallery Entrance

Second-year masters student Joshua Kamins was one of eight graduate students who presented papers at the Forty-Fifth Annual Middle Atlantic Symposium in Art History earlier this month. Joshua’s paper, Among the Prophets: Michelangelo’s David is drawn from his current thesis research, and examines the David’s intended location at the Florence Cathedral in relation to Biblical and Renaissance sources. Josh was the sole masters student in a panel comprised of Ph.D candidates from the University of Virginia, Bryn Mawr College, and University of Maryland.

national gallery

Joshua and his fellow AU students at the conference

College of Arts and Sciences: 25th Annual Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference


The annual American University College of Arts and Sciences student research conference will take place next Saturday, March 28, at the Katzen Arts Center. Among the students presenting original scholarship are several Art History graduate and undergraduate students.


SESSION 1: Informing the Future

(9:00- 11:30 AM)

Sarah de Blasio, Senior, History and Art History: “Curating America’s Cultural Foreign Policy in WWII”

SESSION 2: A Body of Work

(10:45 AM-12:15 PM)

Anne Schroeder, Senior Art History: “An Analysis of the Figura Serpentinata Pose in the Works of Michelangelo Buonarroti”

Genevieve Stegner-Freitag, Senior Art History: “Nobody’s Perfect: A Macrobian Analysis of Titian’s The Bacchanal of the Andrains

Jennifer Wu, MA Candidate, Art History: “Sex and Spirituality in Lucas Cranach’s Nymph of the Spring

Elizabeth Mullen, MA Candidate, Art History: “Titian and Saint Sebastian’s Resurrected Body”

Session 3: Curling Up with a Good Book

(1:45-3:15 PM)

Catherine Vassaux, MA Candidate, Art History: “Powerful Flesh: Lucretius and the Body of Venus in Bronzino’s An Allegory of Venus and Cupid

Session 3: Docent

(1:45-3:15 PM)

Erica Bogese, MA Candidate, Art History: “Jacques-LouisDavid’s Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and His Wife: Self-Definition at the Dawn of the French Revolution”

Rebecca Blader, MA Candidate, Art History: “László Moholy-Nagy’s Photograms: Rejecting Tradition for Scientific Creativity”

The full 2015 conference program can be found here.