History of Art and Architecture

Fall 2013 Graduate Student News

Heidi Cook received a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship from the Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies last year. She completed her comprehensive exams and traveled to Zagreb, Croatia in the spring in to work on language and begin dissertation research. She was awarded both a Croatian Fulbright Research Grant and an American Councils Grant to fund her dissertation research for the 2013-2014 academic year. She accepted the American Councils Title VIII Advanced Research Grant, and recently returned to Zagreb to research the history of Croatian folk culture in early twentieth-century museums, ethnography, mass media, and visual arts. Her project is titled, “Representing the Peasant: The Croatian Question and the Politics of Depicting Croatian Folk Culture, 1860-1945.” In October, she will present a paper on “The NDH’s Vanishing Image of the Peasant” at a conference on “National Socialism and Regional Identity in Eastern Europe” in Berlin. Image: Heidi Cook in front of Crkva Svete Lucije (Chuch of St. Lucia) on the island of Krk, Croatia.


Jennifer Donnelly: This summer, the Dissertation Development Grant provided me with the opportunity to conduct preliminary dissertation research in Paris, France and London, England. My research focuses on the Musée des monuments français, a Parisian history museum between 1795 and 1816. The museum was composed of funerary monuments, sculptures, and architectural decorations confiscated during the French Revolution and assembled into a chronological sequence of century rooms. Movement through the century rooms emulated the palpable passage through a history of the rise and fall of French civilization. I am specifically interested in the use of physiognomy in the design and arrangement of the museum, and the intersection of notions of historical progress between architectural history and natural history in the early nineteenth century.  My work took me to diverse libraries and archives. Additionally, though the Musée des monuments français was closed in 1816, I was able view pieces of the former collection scattered among existing institutions in Paris. The month-long trip significantly deepened my understanding of the setting, history, and environment of the Musée des monuments français. I consulted manuscripts, drawings, and publications with the intention of developing my dissertation prospectus. The trip was an amazing learning experience for me and expanded my research goals. I am sincerely grateful to the Frick Fine Arts Department at the University of Pittsburgh and the Dissertation Development Grant for allowing me the privilege of this valuable experience.

Madeline Eschenburg had a busy year preparing for comprehensive exams and working on the departmental journal, Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture. Over the summer she used her Friends of Frick Fine Arts/ Wilkinson travel grant to present her research about artist Wen Fang at the symposium “Global Goes Local: Visualizing Regional Cultures in the Arts of Greater China” at Hong Kong Baptist University. While there she also had the chance to investigate the Hong Kong art scene and visit the Asia Art Archive to do preliminary research for her dissertation.

Nadav Hochman was awarded the Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship for 2013-2014.

James Jewitt won an Independent Research Grant on Venetian History and Culture from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

Rachel Miller was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship for 2013-2014 and a Kress Language School Fellowship to attend the Portuguese School at Middlebury in summer 2013.

Yuki Morishima presented her paper titled “Sennyūji Temple: Omission of Portraits of Japanese Empresses” at “Passages: Continuity and Change in the Arts of the Edo Period” conference at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel in May 2013. During her stay in Israel, she enjoyed a private tour of the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art in Haifa. Her travel to the conference was supported in part by grants from the Hebrew University and the Asian Studies Center at Pitt.

Meredith North is currently entering her second year of PhD work in the HAA department. Over the course of the past year, Meredith began working towards refining her work on postwar German artists in Frankfurt am Main. She presented an aspect of her Masters Thesis on Peter Roehr at the University of Pennsylvania’s annual German Film Symposium, as the as well as at the HAA Colloquium. She also used the department’s Dissertation Development Grant to continue research over the summer in Berlin, Venice, and Munich. In early summer of 2013, Meredith was offered, and accepted, the opportunity to participate in an academic exchange program between the German Department at the University of Pittsburgh and the Universität Augsburg. For the 2013-2014 academic year, Meredith will be pursuing her research in archives, museums, and studios around Germany. In addition to taking intensive German language classes, she is building vital relationships with the Art History department at the Universität Augsburg by attending classes, colloquia, and participating in museology and pedagogy workshops. If anyone happens to swing through Munich in the next year, please feel free to contact Meredith at men41@pitt.edu for Biergarten suggestions, museum excursions, or some friendly company!

This past summer, Benjamin Ogrodnik continued to explore the margins of the film-art axis in Berlin, Vienna, and New York City. In spring he was awarded the K. Leroy Irvis fellowship to interview pioneering post-1960's German and Austrian-based documentarians. He then received a DDG grant to extend this important work by visiting New York City-based media archives, Electronic Arts Intermix and Anthology Film Archives.  

Colleen O'Reilly is in her second year of the PhD program, and is continuing her research in the area of scientific images.  The Dissertation Development Grant and the Friends of Frick Fine Arts Grant allowed her to conduct two research trips in the spring and summer of 2013.  She was able to spend time in the New York Public Library in NYC, as well as in the Archives and Special Collections of the MIT library in Boston, working towards her dissertation on American photographer Berenice Abbott.  This year in the department she will be heading up the organizing committee of the HAA Graduate Symposium, which will take place in Fall 2014 and will be focused on the theme of visual knowledge.

In February, Elizabeth Self gave a presentation at Columbia University's Graduate Student Conference on East Asia on research related to her dissertation on 17th century women's mausoleums in Tokugawa Japan. In the summer, with the help of the Kawashima/Japanese Room Committee Scholarship and the Asian Study Center's Japan Studies Doctoral Research Grant, Elizabeth spent five weeks in Japan conducting preliminary research for her dissertation. Thanks to their generous support, she was able to spend many hours researching in the National Diet Library and at Waseda University, as well as traveling to the sites of mausoleums all throughout Japan. In the upcoming school year, Elizabeth will take her comprehensive exams and prepare to begin writing her dissertation.

In the past twelve months Henry Skerritt has traveled widely across the USA, Canada and the UK, researching the exhibition of contemporary Indigenous art. In April he delivered a paper at the Art History Graduate Symposium at Rutgers University; in May he presented at the School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex; and in August he presented at the Pacific Arts Association’s 11th Annual Conference at the University of British Columbia. In July he was also invited to deliver a lecture at the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio. In April, Henry was awarded his Masters from the History of Art and Architecture. He is currently revising his MA paper, which has been accepted for publication in the forthcoming anthology Indigenous Contemporary Art: Negotiation Intercultural Differences edited by Ian McLean. 

Sara Sumpter was awarded the Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Fellowship and the Monbukagakusho (MEXT) Research Student Scholarship for 2013.