History of Art and Architecture

Henry Skerritt

Advisor: 

Biography

Henry Skerritt is an art historian, curator and songwriter hailing from Perth in Western Australia. Skerritt is currently a doctoral candidate in the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2015, he edited the book No Boundaries: Aboriginal Australian Contemporary Abstract Painting published by Prestel Publishing and the Nevada Museum of Art, and was a consulting curator on the touring exhibition of the same name. Skerritt has written extensively on Aboriginal art and culture, including contributions to the publications Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art in Australia (Harvard Art Museums, 2016); Ngarra: The Texat Drawings (Mossenson Art Foundation, 2015); Double Desire: Transculturation and Indigenous Contemporary Art  (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2014); Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art (Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2012); and Menagerie: Contemporary Indigenous Sculpture (Object: Australian Centre for Contemporary Craft and Design, 2009). Skerritt’s writings have also appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including The Journal of Curatorial Stuides, Pacific Arts, Artlink, Art Monthly Australia, Art Guide Australia, Meanjin, and Artist Profile. Skerritt has been invited to deliver public lectures and presentations at numerous museums, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY), the Toledo Art Museum (Toledo, OH), the Pérez Art Museum Miami (Miami, FL), and the Nevada Art Museum (Reno, NV). In 2011, Skerritt curated the exhibition Experimental Gentlemen at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, and in 2016 he curated the exhibition Yimadoowarra: The Art of Loongkoonan at the Kluge-Ruhe Museum at the University of Virginia.

Selected Publications

No Boundaries: Aboriginal Australian Contemporary Abstract Painting. Reno and New York: Nevada Museum of Art and Prestel Publishing, 2014.

“Seeing Through Spencer: Gabriel Maralngurra’s Paintings of Baldwin Spencer.” Pacific Arts: The Journal of the Pacific Arts Association, 14, no.1-2 (2015): 106-119.

“Review: Sakahán: International Indigenous Art.” Journal of Curatorial Studies 3, no.2 and 3 (June-October, 2014): 397-401.

“A Stitch in Time: How Aboriginal Australian Artists are Reweaving Our World.” In Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art from Australia, edited by Stephen Gilchrist, 16-27. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2016. 

“The Biggest Name in all the World: Locating Ngarra in the Global Contemporary.” In Ngarra: The Texta Drawings, edited by Nick Tapper, 21-29. Perth: Mossenson Art Foundation Press, 2015. 

“Is Art History Any Use to Aboriginal Artists? Gabriel Maralngurra’s Contact Paintings.” Double Desire: Transculturation and Indigenous Contemporary Art, edited by Ian McLean, 223-241. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014.

“Strange Relatives: Negotiating the Borderlines in East Kimberley Painting.” In Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art, edited by Stephen Gilchrist, 97-107. Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2012.

Conference Papers

"Boundary Riders: Opacity, Relation and Aboriginality in Contemporary Art of the East Kimberley," Twenty-First Annual World History Association Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 27-30, 2012

‘Strange Relatives: Rethinking Cultural Exchange in the Art of the East Kimberley’, Australian and New Zealand Studies Association of North America, Annual Conference, Toronto, Canada, February 16-18, 2012

‘Old Way/New Way: Picturing a Kunwinjku Art History Through Contemporary Approaches to the Line’, Aesthetics and Techniques of Lines between Drawing and Writing, International Conference (CIHA Colloquium), Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max Planck-Institut, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy, 30 June-2 July 2011

‘Returning to Forgotten Fields: Landscape Art After The Field exhibition (National Gallery of Victoria, 1968)’, University of Melbourne Postgraduate Association Symposium, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, 2004

Education Details

Ph.D.(in progress)     
University of Pittsburgh, History of Art and Architecture Department. ABD: October 2015. Dissertation: When Time’s Arrows Collide: Historical Critique in Indigenous Contemporary Art.
Committee Members: Prof. Terry Smith, Prof. Kirk Savage, Prof. Josh Ellenbogen, and Prof. Fred R. Myers. 

M.A. (2013)   
University of Pittsburgh, History of Art and Architecture Department.
Thesis: “Art Historical Reflexivity and the Politics of Representation in Gabriel Maralngurra’s Contact Paintings (2002-2007)”

M.A. (2004)   
University of Melbourne, Master of Art Curatorship, School of Culture and Communication. Thesis: “The Figures and The Field: Refiguring National Identity in The Field exhibition (National Gallery of Victoria, 1968)”

B.A. hons (2002)
University of Western Australia, School of Architecture, Landscape and Fine Arts

Thesis: “Calling Australia Home: Nationalism and Suburbia in the Work of Howard Arkley”