Click here to go to the History of Art & Architecture website Make a Gift
UCSB HAA Fall 2020 Newsletter

Greetings, Everyone! 

We are thrilled to be back on campus in a “hybrid” state, with courses being taught in person and partially online.  Who would have thought that it would be so thrilling to see students walking to the library and to classes?  But after a year and a half of lockdown and all the adventures therein, it really seems like we have all become eager “freshmores” – the new parlance for first year students.

COVID time seems to have its own particular qualities, when events are both compressed and expanded like accordion pleats – this was 2020-21 in a nutshell.  The Department made it through a full year (and then some) of remote teaching and numerous pandemic-related challenges with great success!  While we’re not completely out of the woods, I want to thank all of those who made our pandemic lockdown manageable and productive in all kinds of ways:  the hard work and good will of our faculty, our students and our very hard-working staff made it possible to thrive in the face of greatest adversity.  I am grateful to all of you.  And as we look back on last spring, I’d like to congratulate the Class of 2021, with 75 undergraduate majors and minors, and three newly minted Ph.D.s: Drs. Virginia Reynolds Badgett, J.V. Decimvirale, and Laura diZerega!  Congratulations to all!

And other exciting things have been happening!  In September 2021, the Department successfully completed its search for a new faculty colleague and director of the Art, Design and Architecture Museum, and we welcomed Dr. Gabriel Ritter to campus this month. His curatorial experience, commitment to diversity, and expertise in global contemporary art, with a focus on Japanese and Korean art, bring exciting new possibilities to the campus and the department, especially in the area of Museum Studies.  Our efforts to strengthen collaboration and give the arts and our departmental cluster a more visible and diverse profile on campus have culminated in a major award for advancing diversity, largely thanks to Art Department Chair (2020-21) and Professor Kim Yasuda. Professor Yasuda, with co-PIs Professor Sylvester Ogbechie, AASC Director Juliana Bruno and myself secured the UCSB Arts and Racial Equity Commons Grant: Campus Communities of Practice Residencies. This is a 3-year award to establish diverse, practice-based arts and artists, as well as art and architectural historians interested in decolonial research a presence through programming and artist residencies.  We are looking forward to establishing a program of collaboration and mutual support within the cluster and with our colleagues in the arts across campus.  As the new academic year commences, the Department is ready to submit our new Games Minor, and we will begin to expand our Museum Studies Emphasis and Minor in January 2021.

Over the last year both HAA faculty and students have been busy! As you will see, a host of publications have come out over the last year, as books, chapters or articles, evidence that not even a pandemic can hold back meaningful and important research in the Department. Furthermore, three of our undergraduates – Elise Allari (2022), Noelle Barr (2021) and Helena Stanley (2022) were selected to join the scholarly society Phi Beta Kappa. This is a wonderful achievement, since it requires sustained academic excellence in two majors for nation-wide consideration. Spring 2021 saw the return of the Art History Graduate Student Association’s Symposium after a COVID-19-imposed hiatus in Spring 2019, with the stimulating theme, “Haunting the Canon:  The Superphenomena in Art.” The first issue of AHGSA’s react/review was published online through the University of California Press, a project that our grad students have developed into a regular publication, thanks to the efforts of Taylor Van Doorne and Felicity Good, with assistance from Professor Jenni Sorkin. As always, the symposium was a highly professional and informative, in keeping with the standards our graduate students have maintained over many years, and their new journal, with its dialog feature, provides a new and unique platform to track cutting edge research and exchanges.

This year we are filled with optimism and a renewed spirit of community, particularly after the great success of our first face to face Department party, held in the lovely backyard of Professor Peter Sturman:  beautiful weather, mask-free socializing (outdoors!), and excellent company!  We look forward to the days and months ahead! 

With all my best,

Laurie Monahan
Professor and Chair

We recently welcomed Dr. Gabriel Ritter to a dual role: Director of the Art, Design & Architecture Museum, and faculty member in our department.

Dr. Ritter joins us from Minneapolis, where he served as curator and head of contemporary art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. He previously held curatorial positions at the Dallas Museum of Art and at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles.

His areas of study and research focus on contemporary art, particularly that of Japan and Korea. In addition to developing courses in these areas, he is looking forward to expanding the department's minor in Museum Studies.

Read more about Dr. Ritter in this Current profile.

Professor Heather Badamo's upper division class, The Global Middle Ages (Winter 2021), had a virtual storeroom visit at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington D.C. The session was led by assistant curator, Dr. Elizabeth Dospĕl Williams, and the objects were handled by the collections manager, Carla Galfano.

To the right, Carla shows students a Byzantine crescent earring from the first half of the 10th century, gold with pearls. Students learned that this is the only complete set of earrings of this caliber that we have from the period, and that they would have been worn by someone in the imperial court - likely on ceremonial occasions.

While the pandemic has posed many challenges, there were also some unexpected and positive pedagogical surprises: remote teaching provided new opportunities to access expertise and objects across the country and internationally, with the kinds of initiative Prof. Badamo has taken!

In April 2021, a group of 80 art historians, artists, and scholars from across the UCSB campus and the country came together virtually to attend the Art History Graduate Student Association’s 45th Annual Academic Symposium. Titled "Haunting the Canon: The Super-phenomena in Art", the symposium’s topic emerged from a shared desire to explore magical, spiritual, and otherworldly themes in art. Co-organizers Sara Morris and Elizabeth Smith looked to recent scholarship that reexamines the canons of art history by reconsidering criteria for historical evidence.

In the opening keynote, Dr. Robb Hernández, Associate Professor of English at Fordham University in New York, reminded the audience of the ways Latinx art histories and archives haunt colonialist narratives. Dr. Hernández presented Latinx artists who refute cycles of violence and erasure through speculative aesthetics, which, as a strategy, imagine alternative futures beyond strictures of archives, borders, and citizenship. These ideas were echoed by the nine graduate student presenters invited to participate in one of three panels: “Decolonial Futurisms: Reimagining the Sacred,” “Otherworldly Bodies: Reenvisioning the Corporeal,” and “Paratextual Encounters: Reanimating the Archive.” Among them,our own graduate students participated: Ph.D. Candidate Claudia Grego March delivered her paper “Painting Viciously: Antonio Saura’s Monsters and The Francoist Dictatorship (1939-1975)”and doctoral student Victoria Jennings presented her M.A. research in the paper “I Sing the Body Magical: Baubo’s Apotropaic Power.” Graduate students from HAA and Art served as moderators for panel discussions centered on interdisciplinary methodologies—historical, social, political, cultural, scientific, technological—to engage new practices of alternate world-making.

Past Events:

Upcoming Events:

  • November 18, 5:30pm: Professor Volker Welter will speak on "Tremaine Houses: The Untold Story of the Mid-Century Santa Barbara Homes That Made Modern Architectural History" as part of the AD&A Museum's Kitchell-sponsored talks.
  • The 2021-22 Lecture Series will begin in January. The speakers are confirmed, with topics to be decided. Please check our Events page in the coming weeks for details. All talks will take place via Zoom.
    • January 27: Jordana Moore Saggese (University of Maryland)
    • March 3: Julie A. Harris (Independent Scholar)
    • April 7: Stephanie Porras (Tulane University)
    • April 28: Pamela Karimi (University of Massachusetts Darmouth)
    • May 12: Carolyn Dean (UC Santa Cruz)
Please check our website regularly for updates on our 2021-22 Lecture Series and other events

Professor Swati Chattopadhyay was invited to deliver the 2021 Eduard F. Sekler Talk, "Architectural History or a Geography of Small Spaces?" at the Society of Architectural Historians annual conference in April. Her Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians article “Blurring Boundaries: The Limits of ‘White Town' in Colonial Calcutta" from 2000 was selected as one of the most significant articles among the many contributions dating from 1941 included in the 80th anniversary issue of the JSAH, which is available through open access.

Professor Mark A. Meadow published a book chapter, “An Open and Shut Case: On the Dialectic of Secrecy and Access in the Early-Modern Kunstkammer,” in R. Dekoninck, A. Guiderdoni and W. Melion, eds.,Quid est secretum? Visual Representation of Secrets in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1700, Intersections, v. 65/2, Brill Publishers, 2020, 316-330. In Spring 2020, Prof. Meadow co-taught (with Prof. Rachael King, English) a Mellon Engaging Humanities-funded course on “Early Modern Media and the Invention of Facts.” In 2020, he received funding from the Mellon Foundation to design “Eccentric Images.” This innovative introductory course will use early modern anthropomorphic landscapes, trompe l’oeil, anamorphosis, chance imagery and other unusual types of images to help students understand how the interaction between artworks and viewers creates meaning and social identity.

Professor Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie contributed a book chapter titled “Ulli Beier, Cultural Brockerage and Cold War Parapolitics,” to the anthology Parapolitics: Cultural Freedom and the Cold War, published by Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, which examines how Cold War politics influenced European cultural brokerage in Africa in the Independence era (1950-1970). He published an essay titled “Of Yoruba Orisha, Sacred Groves, and Modernist/Contemporary Gesamkunstwerk” in The Olorisa Project photography book (a FotoFactory.Lagos publication); the essay reviews intersections between Austrian artists Suzanne Wenger (1915-2009) and contemporary photographer Eva Ocherbauer, and their engagements with the Osun Grove in Oshogbo, a UNESCO world heritage site devoted to the worship of the Yoruba river goddess. He presented three invited lectures, one for the 2021 Rewald Seminar at City University of New York and a second at New York University (NYU), both on Restitution of African Cultural Heritage.  A third, titled “Godbearer: Yoruba Orisha, Black Atlantic Modernisms, and Afrofuturist Imaginaries,” was presented at the UCSB Institute for the Study of Race, Religion and Revolution. He is currently a principal adviser to the UCLA Fowler Museum’s Research on African Collections project funded by a three-year Andrew W. Mellon grant.

Professor Jenni Sorkin's second book, Art in California (Thames & Hudson, 2021), just came out. During the 2021-22 academic year, she is in residence as the Getty Consortium Scholar at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.  In Winter 2022, she will teach the Consortium Seminar on-site, titled “Portrait Partials: Feminist Historiographies and the Emergency of Community”.

Professor Emeritus Fikret Yegul has published The Temple of Artemis at Sardis (Harvard University Press, 2020),comprised of a volume of text and a boxed volume of detailed fold-out drawings.

Residing in the Neighborhood: A Narrative of Tehran's Dowlat Neighborhood in the Naseri Era (1848-1896) (Matn Press, 2021) by Samira Fathi.

The Temple of Artemis at Sardis (Harvard University Press, 2020), a 2-volume monograph with foldouts, by Professor Emeritus Fikret Yegul.
Art in California (Thames & Hudson, 2021), by Professor Jenni Sorkin.
Graduate Student News

Samira Fathi's first book, Residing in the Neighborhood: A Narrative of Tehran's Dowlat Neighborhood in the Naseri Era (1848 -1896), was published in Iran in March 2021 (see above). The book is in Persian and based on her Master's thesis. She has also received the 2021 Center for Middle East Studies Summer Fellowship for the completion of chapter 4 of her dissertation. In January, she presented chapter 3 of her dissertation "Memory of a Pleasant City: Reclamation of Isfahan Through Chaharbaghs," at the Single-Slide Sohbat Conference held virtually at Yale University. Most recently she contributed an essay, in both English and Persian, to Platform, "Promenading in Isfahan's Chaharbaghs."

Felicity Good received a FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies) Fellowship from the University of Utah to participate in their intensive Summer Nahuatl program, related to her doctoral dissertation research.

In March, Holly Gore discussed her research in a virtual program for the Wharton Esherick Museum: “Curator Conversations: Woodworking, Labor, and Modernism with Holly Gore.” 

Claudia Grego-March received the Humanities & Social Sciences Research Grant from UCSB’s Graduate Division as well as the Albert and Elaine Borchard Europan Studies Fellowship for the 2021-22 academic year. This funding will allow her to conduct research at archives in Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, and Geneva for her dissertation “Betwixt and Between: Avant-Garde Art, Colonial Legacies, and Hispanic Solidarity in Late Francoist Spain (1962-1975)”. In November 2021, Claudia will be presenting her most recent work at the Modernist Studies Association 2021 Conference, and at the LXVI Annual Conference of the Anglo-Catalan Society. She will contribute her article “Painting Viciously: Antonio Saura’s Monsters and the Francoist Dictatorship (1939-1975)," to the forthcoming volume of react/review, and which she presented at the UCSB HAA Graduate Student Association's 45th Annual Academic Symposium.

Hannah Kagan-Moore received an Albert and Elaine Borchard European Studies Fellowship to support research in Germany on her dissertation, "Social Identity and the City in the Augsburger Monatsbilder."

Matthew Limb was awarded a Douglass Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which will support research on his dissertation, "'Living on the Edge': Craft, Land Use, and the American Environment" at the Smithsonian American Art Museum for one year. Check out Matthew's interview about his dissertation research in the April edition of the HFA newsletter.

Yun-chen (Clio) Lu received a 2021-22 Smithsonian Institution Predoctoral Fellowship to study at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery to complete her dissertation, "A Left-Turn to Artistic Eccentricity: Gao Fenghan (1683-1749) and Disability Art in Premodern Yangzhou." 

Mary Okin is conducting ongoing interviews with Wayne Thiebaud and completing her dissertation, "Painting in Place: Wayne Thiebaud in Postwar American Art," while continuing to work as a lecturer in the Humanities Honors Program at San Jose State University. In February, Mary attended the Association of the Historians of American Art's "Towards A More Inclusive Digital Art History" workshop where she and her Research Assistant, Celie Mitchard (HAA Alum, Class of 2019), presented preliminary data visualizations from Mining @ Tenth Street: Visualizing New York City's Tenth Street Studio Building, a digital humanities project that they will begin publishing next year. 

Ben Jameson-Ellsmore has received a Mendell Fellowship through the Walter H. Capps Center for research on his dissertation, "Hacker Spaces and Public Life." 

Henning von Mirbach has been awarded a doctoral fellowship from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation in support of his dissertation, "Landscapes of Memory: Fa Ruozhen (1613–1696) and the Making of Conquest Identities in Early Qing China." He was recently invited by the Center for Chinese Studies (CCS) at the National Central Library in Taipei to present (in Chinese) "Remembering the Family: Local Memories in the Landscape Paintings of Fa Ruozhen (1613-1696)" as part of his tenure as a visiting scholar at the CCS.

Mohammadreza Mirzaei published two articles during the spring and summer of 2021. The first article is published in the fifth issue of Italian Modern Art, which examines the importance of Marino Marini's oeuvre in the history of modern Italian sculpture. His essay titled "In Between Homage and Parody: On Relationships Between Bahman Mohassess and Marino Marini" investigates how Mohassess has used Marini's strategies to problematize the descriptive qualities of figurative painting. The second article is published in the latest issue of MIT Press's ARTMargins. Mirzaei's article titled "Introduction to Jalal Al-e Ahmad's "To Mohassess, For the Wall"" discusses the significance of Jalal Al-e Ahmad's criticism of Iranian painting in the 60s and his relationship with Bahman Mohassess. Mirzaei has also co-translated Jalal Al-e Ahmad's "To Mohassess, For the Wall" (with Dr. Arash Davari) from Persian into English for this issue of ARTMargins.

Sara Morris is the recipient of a 2021-2022 Predoctoral Fellowship in American Craft at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. in support of her dissertation research. Sara also contributed to the catalogue 45 Stories in Jewelry: 1947 to Now for the Museum of Arts and Design, New York and is co-curating the exhibition Table Flares: Signals of Social and Environmental Change for the Sonoma Community Center in 2022.

Taylor Van Doorne has been awarded a Chateaubriand Fellowship for the 2021-22 academic year, as well as a Humanities & Social Science Research grant from UCSB’s Graduate Division. These will support archival research in Paris on her dissertation “Ephemeral Monuments, the Modern French State, and the Parisian Public, 1789-1848.”

Rachel Winter received several fellowships to support her dissertation research and writing in the coming year, including a Humanities & Social Sciences Research Grant from the UCSB Graduate Division; the Decorative Arts Trust Research Grant; the Claudia Weitlanner Fellowship in the Arts from the UCSB Affiliates; the Albert and Elaine Borchard European Studies Fellowship; and the UCSB Center for Middle East Studies Summer Fellowship. These grants will support travel to London and Washington, D.C. for research on her dissertation “A Spectacle of Inclusion: The Rise of Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey in the United States and England, 1970-2020.” Rachel presented portions of her dissertation research at the 2021 College Art Association conference with her paper “The World of Islam Festival 45 Years Later: Finding the Contemporary,” and at the 2021 Getty Graduate Symposium with her paper “Exhibiting British Society at the 1976 World of Islam Festival."

Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander (Ph.D. 2018) co-edited with Marci Kwon a special "In the Round" section for Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art. "Asian American Art, Pasts and Futures", was published in June 2021, and features 11 original essays, including one authored by Alexander, "Asian American Art and the Obligation of Museums." The Asian American Art Initiative, which Alexander and Kwon co-direct, was recently awarded a Bank of America Art Conservation Grant for the treatment of 32 newly acquired works by Asian American artists.

VIrginia Reynolds Badgett (Ph.D. 2021) has been the Assistant Curator of Special Collections at the Boston Athenaeum since January 2020.

Maggie Bell's (Ph.D. 2019) temporary curatorial appointment at the Norton Simon Museum has now been made permanent. Her exhibition, “The Expressive Body: Memory, Devotion, Desire (1400-1750) is scheduled to open in October 2021. Maggie is also curating the Norton Simon’s first digital exhibition: "Representing Women: Gender and Portraiture in 17th-century Europe.”

Faya Causey (Ph.D. 1984) was recently elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in London. In addition she is an elected life-term board member of the Société Paul Cézanne, and a newly elected advisory board member of the Hillwood Museum in DC. She is also continuing for a second term as a board member of the Archaeological Institute of America, DC Society. She recently authored two essays for the 2020 exhibition catalogue (John Elderfield, ed.) Cézanne: Rock and Quarry Paintings which opened at Princeton in 2020. The online edition of Ancient Carved Ambers in the J. Paul Getty Museum was recently released, and she is currently finishing a book on ancient bronze statues as ritual deposits which she began as a Getty Scholar in 2017-2018.

In May, Charlene G. Garfinkle (Ph.D. 1996) presented an invited lecture, There is more to art than painting. Highlights of American Sculpture at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, to the SBMA Docent Council. Charlene has published a book chapter, “Charging Bull and Fearless Girl—A Dialogue,” in Teachable Monuments: Using Public Art to Spark Dialogue and Confront Controversies (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021).

Elizabeth Guffy (Ph.D. 1985) wrote an article for Places Journal (March 2021) entitled "Active Exclusion," about flaws in the Roosevelt Island accessibility design.

Lynne Horiuchi (Ph.D. 2005) was named a Fellow of the Society of Architectural Historians at the annual SAH conference, April 2021. Lynne is currently serving as the Secretary of the SAH Executive Board, and is the co-chair of the SAH Minority Scholars Affiliate Group and a member of the SAH IDEAS Committee.

Lynette Korenic (Ph.D. 2006) retired from her position as Head of the Kohler Art Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison after 21 years. Lyn was the Arts Librarian at UCSB from 1988-99.

John Senseney (Ph.D. 2002), Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Arizona, published an article, "The Architectural Origins of the Parthenon Frieze" in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 80, no. 1 (2021): 12-29.

Diva Zumaya (Ph.D. 2018), the Assistant Curator of European Painting and Sculpture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), was featured as "Curator in the Spotlight" by CODART, a professional organization for curators of Dutch and Flemish art worldwide. On April 9th, 2021, Diva delivered the virtual talk “Reflections on Re-envisioning LACMA’s Permanent Collection,” at the conference Exhibiting Slavery and Representing Black Lives—Art Museums and the Legacies of the Dutch Slave Trade: Curating Histories, Envisioning Futures, organized by Harvard Art Museums. Diva also served as a speaker on the panel "Changing the Culture of Silence" at the 2021 Virtual Art Curators Conference for the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC). 

Dear Alumni: please send your news of appointments, awards and other achievements - as well as contact information changes - to