This symposium will bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines and examine the objects and historical events depicted in American Perspectives to explore connections to the United States today.
Speakers include Stacy C. Hollander, exhibition curator; Madelyn Shaw, curator, National Museum of American History; Christopher Dylan Herbert, musicologist, William Paterson University; Emelie Gevalt, curator of folk art, American Folk Art Museum; Laura J. Ping, historian, Queens College; and Michael A. Chaney, professor, Dartmouth College. The symposium is moderated by Nalleli Guillen, Brooklyn Historical Society.
Session details and speaker abstracts will be announced closer to the program date.
Stacy C. Hollander is an award-winning curator and writer, and an authority on American self-taught art. She served as deputy director for curatorial affairs, chief curator, and director of exhibitions at the American Folk Art Museum until 2019. During her tenure, Hollander curated and cocurated numerous original, critically acclaimed exhibitions including most recently Charting the Divine Plan: The Art of Orra White Hitchcock (1796–1863) (2018), War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts from Military Fabrics (2017), Securing the Shadow: Posthumous Portraiture in America (2016), Self-Taught Genius (2015), and notably The Seduction of Light: Mark Rothko | Ammi Phillip: Compositions in Pink, Green, and Red (2008). She has published on a wide range of folk art topics in magazines, scholarly journals, catalogs, and encyclopedias, and has lectured in the United States and abroad. Hollander received her BA from Barnard College, Columbia University, and her MA in American Folk Art Studies from New York University.
Michael Alexander Chaney is a professor of English at Dartmouth College, specializing in nineteenth-century American literature and African American literature, mixed race representation, visual culture studies, autobiography, and comics and graphic novels. He is the author of Fugitive Vision: Slave Image and Black Identity in Antebellum Narrative (Indiana University Press, 2008) and Reading Lessons in Seeing: Mirrors, Masks, and Mazes in the Autobiographical Graphic Novel (University Press of Mississippi, 2017). He is the editor of Graphic Subjects: Critical Essays on Autobiography and Graphic Novels (University of Wisconsin Press, 2010). Chaney’s writings have appeared in a host of journals, both academic and creative. His artwork has hung in galleries in Cleveland, OH; Charleston, SC; Farmington, CT; Saugerties, NY: Naples, FL; and Overland Park, KS—and he doesn’t deny that you may have seen him in a TEDx video, waxing philosophic about graphic novels. His essays have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Fourth Genre, and Prairie Schooner, and his flash fictions have been published in DIAGRAM, Wigleaf, SmokeLong Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review, Epiphany, Fourteen Hills, Harpur Palate, Bat City Review, and The Minnesota Review. Recently, he finished an edited collection for Oxford University Press, titled Where Is All My Relation?, about Dave the Potter, an enslaved ceramicist and author from nineteenth century South Carolina.
Emelie Gevalt is curator of folk art at the American Folk Art Museum. She is currently pursuing her PhD in art history at the University of Delaware. Her research interests include eighteenth and nineteenth century American portraiture, painted furniture, and African American material culture; her work often looks at such earlier material through the lens of twentieth century histories of collecting and collective memory. Gevalt has previously held positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Christie’s, New York. She received her BA in art history and theater studies from Yale and her MA from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture. Her Winterthur thesis, on the topic of early eighteenth century painted chests from Taunton, Massachusetts, was recently published in Chipstone’s American Furniture.
Nalleli Guillen is a historian and project manager of the Revealing Long Island History project at the Brooklyn Historical Society, a collections and research initiative funded by the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation, which is dedicated to making BHS’s collection of Brooklyn and Long Island artifacts digitally available to the public for the first time. Nalleli received her PhD in the History of American Civilization in May 2018, and holds an MA in American Material Culture, both from the University of Delaware. She is a specialist in nineteenth century America with a particular interest in visual and material culture, race and ethnicity, and the impact of leisure and entertainment culture in shaping American society. Her dissertation, “‘The Humble, Though More Profitable Art’: Panoramic Spectacles in the American Entertainment World, 1794–1850” examined panorama exhibitions of the first half of the nineteenth century and revealed their place within the early American art economy, the business of popular entertainment, and the transatlantic interests of antebellum Americans.
Christopher Dylan Herbert is a musicologist and a baritone who performs frequently throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. He is a two-time GRAMMY nominee. He has soloed with The San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony, and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; performed with International Contemporary Ensemble and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street; and regularly presents Winterize, an outdoor adaptation of Winterreise with transistor radios. He frequently develops new opera and concert works, including commissions by Hannah Lash, Gregory Spears, Laura Kaminsky, and Ellen Reid. Dr. Herbert holds a BA in Music from Yale University, an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, and a DMA in Voice from The Juilliard School. He is the head of the voice program at William Paterson University in New Jersey, and he is the baritone in the critically acclaimed ensemble New York Polyphony. His current research focuses on the music of the eighteenth century Ephrata Cloister in Pennsylvania.
Laura J. Ping received her PhD in American History from The Graduate Center, City University of New York, in 2018. Ping’s dissertation, “Throwing off ‘the Draggling Dresses’: Women and Dress Reform, 1820–1900,” analyzes the cultural and political impact of the dress reform movement on the nineteenth century woman’s movement in the United States. Ping has been the recipient of research fellowships from Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library and the National Society of the Colonial Dames in the State of New York, and has been awarded the E.P. Thompson Dissertation Award, and the Advanced Research Collaborative Knickerbocker Award for Archival Research in American Studies. Her article, titled “‘He May Sneer at the Course We are Pursuing to Gain Justice’: Lydia Sayer Hasbrouck, The Sibyl and Corresponding about Women’s Suffrage,” was published in the Summer/Fall 2017 issue of New York History Journal. Ping is currently writing a coauthored biography of education reformer Catherine Beecher, which will be published by Routledge.
Madelyn Shaw is currently the curator of textiles at the National Museum of American History (NMAH), Smithsonian Institution. She specializes in the exploration of American history and culture through textiles and dress. Recent work includes the exhibition Everyday Luxury: Silk Quilts from the National Collection, at NMAH, and a digital humanities project, Fabric of War: A Hidden History of the Global Wool Trade, in conjunction with Australian documentary filmmaker Trish FitzSimons, for which she received a Fulbright award for research in Australia in 2019. She was lead author of an award-winning Civil War sesquicentennial book, Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War, and contributed the case study “H. R. Mallinson & Company” to American Silk: Entrepreneurs & Artifacts, 1830–1930, winner of the Millia Davenport Award. Shaw has previously held curatorial and administrative positions at the Museum at FIT, the Textile Museum, the RISD Museum, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and Heritage Museums and Gardens.
Images: Jug; Dave Drake (c. 1800–c. 1870); Lewis J. Miles, Stony Bluff Plantation pottery; Edgefield County, South Carolina; 1853; alkaline-glazed stoneware, 14 1/2 x 12 x 11 1/2 in.; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Sally and Paul Hawkins. Photo by John Parnell.
Rhoda Goodrich (Mrs. William Northrop) Bentley and Daughter; Ammi Phillips (1788–1865); Lebanon Springs, New York; 1815–1820; oil on canvas; 34 x 27 in.; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Ralph and Bobbi Terkowitz, 2018. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.