2012 Graduate Research Essay Prize Winners Announced

By the Archives
July 13, 2012

Meredith A. Brown and Jennifer Stettler Parsons were awarded the Archives of American Art Graduate Research Essay Prize funded by the Dedalus Foundation, Inc. This prize, in its inaugural year, recognizes compelling original research using the resources of the Archives of American Art as primary evidence and celebrates scholarship that lends itself to innovative online presentations. The annual competition is open to anyone enrolled in a graduate program in art history, visual culture, American studies or related fields.

In her award-winning essay, “The Enemies of Women’s Liberation in the Arts Will Be Crushed: A.I.R. Gallery’s Role in the American Feminist Art Movement,” Meredith A. Brown used oral histories, gallery records and artists’ personal papers to show how the A.I.R. Gallery exploited its historical position as the first women’s cooperative gallery to cultivate and influence the creation of other women’s arts organization across the United States. Brown recently received a doctorate in the history of art at the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London. Her essay is drawn from her dissertation, A History of A.I.R. Gallery: Feminism and the American Art Institution.

Jennifer Stettler Parsons’s winning entry, “Absence and Presence: Arthur Dove’s Paintings ‘From the Radio’” explores Dove’s personal diaries, correspondence and writings to shed new light on a pair of paintings, “The Moon Was Laughing at Me” (1937) and “Me and the Moon” (1937). Parsons is a doctoral student in the history of art and architecture at the University of Virginia’s McIntire Department of Art. Her concentrations are in modern and American art.

“Both authors used archival evidence in innovative ways to bolster engaging arguments,” said Liza Kirwin, acting director of the Archives. “This prize will alert graduate students to the depth of primary sources available online through the Archives’ website and underscore the creative potential of online publishing. We are deeply grateful to the Dedalus Foundation for their support of excellence in scholarship.”

Each winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000, publication of her essay on the Archives of American Art’s website and a one-year subscription to the Archives of American Art Journal.

The jury who selected Brown and Parsons for the 2012 honor are Michael Lobel, associate professor of art history and the director of the master’s program in modern and contemporary art, criticism and theory at Purchase College, State University of New York, and Betsy Fahlman, professor of art history at The School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.

The Archives of American Art is the world’s pre-eminent resource dedicated to collecting and preserving the papers and primary records of the visual arts in America.

Founded in 1981 by the artist Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), the Dedalus Foundation educates the public by fostering public understanding of modern art and modernism through its support of research, education, publications, and exhibitions in this field. For more information visit the foundation’s website at http://dedalusfoundation.org.