2024 Paoletti Travel Research Fellowships Announced!

The Art History Program is pleased to announce four Art History majors will be receiving the John T. Paoletti Travel Research Fellowship, which is awarded yearly to members of the junior class.

Valerie Gottridge ’25, Emily Petersdorf ’25 & Sophie Raiskin-Wood ’25

The purpose of the fellowship is to fund research related to an honors thesis during the summer before or winter of the senior year. It is intended for advanced students who have demonstrated a commitment to art historical study and a strong aptitude for writing and research. In addition to a solid background in art history, knowledge of relevant foreign languages, and the support of an art history faculty senior thesis advisor, recipients must have formulated an original, coherent, and methodologically informed research project related to the study of art objects, material culture, cultural sites, and/or architecture. Funds are primarily intended to be used for travel to archives and specific collections and/or sites; in select cases they may also be used to defray the cost of research materials, such as scans from archives and hard-to-find books. 

Congratulations to Valerie, Emily and Sophie! Read on to hear more details of their intended travel research.

Valerie Gottridge ’25

“‘Jane in Peepland’ : Jane Dickson, Times Square, and Guerilla Art

As Laurence Senelick details in Inventing Times Square: Commerce and Culture at the Crossroads of the World (1991), the Times Square of the 1980s proffers a particular collection of microcosms worth responding to: the sex industry, with its peep shows and adult movie theaters; public displays of so-called sexual deviancy; housing crises; drug use; consumerism and commercialism; policing; and the promise of destruction and recreation with the 42nd Street Development Project. Working in this environment of visual and sensory overload, Jane Dickson acted as artist-witness to Times Square. Toeing the line between the representational and the conceptual, Dickson produced work independently and with Colab, Fashion Moda, the Public Art Fund, and other New York artist collectives. Despite the fact that much work has been published on the aforementioned “art gangs” and their groundbreaking shows (i.e. Colab’s Real Estate Show and the Times Square Show in 1980), the specific contributions of Jane Dickson to these groups and works have not yet been discussed in a scholarly text. In my thesis project, I will address the interventions that Dickson’s solo and collaborative works make into the politics of public space, urbanity, and desire. Using Dickson’s archives, I hope to simultaneously track the trajectory of her career, the influences on and processes of key works, and her experimentation with medium and subject matter  — to ultimately situate her œuvre as part of the world of guerilla artmaking in New York and as a critical response to the shifting psychogeography of the city at the end of the twentieth century.

Emily Petersdorf ’25

“Dorothy Liebes: Textiles in Architecture and Interior Design”

Dorothy Liebes was one of the most prominent textile designers of the 20th century, with her work redefining American interior design in addition to being integral to the projects of many well-established architects. Known for her colorful and geometric designs, Liebes’s work spanned the realm of furniture design, interior decor, and fashion. Her style developed alongside American modernist visions and the introduction of numerous technologies that revolutionized the textile industry. Through this project, I aim to demonstrate the role of interior design and fiber arts in the development of modernist architecture in America. Not only is Liebes’s work significant to the history of fiber arts, but it was also influential for architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, resulting in multiple collaborations. I will be visiting Cooper Hewitt and using their exhibit “A Dark, a Light, a Bright: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes” as a reference for my research, with it being the first retrospective exhibition on Liebes in over 50 years. I will also be conducting research at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, as they have biographical material, writings and correspondences, and her artwork and samples. Through these archives, I will be able to contextualize Liebes and Wright’s relationship and better understand her textiles.

Sophie Raiskin-Wood ’25

“Centering the Body; Simone Leigh’s Artistic and Social Practice”

For my senior thesis I will research the contemporary artwork and social practice of Simone Leigh. Leigh is a multimedia sculpture artist, who has received worldwide attention after receiving the first artist commission for the New York High Line, representing the U.S. at the 2022 Venice Biennale, and having an on-going touring exhibition of her work at ICA Boston, the Smithsonian’s Hirshorn, and LACMA. Simone Leigh is best known for her large-scale sculptures of Black female figures, yet she also engages in a more hands-on activist practice by creating public health clinics inside of private cultural institutions. Her works Free People’s Medical Clinic at the Brooklyn Stuyvesant Mansion and Waiting Room at the New Museum provided free holistic health care. Both Simone Leigh’s artistic and social practices are focused on the body, women’s labor, and performance. I will explore the connections between Leigh’s social and artistic practice, specifically in the realm of reproductive health. Supported by John T. Paoletti Travel Research Fellowship, I will travel to Los Angeles, California this summer to visit the Simone Leigh survey exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the California African American Museum. 

Click here for more information on the Paoletti Travel Research Fellowship