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Meadows Ph.D. Art History Candidate to Speak in London on Contemporary Artist Richard Mosse

Gayle and Paul Stoffel Fellow Lauren Richman to present conference paper on Mosse’s The Enclave

Meadows PhD ARHS Student

Paul and Gayle Stoffel with Lauren Richman (center).

Thanks to one-on-one mentoring and the new endowed fellowship program for Meadows Art History Ph.D. candidates, first-year candidate Lauren Richman is making a trip to London for an annual research conference at Birkbeck/University of London, June 17-18, where she will present a paper on contemporary artist Richard Mosse.

The “History & Space” conference will concentrate on the exchange of ideas about developments in the field of historical geography, the relationship of place and time, the multiple connotations of “space” and the mapping of histories. Conference planners are inviting researchers to expand their concepts of “space” and are welcoming more abstract interpretations, such as space as a psychological arena in which people develop common identities while living in a world undergoing rapid technological advances.

Richman will speak on “House of Cards: Richard Mosse’s Revision of Imperial Space in The Enclave.” The Enclave consists of a six-channel video installation featuring still photographs as well as a non-narrative film covering the civil conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Richman says Mosse shot The Enclave using Kodak Aerochrome, a discontinued infrared film stock that was developed in conjunction with the U.S. military in the 1940s. “The analogue film was meant for aerial surveillance,” she says. “Aerochrome transforms vibrant greens found in living plant life into a kaleidoscopic array of pink, red, and purple tones. The result is a strangely dissociative and truly uncomfortable insight into the horrors of decades-long conflict that have been essentially opaque from foreign mass media interest.”

Richman’s doctoral focus is on modern and contemporary art, primarily of post-World War II Europe (specifically France and Germany). Her research interests include the histories of photography and film, the relationship between art and visual mass culture, historical aberrations of violence, and issues of surveillance, security, and mass media political interventions. She received her B.A. in the History of Art (minors in French and studio art) from Vanderbilt University in 2011. She has worked as an intern at the Art Institute of Chicago (Department of Photography); Leslie Hindman Auctioneers; New Orleans Museum of Art; and Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery.

The Ph.D. Fellowship in Art History at Meadows

As part of a larger “20/20” campaign, the goal of which is to steadily build the Art History Department’s Ph.D. program to be recognized as among the top 20 programs in the nation by the year 2020, three permanently endowed fellowships for Ph.D. candidates in the department have been secured: the Betrand and Julia Marie Whitehead Endowed Graduate Fellowship; the Ann and Lee Hobson Endowed Graduate Fellowship; and the Gayle and Paul Stoffel Fellowship. Richman was the first to receive the Stoffel Fellowship.

“The Stoffel Fellowship has given me a variety of unique opportunities, ones that are quite rare in the big picture of Ph.D. programs,” she says. “I was able to meet Gayle and Paul Stoffel at a departmental event last spring and it felt fantastic to be able to include them in my research and goals. They were kind enough to invite me to their home to have a look at works from their collection currently on display. It's been an incredibly enjoyable relationship to engage in and one that I hope will continue as I near the dissertation stage.”

In addition to the Fellowship, Richman and advisor Eric Stryker, assistant professor of Art History, designed Richman’s coursework to include one-on-one visits with scholars, a fall semester spent at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London (out of which the Mosse work emerged), and a summer spent at the Freie and Humboldt Universities in Berlin.

The Art History Ph.D. program at Meadows was launched in 2011 and is referred to as the “RASC/a” Ph.D. (derived from the Spanish vernacular for “scratch”) and stands for “Rhetorics of Art, Space, and Culture.” The department chose the unusual name to underline the commitment to shaping a small and dynamic graduate program that emphasizes close mentorship, innovative methodologies, and scholarship that challenges traditional disciplinary boundaries. The program builds upon the strengths of the faculty and area resources, with particular emphasis on historical and new media, visual technologies, architecture and the city, race and gender, and transnational scholarship.

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