CSU, Chico News

Professor Selected for Smithsonian Art Fellowship

Date: 11-17-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
Rachel Middleman, professor
Department of Art and Art History

California State University, Chico art history professor Rachel Middleman has been selected for a Smithsonian American Art Museum Fellowship, one of the nation’s most distinguished awards in American art. She will spend the spring 2015 semester at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., conducting research for her book project on women and art.

Middleman, who joined the Department of Art and Art History in August, is one of 18 fellows in residence for spring 2015 and one of just two postdoctoral fellows. Scholars receive support to research topics in American art and visual culture and are given access to workstations and meeting space in a dedicated office near the American art museum.

In her book project, “Radical Eroticism: Women, Art, and the Transformation of Sexual Aesthetics in the 1960s,” Middleman argues that female artists revolutionized Western traditions of erotic art and the nude in the 1960s.

“Through their representations of sexuality, women challenged the history of art as a field controlled by male artists and patrons, defied the idealizing and narrative conventions of figurative art and commercial pornography, and rejected strict formalism by fusing social concerns with artistic practice,” she wrote in her application.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution, a complex of 19 museums, nine research centers and a zoo.

Middleman teaches courses in art history and contemporary art. She holds a doctorate in art history with a certificate in visual studies from the University of Southern California; a master’s in modern art history, theory and criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and a bachelor’s in philosophy from UC Santa Cruz.

Information about CSU, Chico’s Department of Art and Art History can be found at www.csuchico.edu/art.