Art professor named Smithsonian fellow

Madison Holmes

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Rachel Middleman has been chosen for a Smithsonian American Art Museum Fellowship, one of the most distinguished awards in American art in the nation. Photo courtesy of Chico State.

Chico State art professor Rachel Middleman has been chosen for a Smithsonian American Art Museum Fellowship, one of the most distinguished awards in American art in the nation, according to a press release.

Middleman, who came to Chico State in August, will have the opportunity to conduct research for her book project on women and art while spending spring semester at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Middleman, who has a doctorate in art history from the University of Southern California, teaches classes on art history and contemporary art at Chico State.

Out of 18 fellows-in-residence for the fellowship, Middleman is one of only two postdoctoral fellows.

At the institution, fellows receive support to investigate topics in American art and visual culture and are given access to a workspace near the museum.

The museum is a part of the Smithsonian Institution and is home to one of the largest collection of American art in the world.

“Radical Eroticism: Women, Art, and the Transformation of Sexual Aesthetics in the 1960s,” is Middleman’s book project. She 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 for the fellowship.

Madison Holmes can be reached at [email protected] or @madisonholmes95 on Twitter.

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