PhD Candidates


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Below is a partial (and growing!) list of PhD Candidates in the Art History Department. Email the Commons team to add your bio. For a full list of dissertations in progress, click here.

Leslie Anderson is a PhD Candidate in Art History and the Curator of European, American, and Regional Art at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Her dissertation examines the depiction of artistic practice in 19th-century Denmark. Funding for her research includes a Fulbright grant, an American-Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship, and a CUNY Chancellor’s Fellowship. She has published articles in Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide and Rutgers Art Review, and presented papers at the IFA-Frick Symposium and the College Art Association. Previously, Anderson-Perkins was a Curatorial Assistant and the Kress Interpretive Fellow at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. She held internships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Denmark. She has taught at Brooklyn College, Parsons the New School for Design, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, and the University of Indianapolis.

Karen Barber is a PhD Candidate in Art History, specializing in the history of photography. Her dissertation explores cameraless photography and its narrative in the 1920s. She has curated a range of exhibitions, presented papers, and written for a variety of museum and photography publications. Her fellowships include the William and Elizabeth Patterson Curatorial Fellowship in Photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Ralph M. Parsons Curatorial Fellowship in Photographic Studies at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and her current fellowship in Photography at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

Lindsay Caplan is a doctoral candidate in Art History, where she is writing her dissertation about early computer art in 1960s Italy. She holds an MA in Sociology from Queens College and a BA in American Studies from Wesleyan University. She has been a Humanities Fellow at The GC Center for the Humanities (2010–13), a Critical Studies Fellow in the Whitney Independent Study Program, (2011–12), and a Pre-doctoral Fellow for the Mellon Seminar in the Humanities at The Graduate Center (2103–14). Her writing has appeared in exhibition catalogues, the Scholar and the Feminist Online, e-flux journal, and an essay on algorithms in Italian art will appear in a forthcoming book on the neo-avant-garde in postwar Italy. For the 2015–16 academic year she will hold a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship.

Elizabeth DeRose is a PhD Candidate in Art History at the Graduate Center in New York. Her areas of specialization include Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art and 20th century printmaking. She is currently working on her dissertation Defying Graphic Tradition: Printmaking Strategies of Latin American Conceptualists (1963 – 1984). Prior to coming to the Graduate Center Ms. DeRose was the Florence B. Selden Assistant Curator in the Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Yale University Art Gallery. While there she curated two exhibitions: Jasper Johns: From Plate to Print and Making a Mark: Four Contemporary Artists in Print.

Annie Dell’Aria is a PhD Candidate in Art History at The Graduate Center, CUNY where she is completing her dissertation on the role of the moving image in contemporary public art. Her research interests straddle art history and cinema and media studies with an eye toward the popular and the public. She teaches courses on visual and material culture and moving images in contemporary art at Parsons and art history at Queensborough Community College. She has published on the relationship between space and design in Battlestar Galactica in Mediascapes and has three forthcoming articles for 2015. She has served as student representative and executive committee member of the Doctoral Students’ Council and received an M.Phil. from the Graduate Center in 2012 and a B.A. from Harvard in 2005. Blog / /LinkedIn

Nikolas Drosos is a PhD Candidate in Art History at the Graduate Center, having previously completed a MA at the Courtauld Institute of Art. His research focuses on art and architecture in Central-Eastern Europe during the post-1945 period. He is currently working on his dissertation entitled “Modernism with a Human Face: Synthesis of Art and Architecture in Eastern Europe, 1954-1958.” In 2007, he received a Fulbright scholarship, as well as a Chancellor’s Fellowship from the Graduate Center. He is currently in residence at Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, where he is the 2013-2015 Chester Dale predoctoral fellow.

Randall Edwards is a PhD Candidate in Art History at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He is currently writing his dissertation, “Dennis Oppenheim: Sites, 1967-75,” for which he was awarded a Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Dissertation Fellowship in American Art. Edwards has published in The Burlington Magazine and Sculpture Journal, and is a contributing essayist to The Art of Handwriting (Exh. cat., Archives of American Art/ Princeton Architectural Press, 2015). In addition to holding curatorial appointments at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Dia Art Foundation, he has taught at The City College of New York and Baruch College.

Media Farzin is a PhD Candidate in Art History at The Graduate Center, CUNY, whose research focuses on language-based art of the 1960s and 70s, especially issues of representation and distribution, such as exhibitions, photographic documentation, ephemera, and props.  She is completing her dissertation, titled “Theater, Artifice, and Opacity: Guy de Cointet and 1970s Performance” with Professor Siona Wilson. She has published extensively on contemporary art, and a collaborative art project with Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck, on cultural diplomacy and its modernist artifacts, has been exhibited in numerous venues internationally.  She teaches at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art and the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Michelle Millar Fisher is a doctoral candidate in Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center and a Curatorial Assistant in the Architecture + Design department at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She is currently also a Part-Time Lecturer at Parsons The New School for Design and is an invited lecturer at the Frick. She is also the co-founder of, a Kress-funded website that fosters peer-led, open access pedagogical exchange in art history teaching. Her research centers on social histories of architecture, contemporary art, museums, and the pedagogical turn, and her dissertation is titled “Nothing is Transmissible but Thought”: Le Corbusier’s Radiant City in Diaspora.” She is currently co-editing a book on collaboration in the visual arts and architecture, to be published by Courtauld Books Online in 2015.

Arnaud Gerspacher is a PhD Candidate in Art History at the Graduate Center, having previously completed MAs in Art History and Interdisciplinary World Literature at Case Western Reserve University.  His research focuses on the intersections between contemporary art, animal studies, philosophy, and ecological thought, and is currently writing a dissertation on nonhuman animals and posthumanist theory in French and Belgian art practices of the 1970s and 1980s.  He has taught courses at Brooklyn College, York College, and MoMA, and has been involved in a number of curatorial projects, including as researcher for Being Singular Plural at the Guggenheim in 2012 and as co-curator of [un]natural limits at the Austrian Cultural Forum, NY in 2013.

Cybèle Gontar is a PhD Candidate in American art and Predoctoral Fellow at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, where she is completing her dissertation “José Francisco Xavier de Salazar y Mendoza and Jacques Guillaume Lucien Amans: Portraiture, Identity, and Plantation Society in New Orleans, 1780-1880.” She has published in Common-place, The Interactive Journal of Early American Life and Metropolitan Museum Journal, and is a principal author of Furnishing Louisiana: Creole and Acadian Furniture, 1735-1835 (2010). She specializes in the art and material culture of the Gulf South; current curatorial projects include a catalogue about José Salazar (c. 1750-1802), who produced portraits in Spanish colonial New Orleans between 1785 and 1802. Article /

Saisha M. Grayson received her MA in Contemporary Art & Curatorial Studies from Columbia University and is currently a PhD Candidate at the Graduate Center, CUNY and Assistant Curator at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum.  Her studies focus on contemporary art, performance and feminist theory, and exhibition history, all of which factor into her in-progress dissertation, “Cellist, Catalyst, Collaborator: The Work of Charlotte Moorman, 1963-1980.”  Recent curatorial projects for the Brooklyn Museum include Chitra Ganesh: Eyes of Time and organizing their presentation of Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey. Brooklyn Museum /

Lee Hallman is a PhD Candidate in Art History. Her dissertation, a dual study of the painters Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff, explores the persistence of figurative painting and the landscape genre in twentieth-century British art. She has assisted with exhibitions at Tate Britain and the Museum of Modern Art, and recently contributed an essay to the catalogue Bare Life: London Artists Working from Life, 1950-80 (LWL Museum of Art and Culture, Münster, 2014). She writes regular reviews for The Burlington Magazine.

Naraelle Hohensee is a PhD Candidate in Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center, specializing in architectural history and the history of photography. She earned her MA in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University in 2008, and is currently an adjunct lecturer in the Comparative History of Ideas Program at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she also directs study abroad programs in Berlin and New York City. Her dissertation research looks at the ways that the design of the urban landscape in post-1990 Berlin intersects with issues of national identity, globalization, and the discourse of post-modern architectural theory.

Cara Jordan is a PhD Candidate in Art History, specializing in post-war public art in the United States. Her dissertation, “Joseph Beuys and Social Sculpture in the United States,” a selection of which appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of Public Art Dialogue, explores the role of Beuys’ theory of social sculpture in socially engaged projects in the U.S. Cara currently serves as editor of Peter Halley’s catalogue raisonné and assists in the production of public events at the GC. She has taught at CUNY’s Hunter College, Kingsborough Community College, and City College, and has curated numerous public art projects in New York.

Alice Lynn McMichael is writing a dissertation about the experience of Byzantine viewers in rock-cut architecture. She is currently a GC Digital Fellow (part of the Praxis Network), and is a former Hanns Swarzenski and Brigitte Horney Swarzenski Fellow of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her digital work has been a part of the GC’s New Media Lab since 2011, and she blogs at Documenting Cappadocia. She has taught at CCNY, Montclair State University, and Hunter College. She holds an MA in art history from Brooklyn College and a BFA in graphic design from Auburn University, and is a regular collaborator at Centotto.

Natalie Musteata is completing her dissertation on the post-war history of artist-curated exhibitions with Claire Bishop and David Joselit. She writes regularly for, and is a nominee for the Bonaldi Art Prize for curatorial innovation. Her past exhibitions include UNREST: Revolt against Reason, apexart, 2012, and if I can’t dance to it, it’s not my revolution, Haverford College, 2014. She has taught several classes on contemporary art with a focus on performance art history and social practice at the New School, and organized conferences and presented papers on exhibition history and socially-engaged art for such institutions as Centre Georges Pompidou, The Vera List Center for Art & Politics, College Art Association, and The Center for the Humanities, The Graduate Center.

Amy Raffel is a PhD candidate in Art History at The CUNY Graduate Center and is interested in artists’ use of marketing, merchandise and the mass media, and will focus on Keith Haring’s Pop Shop in her dissertation. She holds an Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellowship and has taught at Lehman College for the past four years. She earned her BA with honors from Penn State in 2007, completed her MA at the Institute of Fine Arts in 2010, and her M. Phil from the Graduate Center in 2013. She also works as a Genome Contributor for Artsy and editor for Art History Teaching Resources.

Morgan Ridler’s research explores the integration of art and architecture, particularly at the Bauhaus and in wall and mural painting practices.  Her dissertation “The Bauhaus Wall-Painting Workshop: Mural Painting to Wallpapering, Art to Product” examines the wall paintings, wallpaper and polychrome architecture at the Bauhaus, from 1919-1933. She earned an M.Phil. in 2012, and a B.A. at Syracuse University in 2006. She is currently an adjunct lecturer at St. Francis College, in Brooklyn. She is also involved in the management of her family’s gallery, The Little Big House Gallery, in Shelburne, Massachusetts. Morgan writes about her experiences with polychrome architecture on her blog Paint on Walls: Murals, Wall Painting and Polychrome Architecture.

Lauren Rosati is a PhD Candidate in Art History where she is completing her dissertation on sound, machines, and the inter-war avant-garde with Emily Braun and David Grubbs. She has curated exhibitions, organized conferences, and presented papers internationally on sound, new media, and performance for Exit Art; the Goethe-Institut; Columbia University; and the Weserburg Museum für Moderne Kunst, Germany, among others. She is currently the Director of ((audience)), a non-profit presentation organization for sound art and experimental music, and a Fellow in the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art.

Beth Saunders is a PhD Candidate in Art History, specializing in the history of photography. Her dissertation examines photography’s contribution to the development of Italian national identity during the Risorgimento. Beth’s fellowships include the Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a Joan and Stanford Alexander Grant from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the 2012-13 Marian and Andrew Heiskell Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize in Modern Italian Studies. She has published reviews in Photography and Culture and Exposures, and is a Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Hallie Scott is a PhD Candidate in Art History at the Graduate Center.  Her in-progress dissertation, “Teaching=Doing: Communication Pedagogy in California, 1966-1974,” focuses on experiments in interdisciplinary education. She is the Education Director at the Wassaic Project in Dutchess County, New York, where she oversees programs that foster collaborations between emerging artists and students at local public K-12 schools. Prior to joining the Wassaic Project, Hallie worked in the Curatorial Department at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts and at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. She has taught at Brooklyn College and City College and worked as a Writing Fellow at York College.