60 College Ave., Rm 204
Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Art Contemporary Art
Ph.D. Columbia University
Follow on Twitter: @tatianaeflores
Joint Appointment with Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies
Executive Board, Center for Latin American Studies
Affiliated with the Critical Caribbean Studies Program
I am a modernist art historian committed to expanding the boundaries of modern and contemporary art history beyond mainstream models from Europe and the United States and to promoting the work of women artists. My first book, Mexico’s Revolutionary Avant-Gardes, investigates two related avant-garde movements that pondered the nature and function of modern art in post-revolutionary Mexico. Estridentismo (“Stridentism”) attempted to project Mexico into the international arena in the 1920s and advocated a global model of modernism in a country that was only beginning to embrace the concept of nationhood. Its offshoot ¡30-30! argued that avant-gardism needed to adopt an ethical dimension. Through them I challenge familiar tropes about post-revolutionary Mexican art—as an expression of national identity and specific political tendencies, as spearheaded by a select group of mural painters, as characterized by an overarching social realist style—to propose a novel reading that considers the Mexican avant-garde in a global context, defines its local idiosyncrasies, and recuperates the dynamism of an extraordinary decade.
My second book project in progress, Art and Visual Culture under Chávez examines visual production and cultural policy in Venezuela from 1998 to the present day as they have been developing under the controversial government of President Hugo Chávez, whose populist social movement known as the “Bolivarian Revolution” has polarized the country. Though in Venezuelan politics it is almost impossible to remain neutral, being a Venezuelan-American gives me an insider/outsider perspective that allows me to maintain a degree of critical distance from the object of my study. I was awarded the Cisneros fellowship at the Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University (2007-2008) in support of this research as well as a faculty fellowship from the Center of Cultural Analysis at Rutgers (2011-2012).
Curating exhibitions has been an integral part of my scholarly output for over ten years, as I staunchly believe that to be an effective historian of contemporary art, one must actively engage in the construction of the historical archive of the present. As curator at Latincollector Art Center (2001-2003), I was in charge of planning the exhibitions calendar and overseeing all the stages of exhibition production. These early experiences taught me the immense value of learning from living artists. I went on to curate national and international exhibitions exploring contemporary uses of artistic media, including painting in More Is Moreand installation in Space, Unlimited and Medios y ambientes, as well as regional approaches to contemporary art through two Caribbean themed exhibitions, Wrestling with the Image and Disillusions.
One of my guiding interests is historiography. Because my primary fields of Latin American and contemporary art are works in progress, I am very conscious of the ways in which they are being constructed. In my engagement with contemporary art, I underscore the methodological challenges involved in making sense of the art of the present. My historical research on Latin American art contests canonical accounts, acknowledges the significant gaps in our knowledge, and advocates for rigorous analysis of archival and primary sources. My work is also deeply informed by theoretical approaches, such as feminism, post-structuralism, and post-colonialism, that stem from an interdisciplinary and multicultural background.
My current undergraduate courses run the gamut from the introductory art history survey and “Introduction to Contemporary Art” to lecture classes on various topics in Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean art to such seminars in modern and contemporary art as “Art Now” and “Global Avant-Garde Movements of the Twentieth Century.” For the survey, with over one hundred students, I strive to be a dynamic lecturer who generates excitement and interest about the topics so as to encourage the students to pursue further study in art history. In smaller courses, I look for ways of sparking debates and animated conversations, perhaps by introducing controversial images or calling attention to divergent interpretations of a particular object. In the majors-only seminars, such as “Art Now” or “Approaches to Art History,” I include field trips to galleries and museums, and conversations with artists and curators to address practical concerns related to professionalization.
Modern Latin American Art
Contemporary Latin American Art
Art and Visual Culture of the Caribbean
Mexican and Mexican-American Art
Introduction to Contemporary Art
Introduction to Art History
Approaches to Art History
Art Now (seminar)
Global Avant-Garde Movements of the Twentieth Century (seminar)
Mexico’s Revolutionary Avant-Gardes: From Estridentismo to ¡30-30! . New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013.
Wrestling with the Image: Caribbean Interventions (with Christopher Cozier). Washington, D.C.: Art Museum of the Americas, 2011.
Disillusions: Gendered Visions of the Caribbean and its Diasporas. Edison, NJ: Middlesex County College Studio Theater Gallery, 2011.
More Is More: Maximalist Tendencies in Recent American Painting. Tallahassee, FL: FSU Museum of Art, 2007.
Rubens Gerchman: Four Decades. New York: Latincollector Art Center, 2002.
“Murales Estridentes: Tensions and Affinities between Estridentismo and Early Muralism” in Mexican Muralism: A Critical History, eds. Alejandro Anreus, Robin A. Greeley, and Leonard Folgarait. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2012, 108-124.
“Actual No. 1, or Manuel Maples Arce’s Fourteen Points” for Vanguardia Estridentista: Soporte de la estética posrevolucionaria. Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 2010, 31-80.
“Lola and Germán Cueto: Two Paths to Modernism in Post-Revolutionary Mexico” in Codo a codo: Parejas de artistas en México, ed. Dina Comisarenco Mirkin. Mexico City: Universidad Iberoamericana, forthcoming 2013.
Longer List of Publications
McHam, Sarah Blake
(848) 932-1244/ Cell: 732-616-1709
60 College Ave., Rm 103A
Italian Renaissance Art
Ph.D., Institute of Fine Arts
New York University
Professor McHam is a specialist in Italian painting and sculpture between 1200 and 1600. Her book on the influence of Pliny the Elder on Italian art and art theory was published by Yale University Press in February 2013. Recent publications include articles such as “The Eclectic Taste of the Gattamelata Family,” Venice/Padua, ed. Brigit Blass-Simmen, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017, 29-40; “The Triumph of the Church: Campagna’s High Altar at San Giorgio Maggiore,” Encountering the Renaissance: Essays in Honor of Gary Radke, ed. Molly Bourne and Victor Coonin, Zepherus Scholarly Publications, 2016, 279-92; “Donatello’s High Altar at the Santo and its Surroundings: Movement, Materials, and Meanings,” Making and Moving Sculpture in Early Modern Italy, ed. Kelley Helmstutler di Dio, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015, 9-24; “Visualizing the Immaculate Conception: Donatello, Francesco della Rovere and the High Altar and Choir-Screen at the Church of the Santo in Padua,” Renaissance Quarterly, 69.3, Fall 2016, 831-64.;“Antiquity as Cultural Capital in the Age of Giorgione,” Venice in the Renaissance: Essays in Honor of Patricia Fortini Brown, ed. Mary Frank and Blake de Maria, Milan: Five Continents, 2013, 83-93.
She also contributed to the exhibition and catalog, An Antiquity of Imagination : Tullio Lombardo and Venetian High Renaissance Sculpture, ed. Alison Luchs, to be held at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 4 July – 31 October 2009.
Her book, The Chapel of St. Anthony at the Santo and the Development of Venetian Renaissance Sculpture (Cambridge University Press, 1994), was the first historical assessment of the design and decoration of the burial chapel of St. Anthony of Padua, a major artistic commission of sixteenth-century Italy. She has also published many essays and articles on fifteenth-century and sixteenth-century sculpture and painting in Tuscany and in the Venetian Empire.
She has advised recently completed dissertations on such topics as Medici patronage of art in the Grand Duchy during the late 16th and early 17th century; the role of painted labels (cartellini) in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century painting; the painted illustrations of Virgil’s pastoral poetry; representations of the non-married ideal beloved in the Renaissance, and on the earliest representations of Mary Magdalen in Italy; Riccio’s reliefs at the Church of the Servi in Venice; Luca della Robbia’s glazed terracotta reliefs; Old Testament imagery in Italy’s maritime cities
Dr. McHam thanking her former students at the symposium they held in her honor on March 9, 2013
Recent Awards: Dr .McHam was honored by her current and former students with a symposium and published festschrift called the Scarlet Renaissance in 2013. Dr. McHam's book on Pliny won the Roland Bainton prize for the best art history book of 2013, awarded by the Sixteenth Century Studies Society. She was awarded the Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellowship at CASVA for 2014-2015, and declined an invitation to be a scholar in residence at the Istituto Universitario Olandese di Storia dell'Arte in Florence (2015). Professor McHam is the recipient of two Graduate Teaching Excellence Awards from the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools (2003) and from Rutgers University (2002).
Pliny and the Artistic Culture of the Italian Renaissance: The Legacy of the Natural History, Yale University Press, 2013
Looking At Italian Renaissance Sculpture, editor, Cambridge University Press, 1998; paperback edition 2000.
The Chapel of St. Anthony at the Santo and the Development of Venetian Renaissance Sculpture, Cambridge and New York, Cambridge University Press, 1994
Central Italian Sculpture, 1400-1500: An Annotated Bibliography, Boston, G.K. Hall, 1986
The Sculpture of Tullio Lombardo; Studies in Sources and Meaning, New York, Garland Press, 1978
“The Eclectic Taste of the Gattamelata Family,” Venice/Padua, ed. Brigit Blass-Simmen, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017, 29-40
“The Triumph of the Church: Campagna’s High Altar at San Giorgio Maggiore,” Encountering the Renaissance: Essays in Honor of Gary Radke, ed. Molly Bourne and Victor Coonin, Zepherus Scholarly Publications, 2016, 279-92
“Donatello’s High Altar at the Santo and its Surroundings: Movement, Materials, and Meanings,” Making and Moving Sculpture in Early Modern Italy, ed. Kelley Helmstutler di Dio, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015, 9-24
“Visualizing the Immaculate Conception: Donatello, Francesco della Rovere and the High Altar and Choir-Screen at the Church of the Santo in Padua,” Renaissance Quarterly, 69.3, Fall 2016, 831-64.
“Antiquity as Cultural Capital in the Age of Giorgione,” Venice in the Renaissance: Essays in Honor of Patricia Fortini Brown, ed. Mary Frank and Blake de Maria, Milan: Five Continents, 2013, 83-93.
“Pliny’s Influence on Vasari’s First Edition of the Lives,” Artibus et Historiae, 64 (2011), 9-23.
“Giambologna’s Equestrian Monument to Cosimo I: The Monument Makes the Memory,” Patronage and Italian Renaissance Sculpture, ed. Kathleen Wren Christian and David J. Drogin, Surrey: Ashgate, 2010, 195-222.
“Donatello’s Judith as the Emblem of God’s Chosen People,” The Sword of Judith: Judith Studies across the Disciplines, ed. Kevin R. Brine, Elena Ciletti and Henrike Lähnemann, Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2010, 307-24.
“Tomba come testamento: Il monumento funerario di Andrea Bregno,” Andrea Bregno: Il senso della forma nella cultura artistica del Rinascimento, ed. Claudio Strinati and Claudio Crescentini, Rome: Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali and Maschietto editore, 2009, 414-29.
“Reflections of Pliny in Giovanni Bellini’s Woman with a Mirror,” Artibus et Historiae, 58 (2008), 157-71.
"Renaissance Monuments to Favorite Sons," Renaissance Studies , 19, no. 4 (Sept. 2005), 458-486.
“Donatello’s Bronze David and Judith as Metaphors of Medici Rule in Florence,” The Art Bulletin, LXXXIII, March 2001, 32-47.
Recent Lectures and Activities:
Board Member, Save Venice
Invited Guest Editor, Artibus et Historiae
“Voids Matter: Donatello’s Lamentation,” Robert H. Smith Renaissance Sculpture Plenary Lecture, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, December 2016
“Where Did Piero di Cosimo Get His Ideas?” College Art Association Meetings, Boston, February 2016
“Falling in Love with Your Sitter,” Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, October 2015
“The Fantasia of the Cricket in Piero di Cosimo's Vulcan and Aeolus,” Istituto Olandese di Storia dell’Arte, Florence, September 2015
“The Most Extraordinary Altarpiece of the Fifteenth Century,” Museum of Biblical Art, May 2015
“The Value of Studying Pliny,” Institute for Advanced Study book Presentation by Former Members, Princeton, April 2015
“Gattamelata; Condottiere as Patron,” Renaissance Society of America Annual Meetings, Berlin, March 2015
“Would a Florentine Take On Paduan Ideas?: Donatello’s High Altar at the Santo, Colloquium at CASVA, January 2015
“Laocoonte, o Plinio vendicato,” Italian Art Society/ Kress Annual Lecture in Italy, Rome, May 2013
“Pliny Endorses the Unfinished Work of Art,” Renaissance Society of America Annual Meetings, San Diego, March 2013
“Pliny and the Birth of Disegno,” College Art Association Meetings, New York City, February 2013
“The Birth of Ekphrasis in Sculpture,” Seventh Quadrennial Italian Renaissance Sculpture Conference, Lawrence, Kansas, November 2012
“The Disputed Space of the Casino and Giambologna’s Samson and Philistine,” Renaissance Society of America Annual Meetings, Washington, D.C., March 2012 Keynote Speaker, “In the Shadow of Michelangelo: Giambologna’s Samson and Philistine Group,” Symposium Honoring Edward Olszewski, Cleveland Museum of Art, October 2011.
“Vasari’s Dialogue with Pliny,” Renaissance Society of America Annual Meetings, Montreal, March 2011.
“St. Mark Outside Venice; The Monumental Reliefs on the Facade of the Scuola di San Marco," Renaissance Society of America Annual Meetings, Chicago, March 2009.
"The Monument Makes the Memory: Ferdinando I's Monument to his Father Cosimo I," Piazza e Monumento Conference, Kunsthistorisches Institut, Florence, November 2008.
"The Armchair Traveler's Guide to the Ancient World: Renaissance Readers and Pliny's Natural History," "Travel, Trade, and Translation in Early Modern Europe," New England Renaissance Conference, Wesleyan University, October 2008.
"Donatello's Judith as an Emblem of God's Chosen People: The Statue's Political Meanings after 1495," Keynote Address, Sixth Quadrennial Italian Renaissance Sculpture Conference, Memphis, October 2008.
"Savonarola's Interpretation of Judith," The Sword of Judith Conference, New York Public Library, April 2008.
Louis Martz Plenary Lecture, "Inscriptions in Renaissance Art: Pliny Creates Cultural Capital," South-Central Renaissance Conference, March 2008.
Organizer and Chair, Six Sessions, "Renaissance Rulers Construct Identity," Renaissance Society of America Meetings, Chicago, April 2008.
Dr. Blake McHam supervising photography at the Santo in Padua
Seminar on Fourteenth through Sixteenth- Century Italian Images of Women and their Worlds
Selection Committee, Officers of the Renaissance Society of America, 2007-
Organizing Committee, Interdisciplinary Conference on the "Sword of Judith" and Adviser re establishing online sites organizing the NYPL's textual and visual resources related to the theme of Judith, New York Public Library, 2007-
" Piazza e Monumento" Project Planning Committee, Kunsthistorisches Institut, Florence, 2007-
Gordon Book Prize Committee, Renaissance Society of America, 2006, 2008.
Discipline Representative, Renaissance Society of America, 2005-11
Editorial Board, Renaissance Quarterly, 2005-
Longer list of publications
Current Interests & Research:
Revival of antiquity in Renaissance art and literature
--Social and political context of painting and sculpture of the Venetian Empire and of Florence, especially patronage and religious practices.
--Rhetorical Construction of Identity in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Italy
--Italy’s Interaction with the Muslim World
Undergraduate Classes Taught:
- --Birth of Renaissance Art
- --European Renaissance Art
- --Age of Giotto, Masaccio and his Contemporaries
- --Italian High Renaissance and Mannerist Art
- --Venice: The City and its Art
- --Italian Renaissance Domestic Art
- --Italian Renaissance Sculpture
- --Public Monuments, 19th-21st Centuries
- --Art and Politics in Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy
- --Sepulchral Monuments from Old Kingdom Egypt to Canova
- --Leonardo da Vinci
- --Domestic Art in Italy
- --Women in the Italian Renaissance
Graduate Classes Taught:
- --Italian Renaissance Images of Women and their Worlds
- --Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Italian Art “Images of Stability”
- --Altarpiece in Italy, 1400‑1520
- --Secular Art in Renaissance Italy
- --Thirteenth‑ and Fourteenth‑century Italian Sculpture
- --Fifteenth‑century Italian Sculpture
- --Sixteenth‑century Italian Sculpture
- --Interaction between Venetian Painting and Sculpture, 1450-1600
- --Central Italian Sixteenth‑Century Painting
- --Venetian Painting of the 15th and 16th Centuries
- --Late Sixteenth‑Century Sculpture and Painting in Central Italy
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