Full Time Lecturer / Director of Community Engagement Initiatives
Art Education, Art History & Media Studies
College of Visual & Performing Arts 360A
Dr. Rebecca Uchill is an art historian and curator whose work focuses on the institutional conditions for art production, display and dissemination. Her research in the history and theory of modern and contemporary art and cultural stewardship appears in such journals as Journal of Art Historiography and Journal of Curatorial Studies. At CVPA, Uchill is the Director of Community Engagement Initiatives, supporting student, faculty, and staff engagement with community groups and partners, and overseeing artist residency opportunities in public practice. In this role, Uchill works in collaboration with the Labor Education Center, the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement, AHA (Art, History + Architecture) Night, New Bedford, and other local partners.
Uchill is an interdisciplinary scholar interested in science, philosophy, and material culture. Before coming to UMassD, Uchill was Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow with the Center for Art, Science & Technology at MIT, where she co-convened BEING MATERIAL, the second CAST symposium. She is co-editor of the book Being Material, which was published by MIT Press in October, 2019. Uchill is also co-editor of the first CAST publication, Experience: Culture, Cognition, and the Common Sense (MIT Press, 2016), for which she was the curator of its many multi-sensorial artist entries.
She also has decades of experience with museum and exhibition work, having worked as a curator and curatorial consultant for institutions including the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, the Decordova Sculpture Park and Museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and MASS MoCA. She was co-founder of the event-based-research/curatorial collective Experience Economies, where she focused on presenting research-based art commissions outside of conventional exhibition spaces. Currently, her exhibition Nancy Holt: Massachusetts is on view in two campus galleries. The exhibition was accompanied by a symposium event and other programming, supported by the Henry Luce Foundation’s American Art Program.
She currently has two primary research projects in process. The first is a history of contemporary museum theory concentrated on curator Alexander Dorner and the developing commodification of experience. Uchill’s research on Dorner has been published in books and journals including Architectural Theory Review, Future Anterior, and the edited volume Why Art Museums? The Unfinished Work of Alexander Dorner (MIT Press and RISD Museum, 2018). Uchill’s second project, “Cultural Property: Landlords, Landscapes, and Art in Place,” is a conceptual-material history of the category of “landscape” and its entanglements with the politics of place. The project explores the historical conditions for cultural production and stewardship of natural and built environments. Uchill has presented this work internationally in lectures, workshops, and exhibition formats, including as campus lead of Local Ecologies, a three-campus initiative with UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, and UMass Lowell that invited artists to explore the layered cultural and natural histories of resonant sites in Eastern Massachusetts. A digital, multimedia book documenting and extending the interdisciplinary research engagements, public programs, and artworks supported by this initiative is now in development with Amherst College Press.
Uchill holds a BA, summa cum laude, in Individualized Studies from the Gallatin School at New York University. She received her MA in Art History from Williams College. She completed her PhD in History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture at MIT. Her research, which has been presented internationally, has been awarded support from the Social Science Research Council, the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, the New England Society of Architectural Historians, and the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies.