Full Time Lecturer
Art Education, Art History & Media Studies
College of Visual & Performing Arts 360A
A thematic approach to the systematic study of art and architecture. Through intensive reading and discussion, students will work with formal, iconographic, and contextual methodology to produce research papers which consider critically social, economic, political, and/or religious structures that influence and formulate visual art traditions. Objects selected for study will be determined by the instructor.
A critical analysis of selected topics in art history which are not otherwise offered in catalogue listings. May be repeated with change of content.
Rebecca Uchill is an art historian and curator whose work focuses on the institutional conditions for art production, display and dissemination. Her work on the history and theory of curatorial and conservation practices appears in such journals as Journal of Art Historiography and Journal of Curatorial Studies. She is on the faculty of the Honors College.
She currently has two primary research projects in process. The first is a history of contemporary museum theory concentrated on curator Alexander Dorner and his attempts to train an audience in good citizenship, through what his intellectual hero John Dewey called “art as experience.” Uchill’s research on Dorner has been published in many venues 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). She is currently finishing a book manuscript with the working title “Alexander Dorner and the Politics of Experience.” Uchill’s second project, “Expanded Fields: Time, Space, and Subjectivities of the Anthropocene,” is a conceptual-material history of the category of “landscape” and its entanglements with the politics of place. Like the Dorner project, “Expanded Fields” considers the historical conditions for contemporary cultural production and stewardship of design for natural and built environments. Uchill has presented this work internationally in lectures, workshops, and exhibition formats, including a two-year appointment as campus lead of Local Ecologies, a three-campus initiative with UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, and UMass Lowell that invited artists’ perspectives on regional histories of industrial production, urban development, environmentalism, and social arrangements. Read the Boston Globe review of Local Ecologies here.
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.
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.