May 15, 2018

Getty Research Institute Announces 2018/1019 Scholars in Residence

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Amy Hood
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Getty Communications




Theaster Gates is the artist in residence for the year, which focuses on the theme of monumentality


Theaster Gates A Game of My Own, 2017 wood, paint, steel  240 x 120 x 26 inches (609.6 x 304.8 x 66 cm) This work was part of Theaster’s exhibition titled In the Tower: Theaster Gates: The Minor Arts March 5 – September 4, 2017 East Building, Tower - Gallery 501, National Gallery of Art, Washington 

LOS ANGELES – Every year since 1985, the Getty Research Institute (GRI) has brought scholars from all over the world to stay in Los Angeles and pursue their own research projects with support from the Getty. This year the GRI has selected 38 scholars from hundreds of applicants, most of whom will work on projects related to the 2018/2019 scholar theme, Monumentality. A group of scholars will also work at the Getty Villa, on research related to ancient Persia.

            The artist in residence will be Theaster Gates (American, b. 1973) who will join visiting scholars to conduct research for a project related to the theme “Monumentality.”

            “The Scholars Program is at the center of what we do at the Getty Research Institute,” said Andrew Perchuk, acting director of the Getty Research Institute. “This competitive program draws a range of scholars, from emerging to highly accomplished, whose practices, while diverse, often intersect in interesting ways. This year we have challenged our visiting scholars to work on monumentality, an especially timely theme now, as many Americans are passionately debating the roles of monuments in their own communities. And the Getty is engaging in the topic of monuments broadly, at the forefront of work across the globe to study and preserve cultural monuments, many of which are at risk from war, neglect, or environmental factors. Through this theme the study of our cultural history has immediate implications in the present.”

            This academic year’s GRI research theme, monumentality, refers to the way that both monuments and the monumental address fundamental questions of art and architectural history such as size and scale. For their proposals, applicants were encouraged to address monumentality in all of its distinct forms, as embodied by various cultures and powers throughout history. Research projects for the year include such topics as Qin archaeology and paleography, military architecture in 16th-century Italy, monuments to America’s slave past, mid-century modern architecture in Mexico City, and much more. The art historian Hal Foster will conduct research related to American artist Richard Serra.

            For a second year, the 2018/2019 term of the Getty Scholars Program at the Villa will address the political, intellectual, religious, and artistic relations between Persia, Greece, and Rome from the ninth century BC to AD 651. The Greeks viewed the Persian Empire, which reached from the borders of Greece to India, as a vastly wealthy and powerful rival and often as an existential threat. When the Macedonian king Alexander the Great defeated the Persians in 331 BC, Greek culture spread throughout the Near East, but native dynasties—first the Parthian (247 BC–AD 224) and then the Sasanian (AD 224–651)—soon reestablished themselves. The rise of the Roman Empire as a world power quickly brought it, too, into conflict with Persia, despite the common trade that flowed through their territories.

            “By bringing such a diverse group of researchers together under a broad theme we have found that exciting connections between subjects and researchers can occur. Often those connections lead to new projects or new ways of thinking about existing projects,” said Alexa Sekyra, head of the Scholars Program at the GRI. “The Scholars Program is very competitive and dynamic. Great things can be expected from our incoming group of scholars and I look forward to learning about their work.”


The incoming scholars and their projects are as follows:


Getty Scholars


Renee Ater is Associate Professor Emerita of History of Art at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focuses on 19th- and 20th-century American art.

Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past: Race, Memorialization, Public Space and Civic Engagement



Savino di Lernia is Associate Professor of African Prehistory at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. His research centers on Saharan pre-history.

Building the Saharan Landscape: Monuments and Monumentality among Prehistoric Herders



Edward Dimendberg (Consortium Scholar) is Professor of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine. His research focuses on modern architecture and urbanism.

The Los Angeles Project: Architectural and Urban Theories of a Non-Monumental Metropolis



Darby English is the Carl Darling Buck Professor at the University of Chicago. He specializes in modern and contemporary art and cultural studies. 

An Essay on Discomposure 



Hal Foster is Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, New Jersey. He specializes in modern and contemporary art and theory.

Richard Serra



Guolong Lai is Associate Professor of History of Art at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He specializes in early Chinese art and archaeology.

Monumentality and Empire in Qin Archaeology and Paleography



Stanislaus von Moos is Professor Emeritus of History of Art at University of Zürich, Switzerland. He specializes in 20th century architecture history. 




Mara Wade is Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on media theory and history.

The Politics of Culture: Public Monuments in the Free Imperial City, Nürnberg 1521–1620



Jung-Ah Woo is Associate Professor of Art History at Pohang University of Science and Technology, South Korea. She specializes in modern and contemporary art.

For the Love of the Fatherland: Monuments and Anti-Monuments of Korean Contemporary Art in the Age of Globalization



Connecting Art Histories Scholars


Celia Ghyka is Associate Professor of History and Theory of Architecture and Heritage Conservation at Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urban Planning, Bucharest, Romania. Her research focuses on contemporary art and architecture.

Reinventing the Pedestal. The ’When’ of Monumentality



Nicolás Kwiatkowski is Associate Professor of Problems of Cultural History at the National University of General San Martín and Associate Researcher at the National Council for Scientific Research in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His research centers on early modern cultural history.

Elephant Monuments in the Early Modern World



Michalis Olympios is Assistant Professor of History of Western Art at University of Cyprus. His research focuses on medieval art and architecture in Europe and the Mediterranean.  Architecture, Liturgy, and Commemoration at the Papal Collegiate Church of Saint-Urbain, Troyes



Kavita Singh is Professor of Arts and Aesthetics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. Her research focuses on the history of museums in colonial and post-colonial India and the history of Indian courtly paintings.




Predoctoral Fellows


Raino Isto is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Monumental Endeavors: Socialist Heritage and ’Weak Monumentality’ in Post Socialist Southeastern Europe



Cristobal Jacome-Moreno is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin.

Constructing Mexican Monumentality: Architecture in El Pedregal (1940–1952)



Morgan Ng is a PhD candidate in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Stratified City: Military Architecture and Urban Experience in Sixteenth-Century Italy



Samuel Omans is a PhD candidate in the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, New York.

Monumentality in El Lissitzky’s Theory of Spatial Form



Postdoctoral Fellows


Nikolas Drosos is an independent scholar based in Toronto, Canada. He specializes in 20th-century European art and architecture.

"Monumental-Decorative Art" under State Socialism



Elizabeth Kassler-Taub is Visiting Assistant Professor of Early Modern Art at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. She specializes in early modern architectural history.

At the Threshold of the Mediterranean: Architecture, Urbanism and Identity in Early Modern Sicily



Inderbir Riar is Associate Professor of Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism at Carleton University, Ontario, Canada. His research focuses on the architecture and urbanism of welfare states.

1948: Lewis Mumford, Monumentality, and the Crisis of Modernity



Guest Scholars


Theaster Gates (Artist-in-Residence) is an independent artist based in Chicago, Illinois. He is internationally renowned for his artistic installations related to social justice issues.

My Shirt and My Cloak—A History of Radical Philanthropy Through the Built Environment



Avinoam Shalem is Riggio Professor of History of the Arts of Islam and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Columbia University, New York. His research focuses on the cross-cultural exchanges in the Mediterranean Basin.

When Nature Becomes Ideology: Monuments, Landscape and the Sight of Memory


Robert Rollinger (Villa) is Professor of Ancient History and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Universität Innsbruck, Austria. He is a scholar of history and culture between the Aegean world and the ancient Near East.

Achaemenid Persia and the Ancient Near East




Museum Guest Scholars


Andrea Bayer is Jayne Wrightsman Curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Host Department: Paintings



David Bourgarit is Senior Archaeometallurgist at the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France (C2RMG) and Researcher at Laboratoire Préhistoire et Technologie, CNRS-Université Paris Ouest.

Host Department: Decorative Arts and Sculpture Conservation



Rika Burnham is Head of Education at The Frick Collection, New York.

Host Department: EPPIC



Ada Labriola is an independent scholar and curator based in Florence, Italy.

Host Department: Manuscripts



Sandra Phillips is Curator Emerita of Photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California.

Host Department: Photographs



Ruven Pillay is Research Scientist and Project Manager at the Centre de Recherche et de

Restauration des Musées de France (C2RMG).

Host Department: Antiquities Conservation



Rubina Raja is Professor of Classical Archaeology at Aarhus University, Denmark.

Host Department: Antiquities



Harriet Stratis is an independent scholar and conservator and former Senior Research Conservator at the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois.

Host Department: Paper Conservation



Catherine Whistler is Keeper of Western Art at the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, England.

Host Department: Drawings



Getty Scholars


Matthew Canepa (Villa) is Professor of Art History and Archaeology at the University of California, Irvine. He specializes in ancient Iranian art and archaeology.

The Iranian Royal Image and the Transformation of Eurasia’s Visual Cultures of Power



Zsuzsanna Gulácsi (Villa) is Professor of Art History and Comparative Cultural Studies at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff. Her research focuses on late antique Mesopotamia.

Dura from the East: Iranian Impact on the Formation of Religious Arts Across the Trade Routes of the Asian Continent during the 3rd–6th centuries CE



Stefan Hauser (Villa) is Professor of Archaeology and Ancient Mediterranean Culture at Universität Konstanz, Germany. He specializes in Near/Middle Eastern Archeology.

Plurality, Segregation and Integration: Transformations of Religious Systems in the Arsacid Period



Mogens Larsen (Villa) is Professor Emeritus of Assyriology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. His research centers on archaeology and Assyriology.

The Development of Neo-Assyrian Palatial Art, ca. 850–620 BC



Kathleen Lynch (Villa) is Professor of Classics at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. Her research focuses on Greek pottery from archaeological contexts.

Athenian Pottery in the Achaemenid Empire



Margaret Root (Villa) is Professor and Curator Emerita of Near Eastern and Classical Art and Archaeology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She specializes in the ancient Near East and Greece.

Persia and the Parthenon



Jason Schlude (Villa) is Associate Professor of Classics at the College of St. Benedict (St. Joseph) and St. John’s University (Collegeville), Minnesota. He specializes in history and archaeology of the Near East in the Roman period.

The Parthian Palimpsest: Arsacids, Romans, and the Politics of the Ancient Middle East



Henner von Hesberg (Villa) is former Director of the German Archaeological Institute, Berlin. His research focuses on archaeology of Greek cities in the Western Mediterranean.

Architectural Models and Small Terracotta Altars in Selinunt (Sicily) as Evidence in the Archaic Period (6th cent. BC)



Antigoni Zournatzi (Villa) is Director of Research at National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, Greece.  Her research focuses on Greco-Persian and Archaemenid studies.

The King’s Peoples and Lands: The Apadana Reliefs, Herodotean Ethnography and the Persian Imperial Lore



            More information about the Getty Scholars Program can be found at




The Getty Research Institute is an operating program of the J. Paul Getty Trust. It serves education in the broadest sense by increasing knowledge and understanding about art and its history through advanced research. The Research Institute provides intellectual leadership through its research, exhibition, and publication programs and provides service to a wide range of scholars worldwide through residencies, fellowships, online resources, and a Research Library. The Research Library—housed in the 201,000-square-foot Research Institute building designed by Richard Meier—is one of the largest art and architecture libraries in the world. The general library collections (secondary sources) include almost 900,000 volumes of books, periodicals, and auction catalogues encompassing the history of Western art and related fields in the humanities. The Research Library’s special collections include rare books, artists’ journals, sketchbooks, architectural drawings and models, photographs, and archival materials.

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.


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