Current Grad Students in History of Art

Emily Alesandrini

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Emily Alesandrini is an art historian, curator, and advocate working in Philadelphia and New York. A second-year graduate student in the History of Art department at Bryn Mawr, she received her BA in Art History from Smith College and her MA in Art History from Tulane University. Her research concerns contemporary representations of race and gender with a particular focus on issues of displacement and the body in art by womxn and artists of color. She has contributed to exhibition planning and publications at Wave Hill in the Bronx, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, and The Art Institute of Chicago. 

Mengtian Bai

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Mengtian Bai is an international graduate student from China in art history at Bryn Mawr College. She previously received her B.A. in art history and Latin language and literature from Oberlin College in 2018. Her undergraduate honor thesis in art history investigated cultural exchange that occurred between medieval Italy and medieval China, centering on two Christian tombstones with Latin inscriptions of an Italian merchant family discovered in Yangzhou,China. She is particularly interested in cross-cultural artistic communication in the Middle Ages.

Nina Blomfield

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Nina is a Ph.D. candidate in history of art. Her dissertation examines the material culture of domestic space and the global origins of late nineteenth-century home decorating. She received her B.A. in history and art history from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, in 2012 and earned her M.A. at Bryn Mawr in 2018 with a thesis focusing on the use of Japanese decorative arts by middle-class American women. Nina has worked at the National Library of New Zealand’s Alexander Turnbull Library and has held graduate internships in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and in Bryn Mawr College's Special Collections, where she curated the exhibition “All-Over Design”: Lockwood de Forest between Ahmedabad and Bryn Mawr in 2019. She holds the 2021-2023 Marie Zimmermann Collections Fellowship from the Decorative Arts Trust and is researching the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Smith House for Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

Katherine Ford

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Kat is pursuing her M.A. in the history of art. She earned her B.A. in art history with a minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the University of Vermont in 2015 as an Honors College Scholar. For her undergraduate thesis, Kat analyzed Andy Warhol's Screen Tests in terms of gender, sexuality, and queer aesthetics. In 2014, Kat worked as an editorial intern at ARTnews Magazine. Her research interests include postwar American art history and how it overlaps with queer history and theory, specifically in film and photography.

Elena Gittleman

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Elena Gittleman is a PhD Candidate in the History of Art at Bryn Mawr College. She received her BA in Art History and Archaeology from Washington University in St. Louis and an MA in Art History from Southern Methodist University during which time she worked as a square supervisor at the Huqoq Excavation Project in northern Israel. She held a graduate curatorial fellowship at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, assisting in the exhibition “Bestowing Beauty: Masterpieces from Persian Lands (19 November 2017–11 February 2018) as well as education positions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Met Cloisters, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. She has curated two exhibitions at Bryn Mawr College and served as the co-chair for the Graduate Student Association (2017-2019) and the 12th Biennial Graduate Group Symposium. Her dissertation explores the legacy and importance of ancient Greco-Roman theater in medieval Byzantine visual culture, arguing that the cultural memory of theater was intimately entwined both with medieval performativity and in the elite preservation of the Empire’s classical heritage. She has presented her research at regional, national, and international conferences. Her research has been supported by grants from the International Center of Medieval Art, the Istanbul Research Institute, and the Medieval Academy of America.

Tessa Bachi Haas

Tessa is a Ph.D. candidate in the history of art department, working with Professor Homay King. She specializes in new media, net art, and digital identity, particularly through queer studies and material culture methodologies. Tessa completed her M.A. thesis, “Currency, Ritual, and Craft: Cowrie Shells in the Work of Rina Banerjee,” with Professor Sylvia Houghteling in 2019. She has curated and co-curated exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), the Center for Creative Works, Haverford College, Bryn Mawr College Special Collections, and AUTOMAT. She has contributed to exhibition planning and publications at PAFA, Woodmere Art Museum, Arcadia Exhibitions, the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art at Harvard University, and the American Philosophical Society. Tessa is the department assistant for BMCs Museum Studies program and current Hanna Holborn Gray graduate mentor.

Meg Hankel

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Meg Hankel is a doctoral candidate in the history of art. She specializes in modern and contemporary art, with a focus on the history of photography and new media. She earned an MA degree in art history from the University of Georgia in 2017, and a BA in art history from Columbia College Chicago in 2009. Her dissertation research focuses on the history of the stereograph and other 3D technologies (such as VR) and their use in modern and contemporary artistic practice. Other research interests include the intersection of art, gaming, and the theory of play, as well as the development of color technology in analog and digital photography. She has previously held a curatorial internship at the Georgia Museum of Art, assisted with the Barnes Foundation exhibition From Today, Painting is Dead: Early Photography in Britain and France (2019), has participated in the Bryn Mawr Digital Scholarship Graduate Fellows Program, and has served as co-chair of the University of Pennsylvania Incubation Series, with whom she has curated multiple exhibitions throughout Philadelphia. She has presented her work at a variety of conferences including the German Studies Association Conference and the International Conference of Stereo and Immersive Media. Before pursuing graduate studies, she worked for the photographer Steve Schapiro in Chicago, Illinois.

Taylor Hobson

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Taylor is currently working toward his Ph.D. in the history of art. His interests target the intersection of contemporary art and film, in particular installations that use projection to expand the cinematic experience into physical space. He received his B.A. in art history and English from Georgetown University in 2008 and his M.A. in art history at the University of Georgia. In addition to his experience in the film and television industry, he has worked in several museums, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and has held teaching positions at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Elliot Krasnopoler

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Elliot is an M.A. in the history of art. He received a B.F.A. in photographic illustration from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2011 and an M.A. in the history of art from Williams College in 2014. His research interests revolve around photography’s effect on different mediums in contemporary art, and its unique relationship to memory and mourning.

Emily Leifer

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Emily Leifer is a PhD candidate in the history of art at Bryn Mawr College, working with Professor Homay King. She studies modern and contemporary art, focusing on art of the 1960s and 1970s. Her dissertation explores Light and Space installation art and evolving concepts of the environment, both architectural and ecological, in the United States around the mid-twentieth century. Emily received her M.A. from Williams College and her B.A. from Brandeis University. She has held curatorial internships at the ICA Philadelphia, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, and David Zwirner Gallery. 

Laurel V. McLaughlin

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Laurel V. McLaughlin is a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Art working with Prof. Homay King and the Director of Curatorial Affairs at Artspace New Haven. Her research focuses on contemporary performance and new media, specifically engaging with migratory aesthetics, post-war conceptual and feminist art, and theories of identity and embodiment. McLaughlin holds a B.A. from Wake Forest University in Art History and English as a Presidential Scholar (2013), an M.A. with Distinction from The Courtauld Institute of Art (2015), and an M.A. from Bryn Mawr College (2017). She has presented her research at the University of California, Berkeley; the College Art Association, New York; Performance Studies International, Calgary; and the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present, Hong Kong, and her research has been supported by a 2021–2022 Bryn Mawr College Dean’s Fellowship and a 2020–2021 Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship in American Art. Her criticism, interviews, and essays have been published in Art Papers, BOMB Magazine, Performa Magazine, Contact Quarterly, Performance Research, Platform: Journal of Theatre and Performing Arts, PARtake: The Journal of Performance as Research, Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, numerous exhibition catalogs, and are forthcoming in an interdisciplinary volume that she is co-editing with Carrie Robbins on the work of Tania El Khoury (Amherst College Press 2022). She has held curatorial fellowships and assistant positions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Slought Foundation, Bryn Mawr College Special Collections, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the ICA Philadelphia; co-curated exhibitions and performance events with the University of Pennsylvania's Incubation Series at AUTOMAT Gallery, FJORD Gallery, and Vox Populi; and organized exhibitions in Portland, OR at the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture, Paragon Arts Gallery, and Fuller Rosen Gallery with Oregon Contemporary. She is currently organizing the traveling survey, Emilio Rojas: tracing a wound through my body at Emerson Contemporary in Fall 2022 (followed by the Usdan Gallery, Bennington VT; SECCA, Winston-Salem, NC; and Artspace New Haven, CT), in addition to the solo exhibitions Ilana Harris Babou: Revelations and Against the General Good/ Contra el Bien General, featuring the work of Bergman & Salinas, September 17–December 3, 2022. lmclaughli@brynmawr.edu

Anna Moblard Meier

Anna is a Ph.D. student working with Prof. Christiane Hertel. Her areas of interest are modern Viennese and Japanese art. She earned her B.A. in German Literature and Studio Art from Reed College in 2002 and her M.F.A. in Printmaking from PAFA in 2010. She completed her M.A. thesis, a study of fin-de-siècle Vienna and the allegorical works of Gustav Klimt, at Bryn Mawr in 2014. Currently, her Ph.D. research is focused on the artistic exchange between Europe and Japan in the late 19th century and the early International Exhibitions. Anna has presented papers at the University of Texas at Austin and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. In her time at Bryn Mawr, she has been a teaching assistant for the Growth and Structure of Cities Department and served as a research assistant in Special Collections. She has also curated and co-curated several exhibitions, including Bridges That Stand When All Else Falls Away: TriCo, Japan, and Melted Roof Tiles from Hiroshima 1945 (BMC 2012); Beneath the Printed Pattern: Display and Disguise in Ukiyo-e Bijinga (BMC 2013), Disasters and Rebuilding in Japan: Perspectives and Testimonies from the Tri-co Collection, (BMC 2013); and A Sense of Place: Modern Japanese Prints (University of Pennsylvania Ross Gallery 2015).

Meriç Özölçer

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Meriç Özölçer is a third-year graduate student with a focus on Byzantine and Medieval Islamic Art and Architecture. Her MA thesis, advised by Professor Alicia Walker, will focus on the position of small-scale reliquaries within later Byzantine devotional contexts. Meriç was introduced to the study of Byzantine Art while pursuing her B.A. degree in Psychology at Boğaziçi University, in her hometown of İstanbul. She continued her education on Late Antique and Byzantine Studies at the University of Oxford, where she obtained the degree of Master of Studies in this field. Her research interests range from the role of architecture and monumental art in shaping Medieval religious experience, to the gendered reflections of power on the making of luxury objects in the Middle and Late Byzantine periods. 

Jamie Richardson

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Jamie is a Ph.D. candidate working with Prof. Christiane Hertel. Her area of interest is Northern European Baroque. Her dissertation will examine Frans Francken the Younger's development of the 17th-century Flemish "gallery painting" genre within the context of early modern curiosity culture. She graduated cum laude from Columbia University in 2008 with a B.A. in art history and German literature, and she received her M.A. in history of art from Bryn Mawr College in 2012. She has presented papers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, American University, KULeuven, and the Frick Collection in New York. In 2014 she was the recipient of the University of Pennsylvania's Petronella Van Weezel Award for outstanding achievements in Dutch studies. Currently she is conducting dissertation research in Antwerp as the 2015-2016 Rubenianum Fellow, a position generously co-sponsored by the Belgian-American Educational Foundation and the Rubenianum Fund (managed by the King Baudouin Foundation).

Katy Rosenthal

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Katy Rosenthal is a third-year student specializing in decorative arts and material culture with a focus on textiles. Within these fields, her historical interests lie in intra-Asian trade during the onset of global modernity. Her MA thesis, advised by Professor Sylvia Houghteling, examines embroidered garments which emerged from trade conducted in China by the Parsi community in India under the British Raj. Katy comes to the department with a background in design, having received a B.S. in Textile and Apparel Design at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an associate degree in Textile and Surface Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

Emily Shoyer 

Emily Shoyer Profile

Emily Shoyer is a second-year graduate student in the History of Art department. She received her B.A. with honors in Art History from Barnard College, Columbia University and her M.A. in Art History with honors from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her methodology mobilizes decolonial, trauma and psychoanalytic theory to address cross-cultural and cross-temporal, predominantly contemporary, art created during conditions of crisis and dehumanization. She queries what it means as a viewer on an ethical plane to view, and even witness, such work. She has been fortunate to publish and speak about her research on artists such as Maryan S. Maryan, Obiora Udechukwu, Owanto and Aida Silvestri in Postcolonial Interventions and at academic conferences hosted by Curtin University and Indiana University. 

She currently serves as the Curator at Large at the Museum of Sex in New York City where she opened Reclaiming and Making: Art, Desire, Violence - an exhibition confronting sexual violence through contemporary art in November 2021. In June 2022 she opened F*CK ART: the Body & its Absence. Listed by Hyperallergic as one of the top NYC exhibitions of the summer and featured in Re-Edition MagazineDazed Digital and InsideHook, the exhibition highlights eighteen predominantly queer artists addressing the body as a charged, erotic and fluid meaning-making agent. This fall, she will open a retrospective on the photographs of Linda Troeller at the Museum of Sex co-organized with fellow Bryn Mawr graduate student Emily Alesandrini and including 25 photographs on loan from Bryn Mawr Special Collections. Prior to the Museum of Sex, she held curatorial positions at the Museum of Modern Art, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Archives of American Art and the Jewish Museum. 

Yixin (Star) Song

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Yixin (Star) Song is a first-year student specializing in Chinese arts, modern architecture history, and critical theories. His interests lie in Chinese literati landscape paintings and the phenomenology of architecture. He received a B.A. in Art History with a minor in Cognitive Science at Carleton College.

He currently serves as the assistant curator at the Chengdu Chang Dai-Chien Art Museum, preparing the special exhibition “Eastern Chang & Western Picasso,” a contrasting exhibition focusing on Chang and Picasso’s sketches throughout their careers. He is also planning a permanent exhibition for the museum, which will show Chang’s paintings based on different genres. Additionally, he is in charge of the souvenir shop and the catalog editor group.

Nava Streiter

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Nava is a Ph.D. candidate studying Byzantine art with Prof. Alicia Walker. Her dissertation explores representations of body language in middle Byzantine illuminated manuscripts. She received a B.A. from the Macaulay Honors College at Queens College, CUNY and an M.A. from The Courtauld Institute of Art. During her time at Bryn Mawr, Nava has worked as a graduate assistant in the college’s Special Collections and Rare Books and Manuscripts Collections and volunteered as a researcher in the Decorative Arts Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She was a digital research intern at the Frick Collection’s Center for the History of Collecting and a curatorial intern in the Manuscripts Department of the J. Paul Getty Museum. She has presented papers at the Frick Collection, the Barnes Foundation, and the Byzantine Studies Conference and led a year-long series of gallery talks at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has curated or co-curated exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Museum and at Bryn Mawr College. Her work has been supported by grants from the International Center for Medieval Art, the Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library, the Delaware Valley Medieval Association, and the Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Foundation, among other organizations.

Yuzhu Wang

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Yuzhu Wang is a first-year graduate student in the History of Art department at Bryn Mawr, working with Professor Jie Shi. She received a B.A in archaeology from Renmin University of China in 2019 and a M.A in art history from Tufts University in 2021. She is interested in the artistic tradition of the Silk Road, particularly the exchange of conventions and techniques from different communities. Before coming to Bryn Mawr, she worked at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston (ICA/Boston), and the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts.

Arielle Winnik

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Arielle Winnik is a Ph.D. candidate working with Prof. Alicia Walker on Byzantine and medieval Eastern Christian art. Her dissertation examines the visual culture of death and burial of Coptic Christians during the period of Egypt’s Shiite Islamic Fatimid Dynasty. She has a particular interest in textiles and has assisted with the study and publication of late antique and medieval textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection (Washington, D.C.), the Cooper Hewitt Museum (New York), and the Whitworth (Manchester, UK). She is the 2018-20 Samuel H. Kress Foundation Institutional Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art and holds a Research Associateship at the American Research Center in Egypt. She has also received the International Center of Medieval Art’s Student Travel Grant, the Delaware Valley Medieval Association Travel Grant, and the Textile Society of America’s Student and New Professional Award. Arielle holds a B.A. from Barnard College and an M.A. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her article, “Toward a Grammar of Textiles: A Reconsideration of Medieval Silk Aesthetics and the Impact of Modern Collecting,” appeared in the November 2017 issue of The Textile Museum Journal.

Mechella Ignace Yezernitskaya

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Mechella Yezernitskaya is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History of Art working with Professor Homay King and Professor and Provost Tim Harte. Mechella specializes in the wartime visual and literary culture of the Russian and Soviet avant-gardes focusing on war-related imagery by Russian avant-garde artists beginning with World War I. She is currently a 2020-2021 American Association of University Women (AAUW) American Dissertation Fellow. She has also received research grants from the Walter Read Hovey Memorial Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Malevich Society, and a Short-Term Research Fellowship from The New York Public Library. She has presented her research at Södertörn University (Stockholm, Sweden), Karazin University (Kharkiv, Ukraine), Hofstra University (New York), Temple University (Philadelphia), and the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), among others. Mechella’s articles and reviews have been published in ARTMargins Online, Baltic Worlds, post: notes on art in a global context, Slavic & East European Information Resources, and in the edited volume Artistic Expressions and the Great War, A Hundred Years On (Peter Lang Publishing, 2020). At Bryn Mawr, she has served as a teaching assistant in the Film Studies Program and has worked in the Special Collections Department. Mechella has also held guest curatorial positions and fellowships at the Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Brooklyn Museum. Mechella received her M.A. from Bryn Mawr College and her B.A. with honors in Art History from Fordham University.