This publication marks the culmination of a major research project that brought together scholars, curators, conservators and archivists to reveal a richer and more complex view of modern American art through the lens of Tate’s collection. With the ambition to bridge the worlds of academia and the museum, the project generated new knowledge that served Tate’s public audiences as much as specialist researchers, and we would like to express our profound gratitude to all those who have contributed to its success.

Firstly, this project would not have been possible without the generous support of the Terra Foundation for American Art. We are humbled to have been the first museum to have received funding from them to research its own collection, and would like to express our particular thanks to Elizabeth Glassman, Amy Zinck, Carrie Haslett and Veerle Thielemans for their commitment to the project from its earliest days, and for their unwavering trust, advice and encouragement.

The project was led from the beginning by Jennifer Mundy, Head of Art Historical Research at Tate, who established the series of In Focus studies that are at the core of this publication, and whose careful stewardship ensured that its ambitious intellectual objectives were met. On behalf of the entire project team I should like to express my profound gratitude to Jennifer for the dedication she has shown not only to this project but to research at Tate more broadly for over thirty years. I should also like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Academic Advisory Board, who offered expert guidance, assistance and support throughout: Jo Applin, James Boaden, Lucy Bradnock, Thomas Crow, Martin Hammer, Mignon Nixon, Cara Rodway and Alistair Rider.

It is fair to say that the project would not have been the same without the brilliant intellectual leadership of Alex J. Taylor, Terra Foundation Research Fellow in American Art, who established the art historical parameters that helped forge genuinely new lines of enquiry through this dense and complex field. His own extensive research into Tate’s collection and institutional history is captured not only in the overview essay that introduces this publication, but can be traced through every single element of the project; he commissioned all the essays and In Focus studies, as well as authoring four studies himself, convened all the workshops and the conference, and curated the collection display at Tate Liverpool. We are particularly indebted to Alex for the networks that he established, for the flair and enthusiasm with which he conducted his research, and for the collegiality he showed towards fellow scholars.

Alex J. Taylor left Tate in August 2016 and the project was thereafter managed expertly by Julia Bailey, who oversaw the delivery of the remaining In Focus projects and essays that make up this publication, as well as co-convening the conference. Ailsa Roberts, Research Manager, provided invaluable support to all members of the project team and helped guide the project over several years. We are grateful to them both for the energy and experience they brought to the project.

Within the editorial team at Tate a great debt is owed to Celia White, Senior Research Editor, for her careful editing and management of so many In Focus projects and essays within this publication, and to Susannah Worth, Digital Editor, Research, for all the technical and creative work she has put into producing this volume. Arthur Goodwin assisted them both in various capacities, and I am deeply grateful to them all for their generosity, dedication and good humour. Thanks are also due to James Finch and Beth Williamson, whose research and writing led to the creation of the timeline of American art at Tate. On behalf of the entire editorial team I would also like to thank Emily Boyle, Polly Chiapetta, Luisa Karman, Mark Liebenrood, Lucy Roblin, Elizabeth Rose and Julia Svetlova, whose assistance at various stages was invaluable.

All the researchers who contributed to the project are listed in full below, and our thanks go to each and every one of them for sharing their wonderful research with us. Many of them travelled long distances to join us at events in the UK, and have poured huge amounts of time and energy, as well as knowledge, into this project, often in several different forms. We are also indebted to the numerous specialists who kindly peer-reviewed manuscripts for us, ensuring that the research presented in this publication is of the highest quality, and we thank them sincerely for their generosity.

Finally, such a complex project could not have been achieved without the support and dedication of colleagues in a range of different departments across Tate. These include Pip Laurenson, Nigel Llewellyn, Emily Pringle and Maggie Matich in Research; Matthew Gale, Mark Godfrey, Hannah Johnston, Elisa Nocente, Darren Pih, Valentina Ravaglia and Stephanie Straine in Curatorial; Rachel Barker and Louise Lawson in Conservation; Bernard Horrocks and Alessandra Serri in the Legal team; all the Library and Archive staff, especially Christopher Bastock, Lisa Cole, Adrian Glew, Victoria Jenkins and Jane Kennedy; photographers Marcella Leith, Lucy Dawkins, Mark Heathcote and Sam Cole; Catherine Clement and Laura Murphy at Tate Store; and all colleagues in the Digital team, especially Kuba Bartwicki, Fionnuala Cavanagh, Fiona Hodge, Alex Pilcher and Ben Polhill.

With the support of so many people, this major publication, we hope, will engage new audiences with American art, opening up the collection in ways that are as varied as the perspectives offered by all the individuals whose inspiring research we are so proud to share.

Christopher Griffin
Convenor, Research Programmes and Publications
July 2019

List of contributors

Essay authors

Julia Tatiana Bailey, National Gallery Prague; formerly Terra Foundation for American Art Research Project Manager, Tate
Pam Meecham, Institute of Education, University College London
Jennifer Mundy, independent art historian; formerly Head of Art Historical Research, Tate
Caroline M. Riley, San Jose State University
Julie Sheldon, Liverpool John Moores University
Moran Sheleg, Paul Mellon Centre
Frank Spicer, independent art historian
Andrew Stephenson, independent art historian
Alex J. Taylor, University of Pittsburgh; formerly Terra Foundation Research Fellow in American Art, Tate

In Focus authors

Natalie Adamson, University of St Andrews
Anna Arabindan-Kesson, Princeton University
Elissa Auther, Museum of Arts and Design and the Bard Graduate Center
Rachel Barker, Tate
Samantha Baskind, Cleveland State University
Raffaele Bedarida, Cooper Union, New York
Mollie R. Berger, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
John R. Blakinger, University of Southern California
Eugenia Bogdanova-Kummer, University of East Anglia
Claire Brandon, independent art historian
Elizabeth Buhe, New York University
Andrianna Campbell, City University of New York
Sophie Cras, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
Erika Doss, University of Notre Dame
Randall Edwards, City University of New York
James Finch, Tate
Allen Fisher, poet
Frances Follin, independent art historian
Mary L. Garner, Kennesaw State University
Sophie Halart, University College London
Valerie Hellstein, independent art historian
Michael Leja, University of Pennsylvania
Mark Liebenrood, independent art historian
Nicholas Martin, New York University
Thomas Morgan Evans, Courtauld Institute of Art
James Nisbet, University of California, Irvine
Christopher Penfield, Purdue University
AnnMarie Perl, Princeton University
Aaron Rosen, Rocky Mountain College
Michael Schreyach, Trinity University, San Antonio
Richard Shiff, University of Texas at Austin
Robert Slifkin, New York University
Elyse Speaks, University of Notre Dame
Kirsten Swenson, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Alex J. Taylor, University of Pittsburgh; formerly Terra Foundation Research Fellow in American Art, Tate
Philip Ursprung, ETH Zürich
Emily Warner, University of Pennsylvania
Christina Weyl, independent art historian
Bert Winther-Tamaki, University of California, Irvine
Andrew Witt, University College London
Sandra Zalman, University of Houston

In Focus interviewees

Nigel Freeman, Swann Auction Galleries
Barkley L. Hendricks, artist
Mike Mandel, artist

Conference speakers

Jo Applin, Courtauld Institute of Art
Elizabeth Buhe, New York University
Fiona Curran, Royal College of Art
Faye Gleisser, Indiana University
Anthony Grudin, University of Vermont
Matthew Holman, University College London
Suzanne Hudson, University of Southern California
Marina Moskowitz, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Edwin Pickstone, Glasgow School of Art
Sarah Rich, Penn State University
Catherine Spencer, University of St Andrews
Monica Steinberg, University of Southern California
John A. Tyson, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Philip Ursprung, ETH Zürich
Cécile Whiting, University of California, Irvine

Workshop speakers

Jo Applin, Courtauld Institute of Art
Melody Barnett Deusner, Indiana University
Caitlin Beach, Columbia University
Mark Byers, Newcastle University
Jess Cotton, University College London
Rona Cran, University of Birmingham
Darby English, University of Chicago; The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Catherine Gander, Queens University, Belfast
Diana Greenwald, University of Oxford
Lauren Hanson, University of Texas at Austin
Matthew Holman, University College London
Joan Kee, University of Michigan
Miriam Kienle, University of Kentucky
Stefanie Kogler, University of Essex
Margaretta Lovell, University of California, Berkeley
Siofra McSherry, Freie Universität Berlin
Katherine Manthorne, City University of New York
Angela Miller, Washington University in St. Louis
Nadja Millner-Larsen, Goldsmiths, University of London
Marina Moskowitz, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jennifer Noonan, Caldwell University
Colleen O’Reilly, University of Pittsburgh
Jody Patterson, University of Plymouth
Joanna Pawlik, University of Sussex
AnnMarie Perl, Princeton University
Caroline Riley, San Jose State University
Deirdre Robson, University of West London
Logan Sisley, Dublin City Gallery
Amy Tobin, University of Cambridge
Rachel Warriner, University College Cork
Jonah Westerman, Purchase College, New York
Zoé Whitley, Hayward Gallery

Summary authors

Natasha Adamou, Kingston University
Bryony Bery, University College London
Katherine Doniak, University of Nottingham
Hilary Floe, Barbican Centre
Arthur Goodwin, Tate
Clare Gormley, MAC Belfast
Pete Gubbins, University of Nottingham
Phoebe Roberts, Artangel
Jo Kear, Bristol School of Art
Hana Leaper, Paul Mellon Centre for British Art
Lucinda Towler, University of Warwick
Beth Williamson, independent art historian

Special thanks

James Attlee, independent art historian
Simon Baker, Tate
Florencia Bazzano, Blanton Museum of Art
Catherine Dossin, Purdue University
Charlie Gere, Lancaster University
Jane McFadden, ArtCenter College of Design
Klaus Ottmann, Phillips Collection
Charles Palermo, College of William and Mary
David Peters Corbett, Courtauld Institute of Art
Susan Richmond, Georgia State University
Katherine Smith, Agnes Scott College
Craig Staff, University of Northampton
Andrew Wilson, Tate
Julia Bryan Wilson, University of California, Berkeley