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2020 Graduates

Margarita Aguilar

Dissertation title: “Traditions and Transformations in the Work of Adal: Surrealism, El Sainete, and Spanglish”

Advisor: Katherine Manthorne

Abigail Lapin Dardashti

Dissertation title: The International Rise of Afro-Brazilian Modernism in the Age of African Decolonization and Black Power

Advisor: Anna Indych-López

Bio: Abigail Lapin Dardashti received her Ph.D. in art history from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her research examines modern and contemporary Latin American, Latinx, and African diasporic art with a focus on international exchange, migration, racial formation, and activism. Her work has received funding from the Social Science Research Council, the Fulbright Program, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, the Mellon Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution. She has curated exhibitions at BRIC, Brooklyn, and Taller Puertorriqueño, Philadelphia, and has served as curatorial fellow at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Museo de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals, exhibition catalogues, and edited volumes in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and the United States. Born in France to Dominican and French parents, she immigrated to New York as a teenager.

Future plans: In fall 2020, Abigail will begin a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University. She is currently working on several articles about the intersections of Latinx, African American, and Afro-Latin American activist art.


Elizabeth Donato

Dissertation title: A Series of Acts that Disappear: The Valparaiso School’s Ephemeral Architectures, 1952-1982

Advisor: Anna Indych-Lopéz


Media Farzin-Rad

Dissertation title: The Art of Opacity: Guy de Cointet in L.A.

Advisor: Siona Wilson

Jennifer Favorite

Dissertation title: Added Interpretive Centers at U.S. War Memorials and the Reframing of National History

Advisor: Harriet F. Senie

Bio: While researching her dissertation, Jennifer K. Favorite received support from a CUNY Doctoral Students Research Grant and the CUNY Advanced Research Collaborative Knickerbocker Award for Archival Research in American Studies. Her publications appear in Public Art Dialogue and the forthcoming anthology Teachable Monuments: Using Public Art to Spark Dialogue & Confront Controversies (Bloomsbury Publishing), and reflect her interests in public art in the U.S., memorials, twentieth-century architecture, and the cultural and political uses of public space. Since 2018 she has co-chaired the CAA-affiliated society Public Art Dialogue.


Chelsea Haines

Dissertation title: Staging the Modern, Building the Nation: Israeli Exhibitions, 1948–1965

Advisor: Romy Golan

Leila Harris

Dissertation title: Labor and the Picturesque: Photography, Propaganda, and the Tea Industry in Colonial India and Sri Lanka, 1880-1914

Advisor: Antonella Pelizzari


Yusuke Isotani

Dissertation title: Arts et Métiers PHOTO-Graphiques: The Quest for Identity in French Photography between the Two World Wars

Advisor: Romy Golan

Bio: Yusuke Isotani is an Assistant Professor at Kyoto Sangyo University, School of Cultural Studies, Japan. Before Kyoto Sangyo University, he also taught at Bronx Community College, Kobe University, and Osaka University. His works have been published in Japanese art history journals, especially in Bijutsushi. He contributed an essay, “Hein Gorny and Arts et Métiers Graphiques,” to the exhibition catalogue, PHOTO: Hein Gorny (Berlin: Collection Regard, 2019).

Future plans: While the current situation prevents me from travelling abroad for research, I continue brushing up my dissertation in order to publish it as a book in the near future. And I am looking forward to visiting New York again once everything comes back to normal.

Sarah Mills

Dissertation title: Weaving Modern Forms: Fiber Design in the United States, 1939–1959 

Advisor: Rosemarie Bletter

Bio: After defending her dissertation in fall 2019, Sarah accepted a tenure-track teaching position in the Art and Design Department at Westchester Community College, SUNY. In 2020, she became director of the school's Art Gallery where she looks forward to curating interdisciplinary exhibitions with faculty advisors from other departments. Collaborating with WCC's Art Club, Sarah began building a material studies library for the department.

Future plans: Sarah's article "Anni Albers: Modern is a Practice" will be published in American Art in Spring 2021. Her plans to develop her dissertation into the first book on modern weaving, which will examine weaving practices across art (studios) and design (industries) in the United States, continue! 

Gemma Sharpe

Dissertation title: Minor Forms, Dismantled Norms: Mediums of Modernism in Pakistan

Advisor: Claire Bishop


Gillian Sneed

Dissertation title: Gendered Subjectivity and Resistance: Brazilian Women’s Performance-for-Camera, 1973–1982

Advisor: Anna Indych-López

Bio: Gillian Sneed holds a Ph.D. in art history from The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY). Her research interests include modern/contemporary Latin American art and women’s art practices across the Americas. She has written for Women’s Art Journal, Flash Art International, The Brooklyn Rail, Art in America, and Texte zur Kunst. She is currently working as a contractor for the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art and the International Center for the Arts of the Americas. Several articles based on her dissertation research will be released this summer in the academic journals Vistas: Critical Approaches to Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art, Revista de História da Arte, and Diacrítica.


Sydney Stutterheim

Dissertation title: Accomplices in Art: The Expansion of Authorship in the 1970s and 80s

Advisor: David Joselit

Alise Tifentale

Dissertation title: The “Olympiad of Photography”: FIAP and the Global Photo-Club Culture, 1950–1965

Bio: Alise Tifentale is an art and photography historian. Her fields of expertise include sociology of culture, cultural analytics, photography in social media, global history of photography, and transnational cultural networks. She is the author of books such as Photography as Art in Latvia, 1960–1969 (2011) and numerous research articles published in journals such as ARTMargins, CAA.Reviews, Networking Knowledge, PhotoResearcher, Russian Art & Culture, and Scriptus Manet. She is the author of chapters in volumes such as Routledge Companion to Photography and Visual Culture (2018), Exploring the Selfie: Historical, Analytical, and Theoretical Approaches to Digital Self-Photography (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), The History of European Photography 1970–2000 (Central European House of Photography, 2016), and Postdigital Aesthetics: Art, Computation, and Design (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Tifentale has curated several photography-based exhibitions, including the Pavilion of Latvia at the 55th Venice Art Biennale (2013). She is the founder of photography magazine Foto Kvartals and was its editor-in-chief (2005–2010). More about her work here

Future plans: After completing her dissertation, Tifentale has taken up a two-year full-time research position at the Communication Studies Department, Riga Stradins University, in Riga, Latvia. She is also the founder and curator of Art Days Forever, the estate of two Latvian artists, photographer Zenta Dzividzinska (1944–2011) and painter Juris Tifentals (1943–2001).