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Scholarly Interest Report
         
Marcia Brennan
Professor
Professor in Religion
 
e-mail:mbrennan@rice.edu
 
  • B.A. (1988) Mount Holyoke College
  • M.A. (1993) Brown University
  • Ph.D. (1997) Brown University
 
Primary Department
   Department of Religion
Picture
 
Department Affiliations
 
  • Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
  • Department of Art History
  •  
    Other Affiliations
     
  • MD Anderson
  •  
    Websites
     Rice University Department of Religion
     Amazon Author Page
     COLLAGE: The Art for Cancer Network
     Rice University Religious Studies webpage
     Department of Art History, Rice University
     MIT Press Author Page
     Dept. of Art History
     Humanities Research Center conference
     MIT Press MMS
     MIT Press MMS
     MIT Press Modernism's Masculine Subjects
     MIT Press Painting Gender
     MIT Press Painting Gender
     MIT Press Painting Gender
     Rice University Press
     Yale UP Modern Patronage
     Art History Web Page
     Humanities Research Center conference
     MIT Press Modernism's Masculine Subjects
     MIT Press Painting Gender
     Yale UP Modern Patronage
     Dept. of Art History
     MIT Press MMS
     MIT Press Painting Gender
     
    Research Areas
     Modern and Contemporary Art. Thanatology The Medical Humanities and issues of end of life. Mystical Aesthetics Issues of eros and identity in modernist aesthetics. Formalist criticism and conceptions of subjectivity. The history of photography. Museum collection histories and acquisition patterns.
     

    Research Statement

     

    Research Statement


     


    My research spans the fields of Modern and Contemporary Art History and Museum Studies, Religious Studies and Comparative Mysticism, and the Medical Humanities. I am the single author of four scholarly monographs in these areas, I am the lead author of two museum exhibition catalogues, and I am currently writing a book that is under advance contract with an academic press. My scholarly monographs include Curating Consciousness: Mysticism and the Modern Museum (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010, ppb. ed. 2012), Flowering Light: Kabbalistic Mysticism and the Art of Elliot R. Wolfson (Houston: Rice University Press, 2009), Modernism’s Masculine Subjects: Matisse, the New York School, and Post-Painterly Abstraction (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004, ppb. ed. 2006), and Painting Gender, Constructing Theory: The Alfred Stieglitz Circle and American Formalist Aesthetics (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001, ppb. ed. 2002).  The museum exhibition catalogues include A Modern Patronage: de Menil Gifts to European and American Museums (New Haven: Yale University Press and the Menil Collection, 2007), and Mel Chin: Do Not Ask Me (Houston: Ineri Publishing and the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, 2011).  My current scholarly book project is a direct outgrowth of my clinical experiences in the Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.  This study, entitled Words Beyond Words: Finding Language at the End of Life, is under advance contract with Intellect Books (Bristol, U.K., with U.S. distribution through the University of Chicago Press).


     


    Despite the differences between my research fields of Art History, Religious Studies, and the Medical Humanities, each of these areas shares a common set of themes and questions, namely: How do we find language to describe states of being for which there is no language?  How do we represent the unrepresentable and translate the untranslatable?  How do we formulate metaphors of transience to describe subjects that are simultaneously coming into form and going out of form, sometimes within the framework of a single image?  And how do we represent the fragile zones of contingency that mark both gradual transitions as well as more dramatic shifts between states of being?  These issues are as pertinent to theoretical discussions of abstract painting’s simultaneously dissolving and crystallizing structures as they are to the contemplation of spiritual experience and mystical ecstasy, as they are to the very real challenges of people facing the end of life.  Thus throughout all of my work I am fascinated—and profoundly moved—by subjects and situations that repeatedly exceed our capacity to represent them, even as we repeatedly attempt to do so, often through imagery that conveys transitional states and transformational visions.   


     


    These thematic issues lie at the heart of my various art historical studies.  In Curating Consciousness: Mysticism and the Modern Museum I examine the distinguished author and museum director James Johnson Sweeney.  Sweeney served as Director of the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (1945-46), Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1952-60), and Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (1961-67).  Throughout his curatorial and literary projects, Sweeney emphasized the various ways in which the cultivation of spiritual and mystical experiences could operate as a primary goal within the transformative space of the modern museum.  By prominently advancing these themes over the course of four decades, Sweeney’s professional career can itself be seen as an extended exercise in curating modernist consciousness.


     


    While Curating Consciousness focuses on James Johnson Sweeney, in Modernism’s Masculine Subjects: Matisse, the New York School, and Post-Painterly Abstraction I trace the American reception of Henri Matisse as a prelude to analyzing the works of the New York School artists Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner, and the Post-Painterly Abstractionists Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, and Kenneth Noland. Throughout the volume I reconstruct the pictorial and discursive strategies through which postwar abstract paintings came to be seen and described as metaphorical embodiments of gendered selfhood, particularly when masculine subject positions were mediated and achieved through key associations with feminine counterparts.  In various ways, Modernism’s Masculine Subjects represents an extension of the project I pursued in Painting Gender, Constructing Theory: The Alfred Stieglitz Circle and American Formalist Aesthetics.  In Painting Gender I examine the various ways in which the photographer and entrepreneur Alfred Stieglitz and his in-house circle of critics paired a formalist narrative on the sexed and gendered human body with a corpus of inherently non-narrative paintings, including landscapes, still lifes, and abstractions.  After reconstructing Stieglitz’s Freudian-based aesthetic theory, I consider the opposition that the Stieglitz circle faced from rival avant-garde projects, including the New York Dada movement, the American Regionalists, and Clement Greenberg’s early formulation of formalist discourse. 


     


    As this suggests, throughout my art historical studies I trace the complex ways in which conceptions of subjectivity and numinous experience informed both the production and the reception of abstracted modernist artwork, as well as contemporary understandings of the relationship between the physical and the metaphysical domains. Words Beyond Words: Finding Language at the End of Life extends the experiential and theoretical parameters of these historical inquiries by exploring the intersection of aesthetics and psychosocial oncology. This book is based on my four years of direct clinical and creative experiences as an Artist In Residence in Palliative Medicine at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.  Drawing on thematically-oriented case studies, I present sustained analyses of the literary expressions and visual culture of the end of life. This project has been favorably reviewed by two separate Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) at Rice University (March 2010) and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (September 2010) and is currently under advance contract with an academic press.


     


    In addition, I am the author of numerous articles and book reviews, and I have presented a host of talks at various scholarly and museum venues.  I have also either chaired or organized three scholarly symposia and lecture series.  In Museums and the Medical Humanities: Our Continuing Conversation (February 2010), I brought together three doctors from M. D. Anderson and three curators from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Menil Collection, and the Houston Museum of Natural Science to foster an innovative transdisciplinary conversation that spanned the academic community, the museum district, and the Texas Medical Center.  This symposium was a continuation of the lecture series that I co-chaired with the Menil Collection (2008-09) on Museums and the Medical Humanities: The Arts of Transformation, as the Second Biennial Menil-Rice Lecture Series.  Taking the Menil Collection’s renowned permanent collection as a baseline, four distinguished lecturers from Yale University, the University of Chicago, and a prominent New York artist explored a nexus of themes concerning embodiment, creativity, trauma, diagnosis, medicine, healing, reflection, and transformation.  Finally, Venturing Beyond the Beyond: On the Visual Imagination and Mystical Hermeneutics of Elliot R. Wolfson is a symposium that I co-organized with Jeffrey J. Kripal (October 2007).  This event took Wolfson’s groundbreaking writings on Kabbalistic mysticism, and his related paintings and poetry, as points of departure for talks focused on the re-envisioning of embodiment, time, ritual, angelic presence, poiesis, transgression, law, and honesty.  I subsequently published a thematically-related study of Wolfson’s creative and scholarly work entitled Flowering Light: Kabbalistic Mysticism and the Art of Elliot R. Wolfson (2009).


     


    My scholarly research has been recognized with awards from the American Council of Learned Societies (2006), the Millard Meiss Publication Fund, College Art Association (1999), the Faculty Initiatives Fund, Office of Research, Rice University (2009), as well as numerous awards from the Humanities Research Center at Rice University, including Faculty Fellowships (2007, 2014), a Conference Grant (2009), and a Collaborative Faculty Fellowship (2008-09).

     
    Teaching Areas
     Modern and contemporary art history, the medical humanities, aesthetics and comparative mysticism, gender theory, critical theory, history of photography
     
    Selected Publications
     Refereed articles
     

    Marcia Brennan, “For the love and respect of the service: Applied Aesthetics and Palliative Care,” published in a special issue on Military Medicine in the  Journal of Biomedical Science and Engineering 6, no. 10A (October 2013), pp. 1-7; also accessible online at http://www.scirp.org/journal/JBiSE/

     
     

    Marcia Brennan, “Four Butterflies: End of Life Stories of Transition and Transformation,” Pastoral Psychology 62 (no. 1, Feb. 2013); also accessible online from Springer Publications at: http://www.springerlink.com.ezproxy.rice.edu/content/716634552183h627/

     
     

    Marcia Brennan, "Notes from the Field: Contingency," The Art Bulletin XCIV, no. 3 (Sept. 2012), pp. 348-349.

     
     

    “In Defense of Lay Midwifery: The Visual Culture of Midwife Education,” co-authored with P. Preston Reynolds, M.D., Ph.D., and Katherine L. Keith, M.D., an article focusing on social history and the visual culture of obstetrics, forthcoming in Hospital Drive: The Literature and Humanities Journal of the University of Virginia School of Medicine 8 (Summer 2012; Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia School of Medicine); accessible online at: http://hospitaldrive.med.virginia.edu/hospital-drive/issue-8-summer-2012/in-defense-of-lay-midwifery-the-visual-cultural-of-midwife-education/

     
     Articles
     

    Marcia Brennan, "Just Give Me A Kiss, Just Stay Connected: Visual Culture and the Medical Humanities," an invited article commissioned by Karen Lang, the incoming editor in chief of The Art Bulletin, to be featured in a new section entitled "Notes From The Field," 2012.

     
     

     “Living with the Living: A Preview of Flowering Light,” PN Review  186 (Manchester, UK: Carcanet Press, 2009), pp. 30-34.

     
     

     “The Miniature Worlds of Mystical Formalism,” Pazhouhesh Nameh-e Farhangestan-e Honar (Research Journal of the Iranian Academy of Arts) 14 (Autumn 2009), pp. 9-19; simultaneously published in English and Farsi.

     
     

     “Tragic Dreams and Spectral Doubles: The Metaphysical Lincoln,” PN Review 188  (Manchester, UK: Carcanet Press, 2009), pp. 49-53.

     
     

    Marcia Brennan, Katherine Keith, and Preston Reynolds "In Defense of Lay Midwifery: The Visual Culture of Midwife Education ." In Revision

     
     

    Illuminating the Void, Displaying the Vision: The Romanesque Church, the Modern Museum, and Pierre Soulages Abstract Art in Res: Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics 52 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, Autumn 2007), pp. 117-127.

     
     

    Marcia Brennan, Living with the Living, PN Review 186 (Manchester, UK: Carcanet Press, 2009), pp. 30-34.

     
     

    Marcia Brennan, The Miniature Worlds of Mystical Formalism, Journal of the Iranian Academy of the Arts (Tehran, Spring 2010); to be simultaneously published in English and in Persian.

     
     

    Tragic Dreams and Spectral Doubles: The Metaphysical Lincoln, PN Review 188 (Manchester, UK: Carcanet Press, 2009), pp. 49-53.

     
     Brennan, Marcia. Illuminating the Void, Displaying the Vision: The Romanesque Churh, the Modern Museum, and Pierre Soulagess Abstract Art in Res: Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics 52 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, forthcoming 2008), pp. 117-127.
     
     Illuminating the Void, Displaying the Vision: The Romanesque Church, the Modern Museum, and Pierre Soulages Abstract Art in Res: Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics 52 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, forthcoming Autumn 2007).
     
     

    Brennan, M. ""American Formalist Aesthetics and the Gendered Body: Jo-Anne Berelowitz Interviews Marcia Brennan"." Genders, 35 (2002) : on-line journal.

     
     Books
     

     

    A Rose From Two Gardens: Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and Images of the End of Life (San Francisco and Berkeley: University of California Medical Humanities Press, forthcoming 2018).  Intriguing parallels arise between contemporary end of life images and themes expressed historically in the writings of Thérèse of Lisieux, the Catholic saint who is popularly known as the “Little Flower”.  Drawing on her combined experiences as a professor of the humanities and as an Artist In Residence in palliative medicine at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, the author examines topics such as the spiritual significance of flowers, the paradoxical grandeur of small things, maternal love and the innocence of children, compassion and consolation in the wake of human suffering, the power of mystical dreams and prophetic visions, and vibrant conceptions of eternal life.  Notably, this book does not make a case for Christianity as the ultimate end of a “good death.”  Rather, the text adopts a comparative approach that emphasizes the mystical humanism that often arises in Thérèse’s writings and in end of life imagery.  In so doing, A Rose From Two Gardens makes a valuable contribution to the literatures on Thérèse of Lisieux and on the end of life as it links familiar human experience and the immanence of the material domain with larger, often subtle mystical themes of sacrality, grace, and nondual presence.  Ultimately, Saint Thérèse’s “little way” and contemporary end of life images emphasize the knowledge of the heart, which teaches how to see the hidden in everyday life, and how to recognize the dedication of love. 

     
     

    Marcia Brennan, Words Beyond Words: Finding Language at the End of Life.  (Bristol, U.K.: Intellect Books, in association with the University of Chicago Press. forthcoming 2016). 

     
     

    Marcia Brennan, Words Beyond Words: Finding Language at the End of Life.  (Bristol, U.K.: Intellect Books, in association with the University of Chicago Press. forthcoming 2016). 

     
     

    Marcia Brennan, The Heart of the Hereafter: Love Stories from the End of Life.  John Hunt Publishing, U.K., 2014. 

     
     

    Marcia Brennan, Curating Consciousness: Mysticism and the Modern Museum (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010, ppb. ed. 2012).

     
     

    Lead author of the exhibition catalogue Mel Chin: Do Not Ask Me (Houston: Station Museum and Ineri Press, 2011).

     
     

    Curating Consciousness: Mysticism and the Modern Museum (Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, 2010).

     
     

    Marcia Brennan, Flowering Light: Kabbalistic Mysticism and the Art of Elliot R. Wolfson (Houston: Rice University Press, 2009).

     
     

    Brennan, Marcia. Curating Consciousness: Mysticism and the Modern Museum (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, March 2010).

     
     

    Brennan, Marcia. Flowering Light: Kabbalistic Mysticism and the Art of Elliot R. Wolfson (Houston: Rice University Press, 2009).

     
     Brennan, Marcia. Painting Gender, Constructing Theory: The Alfred Stieglitz Circle and American Formalist Aesthetics (Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, 2001; paperback ed. 2002.
     
     

    Brennan, Marcia. Mel Chin: Do Not Ask Me, ed. James Harithas (Houston: Rice University Press in Association with the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, 2010).

     
     A Modern Patronage: de Menil Gifts to European and American Museums (New Haven and Houston: Yale University Press, in association with The Menil Collection, June 2007), pp. 21-61. My contribution to this volume is an essay entitled Seeing the Unseen: The Illuminated Words and Contemplative Magic of James Johnson Sweeney and John and Dominique de Menil.
     
     Brennan, Marcia. Modernisms Masculine Subjects: Matisse, the New York School, and Post Painterly Abstraction (Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, 2004).
     
     Brennan, Marcia. Mel Chin: Do Not Ask Me, ed. James Harithas (Cambridge, MA and Houston, Texas: MIT Press in Association with the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, forthcoming fall 2008).
     
     Modernism's Masculine Subjects: Matisse, the New York School, and Post Painterly Abstraction (Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, 2004).
     
     

    Marcia Brennan "Curating Consciousness: Mysticism and the Modern Museum." In Press

     
     

    Marcia Brennan "Modernism's Masculine Subjects: Matisse, The New York School, and Post-Painterly Abstraction."  (2004)

     
     

    Marcia Brennan "Painting Gender, Constructing Theory: The Alfred Stieglitz Circle and American Formalist Aesthetics."  (2001; ppb ed 2002)

     
     

    Marcia Brennan "Modernism's Masculine Subjects: Matisse, The New York School, and Post Painterly Abstraction."  (2004)

     
     

    Brennan, M. "Painting Gender, Constructing Theory: The Alfred Steiglitz Circle and American Formalist Aesthetics."  (2001)

     
     Book chapters
     

    “‘Encompassed in Arms Concentric’: Marsden Hartley’s Mystical Humanism” in Rebecca Lawton, ed., To Unsettle All Things: Marsden Hartley and the Mystical Tradition (Fort Worth, TX: Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 2017).

     
     

    “‘Encompassed in Arms Concentric’: Marsden Hartley’s Mystical Humanism” in Rebecca Lawton, ed., To Unsettle All Things: Marsden Hartley and the Mystical Tradition (Fort Worth, TX: Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 2017).

     
     

    “The Baptism and the Butterfly: Applied Aesthetics and the End of Life,” an invited book chapter to be published in a forthcoming volume on Teaching Health Humanities, edited by Olivia Banner, Nathan Carlin, and Thomas Cole.

     
     

    “In The Wings,” published in the scientific volume Advances in Zoology Research ed. Owen P. Jenkins, vol. 6  (New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2014), ch. 2, pp. 29-37.

     
     

    Marcia Brennan, “Turquoise,” an invited essay to be published in a forthcoming volume on the James Turrell sky space, Twilight Epiphany, which is the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion at Rice University.  The volume will be edited by Erik Davis and published as part of the Rice Public Art Program.

     
     

    “Meta-Media And The Multiple Presence: Beyond The Between In The Works Of Marianna Christofides and Elizabeth Hoak-Doering” in Yiannis Toumazis, ed., Temporal Taxonomy, Catalogue of the National Participation of Cyprus in the 54th International Exhibition of Art—La Biennale di Venezia, Nicosia, 2011, pp. 36-47.  Simultaneously published in English and Greek.

     
     

    The Multifaceted Masculinity of Canonical Modernism: James Johnson Sweeney and Alfred H. Barr, Jr. in the 1930s in Anna Brzyski, ed., Partisan Canons: Discursive and Institutional Sites (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2007), pp. 179-201.

     
     Brennan, Marcia. The Multifaceted Masculinity of Canonical Modernism: James Johnson Sweeney and Alfred H. Barr, Jr. in the 1930s in Anna Brzyski, ed., Partisan Canons: Discursive and Institutional Sites (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2007), pp. 179-201.
     
     Seeing the Unseen: The Illuminated Words and Contemplative Magic of James Johnson Sweeney and John and Dominique de Menil in A Modern Patronage: de Menil Gifts to European and American Museums (New Haven and Houston: Yale University Press, in association with The Menil Collection, forthcoming Spring 2007).
     
     

    Marcia Brennan "Monet as Metaphor: Studies in Rapture and Reflected Light in Modern/Postmodern: New Studies in 19th and 20th Century Art History."  (2004)

     
     

    Marcia Brennan "The Multifaceted Masculinity of Canonical Modernism: James Johnson Sweeney and Alfred H. Barr, Jr. in the 1930s."  (2005) In Revision

     
     

    Marcia Brennan ""Monet as Metaphor: Studies in Reflected Light" in Modern/Postmodern: New Studies in 19th and 20th Century Art History."  (2004) In Press

     
     Book reviews
     

    Review of Lauren Kroiz, Creative Composites: Modernism, Race, and the Stieglitz Circle (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012) in Modernism/Modernity 20 (no. 1, January 2013), pp. 143-45.

     
     

    Marcia Brennan, Review of Lauren Kroiz, Creative Composites: Modernism, Race, and the Stieglitz Circle (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012) in Modernism/Modernity20 (no. 1, January 2013), pp. 143-45.

     
     

    Review of Upside Down: Arctic Realities.  Musée du quai Branly, Paris, September 30, 2008--January 11, 2009; The Menil Collection, Houston, TX, April 15--July 17, 2011.  CAA Reviews (2011).   http://caareviews.org/reviews/1746

     
     

    Review of Kristina Wilson, The Modern Eye: Stieglitz, MoMA, and the Art of the Exhibition, 1925-1934 (Yale University Press, 2009, published in CAA Reviews Online (Spring 2010).

     
     Brennan, Marcia. Review of Jennifer R. Gross, ed., The Societe Anonyme: Modernism for America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006) in CAA Reviews Online (Spring 2007).
     
     

    Brennan, Marcia "Slants and Right Angles." P N Review (Poetry Nation Review), 184 (2008)

     
     Review of Christopher A. Dustin and Joanna E. Ziegler, Practicing Mortality: Art, Philosophy and Contemplative Seeing (Palgrave, 2005) in Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief 2 (November 2006).
     
     Review of Donna M. Cassidy, Marsden Hartley: Race, Region, and Nation (University Press of New England, 2005) in CAA Reviews Online (Fall 2006).
     
     

    Marcia Brennan "Review of Ysanne Holt, British Artists and the Modernist Landscape (Ashgate, 2003)." Albion, 36 (Winter 2004) : 742-44.

     
     

    Marcia Brennan "Review of Ysanne Holt, British Artists and the Modernist Landscape." Albion, 36 (2004)

     
     

    Marcia Brennan "Review of Vivien Green Fryd, Art and the Crisis of Marriage." CAA Reviews Online (2003)

     
     

    Marcia Brennan "Review of Daniel O. Bell, A Pious Bacchanal: Affinities between the lives and works of John Flaxman and Aubrey Beardsley." Albion, 33 (Summer 2001) : 326-28.

     
     

    Marcia Brennan "Review of Ruth Bromberg, Walter Sickert Prints: A Catalogue Raisonne." Albion, 33 (Fall 2001) : 511-13.

     
     Other
     

    Marcia Brennan, “Seeing Over the Wall: Art as a Tool of Recognition,” Men of Honor Art Exhibit (Houston: Houston Community College, 2013), pp. 3-4.

     
    Creative Works
     Other - Artist In Residence, Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
     M. D. Anderson, Houston, TX (Ongoing since March 2009)
     
     Exhibitions - Curated - To Unsettle All Things: Marsden Hartley and the Mystical Tradition
     Museum Exhibition, Rebecca Lawton et al., Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX (planning to exhibitions, 2014-18)
     
     Other - Artist In Residence
     Ongoing work as a practicing Artist In Residence in the Department of Palliative Medicine at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX (ongoing)
     
     Installations - "Curating Care"
     I curated the mini-installation “Curating Care” at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, a display of fifteen artworks produced by Collage: The Art For Cancer Network, including works in photomontage, mixed media, collage, and calligraphic brush painting. , M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX (2010)
     
     Other - Museums and the Medical Humanities: Our Continuing Conversation
      Drawing on their distinctive backgrounds and areas of expertise, speakers addressed the ways in which shared themes inform their museum collections, or have emerged as salient issues in their clinical interactions and professional practices. , Rice University, (February 19, 2010)
     
     Other - Artist In Residence, Department of Palliative Medicine, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
     Dept. of Palliative Care, M D Anderson Cancer Center
     
     Other - Menil/Rice Lecture Series: Museums and the Medical Humanities: The Arts of Transformation
     year-long lecture series, Rice University and The Menil Collection, Houston (2008-2009)
     
     Other - Venturing Beyond the Beyond: On the Visual Imagination and Mystical Hermeneutics of Elliot R. Wolfson
     Scholarly Symposium, co-chaired, Rice University, Houston (October 26, 2007)
     
     Other - Venturing Beyond the Beyond: On the Visual Imagination and Mystical Hermeneutics of Elliot R. Wolfson
     Academic Symposium, Rice Universtiy, Humanities Research Center, Houston (October 26, 2007)
     
    Presentations
     Conference Paper
     

    “The Heart of the Hereafter,” an invited presentation at the 19th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Palliative Medicine, Hospice, and Supportive Care, organized by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, October 16, 2015.

     
     Invited Papers
     

    “ ‘That’s What Mattered’: Serving Underserved Populations,” an invited talk presented as part of a panel discussion at the Rice Medical Humanities Symposium, November 21, 2015.

     
     

    “Seeing Only Beauty When There’s Nothing Left to See: Applied Aesthetics and (End of) Life Experience,” an invited paper presented at the interdisciplinary symposium on Law and the Curated Body, Osgoode Law School, York University, Toronto, March 27,  2015.

     
     

    “Icons Without Orthodoxies,” a discussion of the panel session on “Religion and the Avant-Garde” at the College Art Association annual conference, Chicago, February 13, 2014.

     
     

     

    “Despite the wall, you are led toward the light: The Risk and the Power of Contemporary Aesthetics for the Catholic Church,” an invited talk presented as part of a panel discussion with Professor Amy Hollywood, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II at the Rothko Chapel, Houston, May 10, 2013.

     
     

    “The Garden In The Garden: Representing The Life Within The Life,” an invited lecture presented as part of the “Crafting Knowledge: Ritual, Art, Thought” lectures of the Rockwell Symposium, Department of Religious Studies, Rice University, April 13, 2012.

     
     

    “Four Butterflies: End of Life Stories of Transition and Transformation,” a paper presented at the conference on “Social Justice and the Health Professions: Ethical and Experiential Issues” at the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics, University of Texas Health Science Center, June 2, 2011.

     
     

    “Coping Through Connections, Cutting to the Heart,” an invited lecture presented at the 14th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Palliative Medicine, Hospice, and Supportive Care, organized by the University of Texas’s M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, October 15, 2010.

     
     

    The Modern Museum and Mystical Houston, an invited lecture presented as part of the Hidden God, Hidden Histories Lectures of the Rockwell Symposium, Dept. of Religious Studies, Rice University, April 17, 2010.

     
     

    "Tragic Dreams and Spectral Doubles: The Metaphysical Lincoln," an invited lecture to be delivered at The Mask of Lincoln symposium, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C., February 16, 2009.

     
     ¿Alchemy, Androgynes, and the End of Philosophy: Marcel Duchamp and Alfred H. Barr, Jr., or The Nude Descending a Flowchart,¿ an invited lecture presented at the symposium ¿Usable Pasts? American Art from the Armory Show to the Art of This Century¿ at the University of Pennsylvania, March 24, 2007.
     
     ¿From The End Game to The Light Inside: Some Thoughts on Museums and the Medical Humanities,¿ Grand Rounds Lecture in Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine, delivered at the University of Texas¿s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, on October 8, 2008.
     
     ¿Three Painted Angels: The Poetics of Aesthetic Epiphany,¿ a paper delivered at the interdisciplinary conference Venturing Beyond the Beyond: On the Visual Imagination and Mystical Hermeneutics of Elliot R. Wolfson. Humanities Research Center, Rice University, October 26, 2007.
     
     

    "Alchemy, Androgynes, and the End of Philosophy: Marcel Duchamp and Alfred H. Barr, Jr., or The Nude Descending a Flowchart." Usable Pasts? American Art from the Armory Show to the Art of This Century at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. (March 24, 2007)

     
     

    "Three Painted Angels: The Poetics of Aesthetic Epiphany." Venturing Beyond the Beyond: On the Visual Imagination and Mystical Hermeneutics of Elliot R. Wolfson, Humanities Research Center, Rice University, Houston. (October 26, 2007)

     
     

    "Marsden Hartley: Mysticism, Masculinity, and the Paradox of Oneness." Marsden Hartley: Image and Identity symposium hosted by Bates College, Lewiston, Maine. (Nov. 6, 2004)

     
     

    "Reexamining the Formalist Body: Abstract Painting in the 1960s." Redefining American Modernism session of the College Art Association, Seattle, Washington. (Feb. 19, 2004)

     
     

    "Imaginary Bodies and Bourgeois Pleasures: Matisse and the New York School in Fifties Visual Culture." University of Texas, Austin, Austin, Texas. (April 2004)

     
     Invited Talks
     

    “The Bright Resurrection: Aesthetic In(ter)ventions at the End of Life,” an invited lecture at the 23rd Annual Psychotherapy and Faith Conference, Houston, Texas, November 7, 2014.

     
     

    “Love Stories from the End of Life,” an invited lecture for the course “The End of Life: Interprofessional Perspectives on Death and Dying” at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Texas, November 5, 2014.

     
     

    “I’m Calling It Enlightenment,” an invited talk on my research in the medical humanities presented at the Rice Medical Humanities Symposium at the BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC), Rice University, November  2, 2013.

     
     

    “Like Pearls: Sacred Moments in Healthcare,” an invited talk at the Institute for Spirituality and Health, Houston, April 23, 2013.

     
     

    “More Than Simple Words: Phrases that Heal Us,” an invited lecture and participation in a panel discussion in conjunction with the upcoming conference on Whole Person Patient Care Delivered by Whole Person Clinicians, presented at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, May 10, 2014.

     
     

    “The Love of Wisdom and the Wisdom of Love,” an invited mini-lecture presented as part of The Power of Ideas lecture series organized by Scientia in conjunction with Rice University’s Centennial, Houston, January 22, 2013.

     
     

    Memento Vivere: A Reminder of Life at the End of Life,” an invited paper for the Wyeth Foundation conference on Religion in American Art at the Center for the Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., October 26, 2012. 

     
     

     “Red Like The Heart, And Autumn Gold,” an invited talk presented as a participating faculty member in the session “A Humanitarian Approach to Psychosocial Suffering Influencing the Experience of Disease” at The Collective Soul Symposium: Relieving Physical, Emotional, And Spiritual Suffering of Persons With Advanced Illness and their Caregivers, at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, January 20, 2012.

     
     

    “Hoka Hey!  It is a Good Day to Live!” a presentation at the Grand Rounds Lecture in Psychosocial Medicine at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, April 10, 2012.

     
     

    “ ‘Truly A Mission Accomplished’: Reflections on the Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art,” an invited gallery talk at the Rice University Art Gallery, Houston, September 26, 2012 and November 4, 2012.

     
     

    “The Creativity of COLLAGE: My Experiences as an Artist In Residence with the Art for Cancer Network,” an invited talk presented to the Volunteer Services Organization at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, February 22, 2012.

     
     

    Art Beyond Art: Uncovering the Gems of the Byzantine and Rothko Chapels, an invited lecture presented as part of the Hidden God, Hidden Histories lectures of the Rockwell Symposium, Dept. of Religious Studies, Rice University, April 17, 2010.

     
     

    “The Color Behind The Color, The Light Behind The Light,” an invited lecture presented at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, on September 22, 2010.

     
     

    “The Golden Mirror That Pops In My Head: Some Reflections on Ang Tsherin Sherpa’s Contemporary Art,” presented in conjunction with Professor Anne Klein’s series on “The Knowing Body: Art and the Discovery of the Self,” Rice University, April 30, 2010.

     
     

    Life Beyond Language: Finding Words When There are No Words, Grand Rounds Lecture in Psychosocial Medicine, University of Texas's M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, November 18, 2009.

     
     

    The Open Ends of Boundless Fragments: Some Reflections on The Menil Collection's Body in Fragments Exhibition, The Menil Collection, Houston, October 19, 2009.

     
     ¿Blood Miracles and Fire Magic: The Transmutational Arts of Alberto Burri,¿ a paper delivered at the Humanities Research Center, Rice University, November 13, 2007.
     
     

    "9-11 Minutes on Mel Chin." My God Told Me to Kill Your God: Exhibition on War, Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts, Rice University. (October 25, 2007)

     
     

    ¿9-11 Minutes on Mel Chin,¿ commentary delivered in conjunction with My God Told Me to Kill Your God: Exhibition on War, sponsored by the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts, Rice University, October 25, 2007.

     
     

    Invited Speaker.  "Framing Two Views of Eva Hesse's Drawings." The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas. (March 30, 2006) With Josef Helfenstein

     
     

    Invited Speaker.  "Gigantic Creatures and Miniature Worlds: Collecting Calder at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston." An invited lecture presented at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in conjunction with the thirtieth anniversary celebration of the Cullen Sculpture Garden, Houston, Texas. (May 18, 2006)

     
     

    Invited Speaker.  "Lighting Time, Suspending Space: Some Thoughts on Mysticism and Modern Art." An invited lecture presented at the Center for Visual Culture, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA. (Sept. 2006)

     
     

    "Aesthetics as a Multi-dimensional Modality of Knowing." Integral Epistemologies conference at the Center for Theory and Research, Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA. (Dec. 2005)

     
     

    Presented an invited lecture:.  "Imaginary Bodies and Bourgeois Pleasures: Henri Matisse and Postwar Visual Culture." University of Texas, Austin. (April 23, 2004)

     
     

    Symposium Speaker.  "Marsden Hartley: Mysticism, Masculinity, and the Paradox of Oneness." Bates College Museum of Art, Lewiston, Maine. (Nov. 6, 2004)

     
     

    "Reexamining the Formalist Body: Abstract Painting in the 1960s." College Art Association, Seattle, Washington. (February 2004)

     
     

    I delivered the Roberts Lecture in the Dept. of Art.  "Little Images and Unframed Spaces: Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock's Dialogical Painting." Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa. (October 31, 2002)

     
     Keynote Speaker
     ¿Unsaying the Ideal,¿ a keynote lecture delivered at ¿An Interdisciplinary Odyssey: Art History in the Twenty-First Century,¿ a graduate student symposium sponsored by the University of Kansas, Lawrence, April 13, 2007.
     
     

    "Unsaying the Ideal." An Interdisciplinary Odyssey: Art History in the Twenty-First Century, University of Kansas, Lawrence. (April 13, 2007)

     
     Lectures
     

    "Blood Miracles and Fire Magic: The Transmutational Arts of Alberto Burri." Humanities Research Center, Rice University, Houston. (Nov. 13, 2007)

     
     

    Lecturer.  "From the Romanesque Church to the Modern Museum: Displaying the Sacred Structures of Pierre Soulages Abstract Paintings." A conference paper delivered at the Temples of Art? Museums and Religious Objects session of the College Art Association annual conference, Boston, MA. (Feb. 2006)

     
     

    "Imaginary Bodies and Bourgeois Pleasures: Henri Matisse and Postwar Visual Culture." Dept. of Art History, University of Texas, Austin, TX. (April 23, 2004)

     
     

    "Studies in Self-Creation and Creative Destruction: James Johnson Sweeney and Jean Tinguely." Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS), Houston. (April 4, 2005)

     
     Other
     

    "Fragmented Bodies and Canonical Nudes: Painting and Reading de Kooning's Women." Rice University, Houston, TX, Non-refereed. (April 5, 2001)

     
     

    "Gender, Liberation, and the New York School: Reconceptualizing the Role of the Feminine in a Masculinist Visual Culture." Barnard College Feminist Art and Art History Conference, Barnard College, NY, Refereed. (November 10, 2001)

     
     

    "John Marin and Jackson Pollock: Bodies, Frames, and Formalism in the 1940s." Brown University Department of History of Art and Architecture, Providence, Rhode Island, Non-refereed. (April 20, 2000)

     
     

    "Still Lifes and Centerfolds: Greenberg's Strategic Depictions of Matisse's Female Figures." Barnard College Feminist Art and Art History Conference, Barnard College, New York, Refereed. (October 29, 2000)

     
     

    "The Female Body: The Ideological Inheritance of Art History." Sexuality Forum hosted by the Rice Women's Resource Center, Rice University, Houston, TX, Non-refereed. (October 25, 2001)

     
     Panelist
     

    “All the Life of the House,” an invited talk for the Artists Collective event “Art: A STEM of Education,” Houston, Texas, September 19, 2014.

     
     

    Discussant for the upcoming panel session on “Religion and the Avant-Garde” at the College Art Association annual conference, Chicago, February 13, 2014.

     
     

    “Curating Quilts, Quilting as Curation,” an invited talk presented as part of the panel for the Rice University HERE (Houston Enriches Rice Education) Project, in conjunction with the exhibition Hearts, Hands & Heritage: The Patchwork Soul of Women, November 5, 2010.

     
     ¿The Depths of The Deep: A Roundtable Discussion on Pollock¿s Masterwork,¿ participation in a panel discussion at The Menil Collection, Houston, July 19, 2007.
     
     

    "The Depths of The Deep: A Roundtable Discussion on Pollock's Masterwork." The Menil Collection, Houston. (July 19, 2007)

     
     

    Presented Conference Paper:.  "Reexamining the Formalist Body: Abstract Painting in the 1960s." College Art Association, Seattle. (Feb. 19. 2004)

     
     Seminar Speaker
     

    “The Living Epiphany: Near-Death Experiences and the Death that Saved our Lives,” a talk presented as part of the GEM (Gnosticism, Esotericism, Mysticism) Research Forum, Dept. of Religion, Rice University, September 12, 2014.

     
     Session Chair
     

    Museums and the Medical Humanities: Our Continuing Conversation, a symposium drawing together speakers from the Texas Medical Center and the Houston Museum District, which was held at Rice University on February 19, 2010.

     
     Workshops
     

    “Marsden Hartley and Mysticism: Scholar’s Colloquy,” an invited event preceding the exhibition Marsden Hartley and Mysticism at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, August 18, 2014.

     
     

     “ ‘One Step Closer To Heaven’: Envisioning the Afterlife in the Artworks of Palliative Care Patients,”  a workshop presentation at the 16th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Palliative Medicine, Hospice, and Supportive Care, organized by the University of Texas’s M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, September 8, 2012.

     
    Editorial Positions
     Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Curatorial Studies. Intellect, U.K.. (2013 - 2015)

     Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Curatorial Studies. Intellect, U.K.. (2013 - 2016)

    Supervised Theses & Dissertations
     Izabel Gass, B.A., B.Arch Cybernetics and Modern Art. (2006) (Thesis Director)

     Izabel Gass, B.A., B.Arch Cybernetics and Modern Art. (2006) (Thesis Director)

     Izabel Gass, B.A. New Directions in Virtual Art. (2006) (Thesis Director)

     Hae Young Seong, Ph.D. A Happy Pull of Athene. (2008) (Thesis Committee Member)

     Hae Young Seong, Ph D A Happy Pull of Athene: An Experiential Reading of the Plotinian Henosis in the Enneads and Its Significance for the Comparative Study of Religion. (2008) (Thesis Committee Member)

     Elitza Ranova, Ph D Facing Europe: Media, Modernity and Globalization in Bulgaria. (2009) (Thesis Committee Member)

     Elitza Ranova, Ph.D. Re-Inventing Europe: Culture, Style and Post-Socialist Change in Bulgaria. (2010) (Thesis Committee Member)

     Robert McClure, Ph.D. Dissertation in Music Composition with a piece composed for Orchestra. (2013) (Thesis Committee Member)

    Awards, Prizes, & Fellowships
     Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center Book Prize, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center (Spring 2016)

     George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching, Finalist, Rice University (2015)

     Named one of Baker College’s Best Professors, Rice University (Autumn 2014)

     Humanities Research Center, Rice University, Faculty Fellowship, Rice HRC (Autumn 2013-Spring 2014)

     Baker College's Best Professors, Baker College, Rice University (Fall 2013)

     Faculty Initiatives Fund Award, Office of Research, Rice University, Provost's Office (2010)

     Conference Grant, Humanities Research Center, Rice University (2009)

     George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching, Rice University , Rice University and the Brown Foundation (May 2010)

     George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching, Rice University , Rice University (2010)

     Collaborative Faculty Fellowship, Humanities Research Center (2008-2009)

     George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching, Rice University (2009)

     Faculty Research Fellowship, Humanities Research Center, Rice University (Spring 2007)

     American Council of Learned Societies, Contemplative Practice Fellowship, ACLS and the Fetzer Foundation (Summer 2006)

     Faculty Fellowship, Humanities Research Center, Rice University (Spring 2007)

     Publication Subvention Support, Rice University, Dept. of Art History and the School of Humanities (Fall 2005)

     Named as offering the "Best Class at Rice University", 2004 Guide to Texas Colleges and Universities (2004)

     Presidential Research Award, Office of the President, Rice University (2002-2003)

     Presidential Research Award, Rice University (2001-2003)

     National Endowment for the Humanities/Sarofim Seminar Participant, Rice University (2001-2002)

     Member, College Art Association (Since 1991)

     Member, International Association of Word & Image Studies (Since 1999)

     Member, American Association of University Women (since 1995)

     Member, Archives of American Art (Since 1995)

    Residencies & Summer Festivals
     Residency
     Artist In Residence. , Dept. of Palliative Medicine, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. (Ongoing since 2009)
     Artist In Residence. Artist-In-Residence, Department of Palliative Care, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas. As an Artist-In-Residence, I practice literary and conceptual artwork poised at the intersection of oncology and palliative medicine., M D Anderson Cancer Center. (Since Spring 2009)
    Positions Held
     Artist In Residence, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. (2012 - 2012)

     Artist In Residence, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. (2009 - 2015)

     Artist In Residence, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. (2009 - 2016)

     Editorial Board Member, Journal of Curatorial Studies. (2012 - 2012)