Supported by an endowment from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, our academic and curricular initiatives spur new scholarship and strengthen connections between the University of Chicago and the Smart Museum. Established in 1992 and bolstered with a $1.25 million gift (PDF) from the Mellon Foundation in 2010—the single largest foundation gift in the Museum’s history—the Mellon program fosters collaboration between the Museum and faculty, encourages the integration of our exhibitions and collection into the curriculum, and supports the publication of original research.
At its core, the program allows University faculty and students to work in tandem with the Smart’s curatorial team to develop thematic exhibitions based on the Smart Museum’s extensive collection. Related courses or seminars, exhibition catalogues, and public programs are an integral part of the Mellon program as well.
The Smart welcomes the opportunity to work with University of Chicago faculty from all disciplines. For more information or to discuss an idea for a Mellon exhibition, please contact Anne Leonard.
Through the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Smart now offers grants to University of Chicago faculty who wish to integrate the Smart Museum’s collection or exhibitions into their own research or teaching. A listing of recent grants is below.
These Mellon grants are open to University faculty from all disciplines and can be requested in any amount, though most will fall in the $500–$1,500 range. Proposals will be evaluated on a rolling basis each year until funds are exhausted. Initiatives will vary in nature, but should make use of the Smart’s collections or exhibitions to enhance the academic life of the University. Proposals might include, but are not limited to:
Proposals will be reviewed by Smart Museum staff and evaluated as to feasibility, relevance to the Smart's collection and exhibitions, and likelihood of completion.
Literary Objects: Flaubert
with Philippe Desan
Weimar Bodies: Fantasies About the Body in Weimar Art, Science, and Medicine
with Sander Gilman
The Place of the Antique in Early Modern Europe
with Ingrid Rowland
The Theatrical Baroque
with Larry Norman
A Well-Fashioned Image: Clothing and Costumes in European Art, 1500–1850
with Elissa Weaver
Confronting Identities in German Art: Myths, Reactions, Reflections
with Reinhold Heller
The Painted Text: Picturing Narrative in European Art
with Frederick de Armas
Paper Museums: The Reproductive Print in Europe, 1500–1800
with Rebecca Zorach
One/Many: Western American Survey Photographs by Bell and O'Sullivan
with Joel Snyder
GRAPHIKÉ: Writing/Drawing in the Ancient World
with Glenn Most and Richard Neer
Looking and Listening in Nineteenth-Century France
with Martha Ward
The “Writing” of Modern Life: The Etching Revival in France, Britain, and the U.S., 1850–1940
with Elizabeth Helsinger
The Tragic Muse: Art and Emotion, 1700–1900
with Sarah Nooter and Thomas Pavel
After the Readymade
with Christine Mehring
Awash in Color: French and Japanese Prints
with Chelsea Foxwell
2009–2010 academic year
Christing Mehring, Associate Professor in Art History: research to integrate a program of object-based museum visits into the 20th-century art survey course. With research assistant Emily Capper, Professor Mehring mined the collection for objects that elucidate important figures and currents in 20th-century art. Now, all section meetings for this course are held at the Smart Museum. ($840)
Megan Luke, Harper-Schmidt postdoctoral fellow: research to orient the Art 101 course (Introduction to Art) toward a Smart Museum collections focus, to increase students’ engagemnt with original works of art. Research was conducted by graduate student Maggie Taft under Dr. Luke’s guidance, with input from course assistant Victoria Salinger. The results are available to all new Art 101 instructors. ($1,200)
Judith Zeitlin, Professor in Chinese Literature, East Asian Languages and Civilizations: research travel for Performing Images: Opera in Chinese Visual Culture. Professor Zeitlin and her co-curator, graduate student Yuhang Li, visited museums in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Hawaii, Boston, and Kansas City, to consider objects for inclusion in the Chinese opera exhibition slated to open at the Smart Museum in 2014. ($5,600)
Christing Mehring, Associate Professor in Art History, on behalf of the Object Cultures Workshop and 3CT (the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory): co-sponsorship of the Lives of Things conference, held in April 2011 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Arjun Appadurai’s edited volume The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. ($500)
Chelsea Foxwell, Assistant Professor in Art History: research assistance to support curatorial work on Awash in Color: French and Japanese Prints, an exhibition being organized at the Smart Museum for fall 2012.
The Sahmat Collective
February 14–June 9, 2013
Explore art and activism in the world's most populous democracy, India.
The Smart's biennial report is now available online. The Bulletin details the Museum's exhibitions, programs, acquisitions, and generous supporters over the last two years.