2017 Charles Eldredge Prize | Transporting Visions
Press release (13 April 2017) from the Smithsonian:
Jennifer L. Roberts, Transporting Visions: The Movement of Images in Early America (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2014), 240 pages, ISBN: 978-0520251847, $60 / £42.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum has awarded the 2017 Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in American Art to Jennifer L. Roberts, the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, for her book Transporting Visions: The Movement of Images in Early America (University of California Press, 2014). The jurors wrote in a joint statement: “Roberts’s adventurous account provides an exciting indication of where the field of American art is going as it pushes analysis of visual material into new terrain.”
The three jurors who awarded the $3,000 prize were Jennifer Greenhill, associate professor of art history at the University of Southern California; Jessica May, deputy director and Robert and Elizabeth Nanovic Chief Curator at the Portland Museum of Art, Maine; and Akela Reason, associate professor of history at the University of Georgia.
The jurors continued: “Transporting Visions: The Movement of Images in Early America [is] a book of rare ambition whose impact on the field is undeniable. Methodologically sophisticated in its treatment of the material properties of objects on the move—the literal ‘weight and heft’ of things in the physical world—Roberts demonstrates just how much art historians have to contribute to contemporary, cross-disciplinary debates about the complex meanings of matter. The arguments about John Singleton Copley, John James Audubon, and Asher B. Durand are elegantly conceived and tightly crafted, making the book truly a pleasure to read. Rarely does such a field-shaping book come along.”
Roberts is the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. She teaches American art from the colonial period to the present, with particular focus on issues of landscape, expedition, material culture theory, and the history and philosophy of science. Roberts is the author of Mirror-Travels: Robert Smithson and History (2004) and Jasper Johns/In Press: The Crosshatch Works and the Logic of Print (2012). She is the co-author of the forthcoming catalog raisonné of Jasper Johns’ monotypes and is working on a book, The Matrix, about the broad cultural and philosophical implications of the physical operations of printing. She received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University (1992) and earned her doctorate in art history from Yale University (2000). Roberts currently holds a Harvard College Professorship that was awarded for distinguished research and undergraduate teaching. She will occupy the Slade Professorship in Fine Arts at Cambridge University in 2019.
Roberts will give the annual Eldredge Prize lecture at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in the spring of 2018. More information about the prize, along with a list of past winners, is available here.