Meet Kay Wells

The newest member of our faculty, Assistant Professor Kay Wells, is a historian of American art who examines the relationships between fine and applied arts from the late eighteenth century to today. Her book manuscript in progress, Transatlantic Tapestries, enables a new understanding of international modernism by exploring the close relationship between modernist painting and French tapestry in the decades following World War II. Prof. Wells completed her PhD from the University of Southern California in 2014 and her MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009. She is thrilled to be back in Wisconsin, having missed the local beer, the squeaky cheese, and the sailing (but not the winters). During the Spring 2014 semester, Prof. Wells was the first Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Craft at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, where she taught courses on the History and Theory of Craft and Craft Since 1945. This year at UWM, she is teaching courses in American Art, American Architecture, and Western Art History.

Prof. Well’s publications include “Rockefeller’s Guernica and the collection of Modern Copies,” forthcoming in Journal of the History of Collections, and “Serpentine Sideboards, Hogarth’s Analysis, and the Beautiful Self,” in Eighteenth Century Studies (Spring 2013). She has written catalogue essays for the exhibitions Decorum at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Where Words Art Not Enough at the ArtSpace Gallery in Richmond. Prof. Wells has also conducted research for the Getty Center, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and Sotheby’s in New York. She has been granted numerous fellowships and awards including a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship (declined), a Swiss National Science Foundation Research Fellowship, and membership in Phi Beta Kappa.