Wells, Kay

Director of Graduate Studies; Associate Professor, American Art


  • PhD History of Art, University of Southern California
  • MA   History of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • BA   History of Art, Barnard College, Columbia University

Research & Teaching Interests:

  • American art and architecture
  • Modern design, craft, and decorative arts
  • Material and visual culture studies
  • Politics of artistic revivals

Courses Taught:

  • ArtHist 102: Renaissance to Modern Art and Architecture
  • ArtHist 250: Introduction to American Art
  • ArtHist 368: History of Modern Design
  • ArtHist 353: American Art: Colonial Period-1870
  • ArtHist 354: American Art: 1870 - Present
  • ArtHist 355: American Folk Art
  • ArtHist 459: American Architecture
  • ArtHist 462: Frank Lloyd Wright
  • ArtHist 501: Colloquium in Method and Theory
  • ArtHist 750: Revival! Visualizing the American Past
  • ArtHist 750: Japonisme—Japan and America in Artistic Encounter

Selected Publications:

Wells, K. L. H. "Indexing Whiteness to American Design.” Contribution to “Commentaries: Seeing the Survey Anew: White Racial Formation in the History of American Art,” ed. Kirsten Pai Buick. American Art, 36, no. 3 (Fall 2022): 10-14; doi.org/10.1086/722521

Wells, K. L. H. “Reading Feminism in Modern Tapestry’s Archive.” Archives of American Art Journal 60, no. 1 (Spring 2021): 23-43. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/714300

Wells, K. L. H. “The Uncanny Design of Thorne’s Miniature Rooms.” In Interior Provocations: History, Theory, and Practice of Autonomous Interiors, 11-29. Edited by Anca Lasc, et. al. New York: Routledge, 2021. https://www.routledge.com/Interior-Provocations-History-Theory-and-Practice-of-Autonomous-Interiors/Lasc-Schneiderman-Suh-Tehve-Winton-Zieve/p/book/9780367418489

Wells, K. L. H. Weaving Modernism: Postwar Tapestry between Paris and New York. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019. https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300232592/weaving-modernism

Wells, K. L. H. “Laboring Under Globalization: Tapestries by Contemporary Artists.” Art Journal 77, no. 4 (Winter 2018): 26-45. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00043249.2018.1549874

Wells, K. L. H. “Colonial Williamsburg from World Peace to World War,” Rockefeller Archive Center Research Reports, posted 17 January 2020. https://rockarch.issuelab.org/resource/colonial-williamsburg-from-world-peace-to-world-war.html