Wells Article Published in American Art Journal
Wells’s contribution to a “Commentaries” feature edited by Kristen Pat Buick on “Seeing the Survey Anew: White Racial Formation in the History of American Art, is “Indexing Whiteness to American Design,” which examines how the Index of American Design, a WPA project of the 1930s and 1940s, helped transform understandings of White racial identity in the United States. In the wake of the Immigration Act of 1924, Euro-Americans were seen less as a malignant horde of separate races and more as a benign collection of ethnicities that made up a unified White or “Caucasian” race. The Index of American Design produced thousands of illustrations documenting decorative arts before 1900 and constructed a canon of American art around these White ethnic groups. The Index excluded most objects made by Native, African, and Asian Americans and instead sought out “folk art” produced by relatively isolated or archaic groups descended from European immigrants. By celebrating the diversity of White Americans and presenting their material culture as the basis for a unified American art, the Index of American Design helped codify White racial formation and its underpinning of American national identity.
Schaefer Publishes Book: Gustave Doré and the Modern Biblical Imagination
Gustave Doré and the Modern Biblical Imagination explores the role of biblical imagery in modernity through the lens of Gustave Doré (1832-83), whose work is among the most reproduced and adapted scriptural imagery in the history of Judeo-Christianity.