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The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art Announces the Distinguished Scholar and Fellows for the 2020–2021 Academic Year


The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art, a leading research organization dedicated exclusively to the study of modernism, announced its 2020–2021 academic year appointments. 

Pepe Karmel has been selected as the 2021 Distinguished Scholar.  Karmel is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at New York University. Karmel has written about modern and contemporary art for numerous exhibition catalogues and journals, and is the author of two monographs: Picasso and the Invention of Cubism (Yale University Press, 2003) and Abstract Art: A Global History (Thames & Hudson, 2020). He assisted in the organization of Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism (1989), and was co-curator for Picasso: Masterworks from the Museum of Modern Art (1997–98) and the retrospective Jackson Pollock (1998), all for the Museum of Modern Art. Karmel also curated the installation Dialogues with Picasso at the Museo Picasso Málaga (2020-23). During his residency at the Research Center, he will be studying later Cubism, focusing on how the artistic interaction among Picasso, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, and Juan Gris extended into the 1920s.

Two Leonard A. Lauder Fellows in Modern Art have been selected for two-year fellowships at the Research Center: Alexandra Chiriac (Ph.D., University of St. Andrews), who will work on her second book that explores urban modernity in interwar Bucharest through the means of design and visual culture, and traces the city’s networks of connectivity to Paris and New York; and Jason Mientkiewicz (Ph.D. Candidate, Johns Hopkins University), who will focus on Cubism’s position in art school curricula throughout Russia in the early 20th century as well as its contested status in debates on art’s role in socialist politics. Jonathan Vernon (Ph.D., The Courtauld Institute of Art) has been selected for a one-year fellowship. He will develop a manuscript exploring how the fragment was retooled as part of the modernist canon and what it reveals about the relationship between American art histories and Cold War ideology. They will join Meghan Forbes (Ph.D., University of Michigan), who will enter the second year of her fellowship and continue to work on her book manuscript documenting historical correspondence, travel accounts, and periodicals related to previously overlooked networks of exchange between the Czech avant-garde and peers to the East and West.

Max Hollein, Director of The Met, commented, “A leader in the field, The Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art continually sheds new light on previously under-researched areas and expands our understanding of modernism. This outstanding group of individuals will surely enrich this work, further demonstrating the Research Center’s commitment to intellectual collaboration and advancing scholarship.”

“We are delighted to welcome Pepe Kamel as the 2021 Distinguished Scholar, and the young scholars who have been awarded dissertation fellowships and postdoctoral fellowships" said Stephanie D’Alessandro, Curator in Charge of the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art. “Their work represents some of the most inventive thinking in the study of modernism today and we look forward to supporting their research and the contributions they will make to our field.” 

About the Research Center
Founded in in April 2013, The Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art is a leading center for scholarship on modern art, with a special focus on Cubism. The first such institution dedicated exclusively to the study of modernism within an encyclopedic museum, the Research Center, under the direction of Stephanie D’Alessandro, Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Modern Art and Curator in Charge, makes critical contributions to scholarship through its fellowships for emerging as well as senior scholars and its robust program of exhibitions, lectures, publications, research projects, and workshops.

Each year, the Research Center awards Leonard A. Lauder Fellowships for pre- and post-doctoral candidates. Recent awards have supported the work of scholars focused on Art Brut, Czech modernism, Dada, Brazilian modern art, interwar European Abstraction, Russian Constructivism, and Surrealism, in addition to the agents, dealers, and reception of Cubism. The institution also supports the invited residencies of senior scholars of modern art, who pursue their own studies while participating in the activities of the Research Center.

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