The Smithsonian American Art Museum has awarded the 2011 Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in American Art to Kristina Wilson for her book The Modern Eye: Stieglitz, MoMA and the Art of Exhibition, 1925-1934 (Yale University Press, 2009). It is recognized as a “new and excellent interpretation of the success of modern art in America.”
“I am delighted that the jurors have chosen to honor Kristina Wilson, whose examination of exhibitions in the 1920s and 1930s offers insights into the way museums and the public received modern art,” said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The three jurors who awarded the $3,000 prize are Vivien Green Fryd, professor and chair of the department of the history of art at Vanderbilt University; Elizabeth Johns, professor emerita of the history of art at the University of Pennsylvania; and Roberta K. Tarbell, professor emerita at Rutgers University, Camden and visiting scholar at the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The jurors wrote, “Wilson has written a significant book with a clear argument, articulated throughout with graceful writing that is accessible to the general reader. Her fluent exposition of a well-researched, original interpretation of Americans’ ‘Modern Eye’ is an outstanding contribution to the field.”
Wilson is associate professor of art history at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. She received a doctorate in the history of art from Yale University in 2001. Her research interests include painting, photography and design in the United States during the period between 1918 and 1939 and the history and criticism of museums.In addition to The Modern Eye, she also is the author of Livable Modernism: Interior Decorating and Design During the Great Depression (Yale University Press, 2004), which accompanied an exhibition at the Yale University Art Gallery. It won the Charles F. Montgomery Award from the Decorative Arts Society in 2006. She has contributed articles and reviews to a wide variety of publications, including journals such as The Art Bulletin, Winterthur Portfolio and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, and exhibition catalogs at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, the National Building Museum and the Milwaukee Art Museum.
The Eldredge Prize, named in honor of the former director of the museum (1982-1988), is sponsored by the American Art Forum, a patrons’ support organization. This annual award, initiated in 1989, seeks to recognize originality and thoroughness of research, excellence of writing and clarity of method. Single-author, book-length publications in the field of American art history appearing within the three previous calendar years are eligible. Dec. 1 is the deadline for 2012 nominations.
Recent Eldredge Prize recipients include Kirk Savage (2010) for his book Monument Wars: Washington, D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape (University of California Press, 2009), Cécile Whiting (2009) for her book Pop L.A.: Art and the City in the 1960s (University of California Press, 2006) and JoAnne M. Mancini (2008) for Pre-Modernism: Art-World Change and American Culture from the Civil War to the Armory Show (Princeton University Press, 2005). A complete list of past winners is available on the museum’s website at americanart.si.edu/research/awards/eldredge.
The museum’s research programs include fellowships for pre- and postdoctoral scholars, extensive photographic collections documenting American art and artists, and unparalleled art research databases. An active publications program of books, catalogs and the journal American Art complements the museum’s exhibitions and educational programs.