Faculty Biography


Kristina Wilson, Ph.D.

Professor of Art History
Department of Visual and Performing Art
Clark University
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

Phone: 508.793.7639
Email: krwilson@clarku.edu

Professional Website


Dr. Wilson received a B.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University in 1993 and 2001, respectively. She joined the Clark faculty in the autumn of 2004.

Current Research and Teaching

Wilson's interests include nineteenth- and twentieth-century painting and sculpture, modern design and architecture, and the history and methodologies of art history. Her scholarly research focuses on American painting, photography, and modernist design from the interwar and postwar decades, and the history and criticism of museums. She is particularly interested in the roles museums have played in defining modern art, and in teaching modern art from a multi-disciplinary point of view.

Wilson teaches lecture courses on nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century art, as well as an upper-level course on modern design (ARTH 243: Design in the 20th Century: Arts and Crafts to Ikea). She also teaches seminars on gender in art, art and culture in twentieth-century America, and art history methods (ARTH 210, required for the art history major).

In 2015-16, Wilson led students in a research project at the Worcester Art Museum on cyanotype photography. With Nancy Burns, Associate Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, she curated Cyanotypes: Photography’s Blue Period. Students contributed essays to the exhibition catalogue and wrote gallery labels for the exhibition. The exhibition won an Award for Excellence from the Association of Art Museum Curators in 2017.

Wilson’s book about museums and the popularizing of American modernism came out in 2009, entitled The Modern Eye: Stieglitz, MoMA, and the Art of the Exhibition, 1925-1934 (Yale University Press). The Modern Eye was awarded the 2011 Charles C. Eldredge Prize for distinguished scholarship in American art by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

In 2004, Wilson published Livable Modernism: Interior Decorating and Design During the Great Depression(Yale University Press), about the rise of American modernist design in the Depression years. The book won the Charles F. Montgomery Book Award from the Decorative Arts Society, and was accompanied by an exhibition at the Yale University Art Gallery in 2004-2005.

She is currently writing a book on mid-century modernist design and the semiotics of race and gender in mid-century suburban America.

Selected Publications

Wilson has contributed articles and reviews to a wide variety of publications, including journals such The Art Bulletin, Winterthur Portfolio, and Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, and exhibition catalogues at the RISD Museum, National Building Museum, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. A selected list includes:

“Like a ‘Girl in a Bikini Suit’ and Other Stories: The Herman Miller Company, Gender, and Race at Mid-Century.” Journal of Design History 28, no. 2 (May 2015): 161-181.

“Fearing a 'Conservative Public': The Dial Collection in Worcester.” American Art 27, no. 3 (Fall 2013): 27-33.

“La Galerie d'Art: Exposer l'art moderne dans le New York des années 1920,” in Carrefour Stieglitz: Colloque de Cerisy-la-Salle, ed. Jay Bochner and Jean-Pierre Montier (Collection “Art & Société,” Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2012), 55-67.

“Ambivalence, Irony, and Americana: Sheeler’s American Interiors.” Winterthur Portfolio 45, no. 4 (Winter 2011): 249-276.

“‘The Happiest Party in Town’: Cocktail Accessories and American Culture, 1945-1965,” in Cocktail Culture: Ritual and Invention in American Fashion, 1920-1980, ed. Joanne Ingersoll (RISD Museum, 2011), 75-87.

“Designing the Modern Family at the Fairs,” in Designing the World of Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s, eds. Laura Schiavo and Robert W. Rydell (Yale University Press and the National Building Museum, 2010), 141-157.

“The Intimate Gallery and the Equivalents: Spirituality in the 1920s Work of Stieglitz.” The Art Bulletin 85, no. 4 (December 2003): 746-68.