Open Secrets: Publicity, Privacy, and Histories of American Art, 1958-69


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Art History


Focusing on the years 1958 to 1969 and encompassing work by American artists Robert Smithson, Jay DeFeo, Wallace Berman, and Brigid Berlin, this project examines private, underground, or otherwise non-public artworks that were long invisible to art history and now occupy the margins of the discipline. As open secrets, these objects are no longer clandestine, but their significance to art history remains a matter of uncertainty, unease, and partial intelligibility. Working at the interstices of history and historiography, the project frames the dialectic between publicity and privacy as both a historically fixed aspect of postwar American art and an ongoing methodological constraint that continues to infect art-historical knowledge.