Editors’ Welcome

Welcome to issue 7.2 of Panorama. As 2021 draws to a close, we are excited to offer readers an array of timely and insightful content. We recognize that this has been another long and challenging year for many, and we hope that the pieces in this issue provide provocation, inspiration, and respite during the winter months ahead. 

Panorama debuts the first of three anticipated digital art history (DAH) articles as part of “Toward a More Inclusive Digital Art History,” an initiative generously funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art that aims to increase access to data-driven methods in American art studies. The double-anonymous peer-reviewed feature article by Sierra Rooney focuses on public monuments to women’s suffrage and offers an insightful picture of the national commemoration of women in the public landscape. Through qualitative and quantitative analysis, the author uncovers the uneven and sometimes misrepresentative history of womens’ suffrage in the United States and raises significant questions about monument style, race, and historical memory. We hope that Rooney’s original interactive features, including five scrollable and clickable ArcGIS maps and full data set, will aid future research into public monuments to women and serve as another scholarly model in the growing field of DAH studies. 

As part of “Toward a More Inclusive Digital Art History,” Panorama convened a cohort of scholars working on digital art history projects, selected through a public call, for a multiday workshop in February 2021. Facilitated by Digital Art History editor Diana Seave Greenwald and Project Manager Johnathan Hardy, the program included research presentations by workshop participants, discussion with Panorama editors, and a public virtual lecture by Paul Jaskot, Professor of Art History and Director of Duke’s Digital Art History & Visual Culture Research Lab, which drew global attendance (fig. 1). As Hardy, Greenwald, and four participants explain in their individual summaries of the workshop, the initiative aimed not only to produce feature-length scholarly DAH articles, but—more important—to also foster a community of scholars, introduce and provide access to DAH methods and tools, help the cohort develop individual research questions, select the correct tools for their datasets, and offer mentorship and guidance on the development of their research projects. We extend heartfelt thanks to Terra Foundation Deputy Director Francesca Rose for her support of this project and former Panorama Co-Executive Editor John Bowles for writing the grant that made this project possible. Subscribe to Panorama for news about the next public discussion of digital art history, planned for March 2022. 

Heat map of the world with data points on six continents, with the largest concentration in North America

Fig. 1. Map of attendees for Paul Jaskots virtual lecture Thinking about Visibility and Invisibility in the Art Historical Canon: The Tensions between Evidence and Data in Digital Art History, February 27, 2021, presented by Panorama and the Terra Foundation for American Art

Attentive readers will notice the “digital turn” in other areas of the journal, as well. This includes maps, charts, GIFs, numerous never-before-published images, and screen reader–accessible alt-text captions, the latter made possible through a new collaboration with the Texts and Technology PhD program at the University of Central Florida. We promise to continue to take advantage of the interactive possibilities engendered by our digital platform in order to increase diversity and accessibility. This work will, in part, be facilitated by Tracy Stuber, the newly appointed Digital Reviews Editor, who is currently a Research Specialist for PhotoTech at the Getty Research Institute and will lead a new section of the journal premiering in Fall 2022 that introduces readers to digital practices and data-driven methods in American art history. 

Two additional double-anonymous peer-reviewed articles on modern American art of the 1940s fill out the features section. Cécile Whiting offers a new reading of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings of birds, revealing the ways in which they reflect anxiety over World War II. Paula Wisotzki discusses how art, dance, and social justice intersected in the activities and work of artists Dorothy Dehner and David Smith and dancer Franziska Boas. These timely reconsiderations of American art and culture underscore modernism’s intersections with contemporaneous political events, cultural movements, and social justice work. Both Whiting and Wisotki demonstrate that formalism is not the only tool for assessing mid-twentieth-century modernist projects. 

The In the Round, guest edited by Liz Kim and Amy Von Lintel, highlights how women have traditionally been forced to juggle competing roles as teachers and practicing artists. A diverse group of artists, educators, and scholars explore the relationships between gender, art, and teaching in essays and interviews. Rebecca Giordano surveys Selma Burke’s teaching career from the Harlem Community Art Center in the late 1930s to retirement from the Selma Burke Art Center in Pittsburgh in 1976. Similarly, Sally Brown explores Judy Chicago’s trajectory from Fresno State College in the 1970s to her recent collaborations with fashion designer Christian Dior. The socially engaged practice of the art collective Sapphire and Crystals allows Joanna Gardner-Huggett to discuss what adrienne maree brown has termed “flocking”—an approach to organizing that opens up new possibilities for social change through collaborative activism. Three insightful interviews consider the work of Johnnie Mae Maberry, the first African American woman on the art department faculty at Tougaloo College; Chicana/Tejana artist Santa Barraza; and Kelly Church (Ottawa/Pottawatomi) and Renee Dillard (Anishinaabe), who teach black ash basketmaking. 

This issue’s Colloquium, guest-edited by Emily Casey, continues the focus on canon formation, methodology, and historicity by asking “When and Where Does Colonial America End?” Contributors assess the status of transatlantic Colonial portraiture and the collection of early Indigenous objects, viceregal Peruvian landscape painting, the extermination of the buffalo, and the redaction of racism in John Sloan’s diaries by earlier scholars. Collectively, this section’s contributors challenge readers to think about how colonialism extends into today and pervades our discipline and its histories. 

In Research Notes, Christina Michelon considers how stereoscopic photographs of the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire evoke romanticized ruins and played a role in reimagining the city’s future, while Natalia Vieyra examines official portraiture by Puerto Rican artist Francisco Oller and uses new archival materials to frame them as a US imperial project. Five incisive book reviews cover the resonances between cotton economies and the idioms of Blackness in US art and culture; design and environmental art of the 1960s and 70s; networks in the UK and US Aesthetic Movement; Horace Pippin and his art; and artists’ homes and studios. Five compelling exhibition reviews adress Magic Realism; Virginia’s Natural Bridge; and the art practices of Joshua Johnson, Sonya Clark, and Jacob Lawrence. These sections survey new directions in scholarship and curatorial practice. 

The Sixth Biennial AHAA Symposium in October, co-organized by the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, similarly offered an opportunity—albeit remotely—to highlight current work by scholars at all levels. Graduate student Ashley Cope summarizes the events in a special section and inspires us to look forward to 2022, when we can gather in person at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the University of Arkansas for the Seventh Biennial Symposium. 

Finally, this issue marks the last for exhibition reviews editor Rebecca Bedell, who began as a member of our inaugural Advisory Board. We have valued her contributions to the section, as well as her generosity, professionalism, and collegiality. The production of Panorama is only made possible through the efforts of our volunteer editorial team, managing editor, and project leader, and via the financial support of grants and contributions from readers like you. 

We hope that, as the year comes to a close, you consider making a donation to support Panorama. As peer organizations and affiliate journals reconsider their publication models and grapple with the challenges of financial solvency, a donation to our open-access, digital journal underwrites operations ensuring the financial sustainability of Panorama in the long term. 

Cite this article: Naomi Slipp, Jacqueline Francis, and Keri Watson, “Editors’ Welcome,” Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art 7, no. 2 (Fall 2021), https://editions.lib.umn.edu/panorama/article/editors-welcome-7-2.

PDF: Slipp, Francis, and Watson, Editors’ Welcome 7.2

About the Author(s): Naomi Slipp, Jacqueline Francis, and Keri Watson are the Executive Editors of Panorama