News & Upcoming Events

Professor Barbara Lynn-Davis' upcoming book reviewed by Publisher's Weekly

Professor Barbara Lynn-Davis
Barbara Lynn-Davis. Photo by Samara Pearlstein.

Professor Barbara Lynn-Davis, who teaches courses in Art History through the Writing Program at Wellesley, will soon see her first novel in print! Casanova's Secret Wife combines historical fiction and romance to tell a story based on a true tale about Giacomo Casanova in eighteenth century Venice.

The novel was recently reviewed by Publisher's Weekly. You can see the review right here.

Casanova's Secret Wife will be publicly released on July 25, 2017.

June 27, 2017


Alida Cervantes, Cole Fellow, to show at Mills Gallery

detail of a painting, stylized face with mustache, by Alida Cervantes
Alida Cervantes, No es soberbia, es amor (It’s not pride, it’s love), 2017 (detail)

Please join the Art Department for the opening of Alida Cervantes: Majas, cambujas y virreinacas this coming Friday, April 14. Alida Cervantes is the 2014-15 winner of our Alice C. Cole '42 Fellowship, which is awarded to an outstanding early-career painter or sculptor, providing funds to support one year of unimpeded time and space to experiment, develop a body of work, and focus on future artistic goals.

This fellowship is made possible by the generous bequest of Wellesley Alumna Alice C. Cole '42. Aware of the burdens that face recent graduates of art school, Ms. Cole makes it possible for an artist to have 'a limited time free of economic necessity'-- an immensely valuable gift.

Colonial era women encounter nearly nude men in imaginative and perverse works by Alida Cervantes, which conflate Mexico’s racially and socially charged colonial past with its complex present. Cervantes’ work explores the complexity and tension of being a “border” artist, and the constant shifts of social and political lines as she crosses the border daily from San Diego to work in her art studio in Tijuana, Mexico. Her rich and provocative paintings, drawings and video work address social hierarchies, gender relations, and the reflexive histories situated within colonial and present-day Mexico, where “sex, love, and emotions both flow and are repressed”. Born in Tijuana and living in San Diego, this will be Cervantes’ first East Coast solo presentation of her work. The exhibition is curated by Candice Ivy.

Cervantes will be in conversation with Adriana Zavala of Tufts University from 5:00 - 6:00 pm.

Opening reception:

Friday, April 14
6:00-8:00 pm
Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont St, Boston MA
April 12, 2017



Rebecca Brienen '89 to speak at Art History Club event

Portrait of Rebecca Brienen '89
Photo provided by Rebecca Parker Brienen '89.


The Wellesley College Art Department and the Art History Club present Art and Travel: The Life and Career of a Professional Arts Historian and Arts Administrator, a talk by Rebecca Brienen '89.

Rebecca Parker Brienen '89 is Director of the School of Visual and Performing Arts, Vennderberg Chair of Art, and Head of the Department of Art, Graphic Design, and Art History at Oklahoma State University. A specialist in 17th century Dutch art, internationalism, and the history of museums and collecting, Brienen will speak about her career path as an academic art historian and arts administrator and discuss her experiences living and studying in Europe, South America, and the United States. In addition to earning her B.A. in Art History at Wellesley, Brienen has an M.A. in Theology from Harvard University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History from Northwestern University.

The lecture will be held on Monday, April 10 at 4:30 pm in JAC 450, with a reception to follow in the Sculpture Court. The event is free and open to the public.

April 7, 2017


Frank Williams Lecture Series: Stefana McClure

poster for Stefana McClure artist talk

The Frank Williams Lecture Series and the Art Department present an artist talk by Stefana McClure on Friday, April 7, 2017. Recontextualizing books and other printed material, Stefana McClure cuts and recombines the pages into woven, knotted, wrapped, and knitted structures. Removing sections of paper result in works where absence creates pattern, while other pieces engage with various printmaking processes. Born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, McClure currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

The talk will be in JAC 450 from 12:30-1:30 pm, with a reception to follow. The event is free and open to the public.

April 5, 2017


The Andes Inverted: Professor Daniela Rivera's solo exhibition at the MFA

Gallery view of Daniela Rivera's exhibition, a tilted wall drawing and vertical painting series, with a cloud sculpture by Tara Donovan on the ceiling
Installation view of Daniela Rivera's show, The Andes Inverted (the cloud sculpture on the ceiling is by Tara Donovan). Photo by Samara Pearlstein.
On March 4, Professor Daniela Rivera's latest solo exhibition, The Andes Inverted, opened at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The show features an ambitiously-scaled copperpoint wall drawing, a series of oil paintings, a video, and a sound art piece made in collaboration with Music Professor Jenny Johnson.
The Andes Inverted takes as its subject the Chuquicamata copper mine of Chile. This mammoth space excavated from the earth, a counterpoint to the nearby soaring Andes mountains, is the largest open pit copper mine in the world. It is a source of civic pride for the Chilean government and a major factor in the Chilean economy, providing jobs and exportable goods. At the same time, the mine has had a deleterious environmental impact on the landscape and on the people whose employment depends on its operation. The mine as both geographical inversion and sociological paradox provides a rich source of material and meaning for Rivera's work.
Detail image of Daniela Rivera's large copperpoint wall drawing.
Detail view of Daniela Rivera's large copperpoint wall drawing. Photo by Samara Pearlstein.
The paintings in the exhibition are made with oil paints that have been mixed with soil from the site of the mine. The enormous wall drawing, with shapes generated by tracing stones taken from the site and rolled/shifted across the wall, is made with copperpoint, a technique that involves drawing with a small rod of copper, leaving behind a faintly metallic mark that may change in tone over time as the material oxidizes. These traces of the mine, brought into the work through the very substance used to create the imagery, tangibly connect the art to the place that inspired it.
The wall drawing and paintings are both displayed on scaffolding structures that hold them at angles within the space of the gallery; the wall drawing looms inward over the viewers, while the paintings form a high vertical stack leaning away. These architectural interventions into the space of the museum recall the physical presence of the mine, and also its metaphorical presence in the lives and minds of those in residence around it. The sound and video pieces directly incorporate the stories and histories of these people, information that was collected through a series of interviews conducted by Rivera while she was in Chile researching this project.
Detail of a mostly gray and white painting in Daniela Rivera's show
Detail of a painting in The Andes Inverted. Photo by Samara Pearlstein.
Daniela Rivera speaks about her work at the exhibition.
Daniela Rivera (center) speaks about her work at the exhibition. Photo by Samara Pearlstein.
The Andes Inverted is on display in Gallery 268 in the Linde Contemporary Art wing of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston through September 17, 2017. See the MFA's exhibition page here.


March 8, 2017


Professor Liza Oliver's op-ed in the New York Times

Professor Liza Oliver in the Jewett Sculpture Court
Professor Liza Oliver. Photo by Samara Pearlstein

This week, Art History Professor Liza Oliver had an op-ed piece published in the New York Times. The article, titled "Why the Met Should Appoint a Female Director," makes a number of good arguments for why the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York would benefit from a female Director now that that position has become available. As Oliver says, the pattern of major art institutions repeatedly tapping men for leadership positions "is representative of larger patterns of perhaps unintentional bias that continue to pervade museum culture."

On Wednesday, March 2 2017, the article was linked on the front page of the Times, making Oliver's take on this issue (and opportunity) visible to a wide public.

Professor Oliver, who specializes in 18th and 19th century Europe and South Asia, was a fellow at the Met in 2014-15.

March 3, 2017


Bonnie Lucas '72 exhibiting at JTT Gallery in New York

2 Bonnie Lucas collage works on black gallery walls
Photo via JTT Gallery

Bonnie Lucas '72 is currently exhibiting a body of work from the mid-80s at JTT Gallery on the Lower East Side! The show is titled 'Young Lady' and is curated by Marie Catalano. It includes a number of Lucas' fabric collage pieces, as well as gouache paintings. The work questions ideals of femininty and the role of women in society and at home, making inventive use of found objects along with material and imagery loaded with meaning.

Lucas was an Art History major at Wellesley, and went on to get her MFA from Rutgers University. The exhibition catalogue for this show will be the first book dedicated entirely to her and her art.

'Young Lady' was featured on Time Out New York as one of their Top Five New York Art Shows This Week! (Note: link will change on a weekly basis.)

For more information about the show, see the gallery website. The exhibition will be on display through February 26. JTT Gallery is located at 191 Chrystie St, New York. If you're going to be in New York this month, stop by and see the work!

February 3, 2017


Professor David Teng Olsen commissioned for Allston mural

Dave Olsen Allston mural

Professor Dave Olsen poses with his Allston mural
Top: the mural in progress. Bottom: Professor David Teng Olsen stands with his Allston mural. (photos by Samara Pearlstein)
This winter, Professor David Teng Olsen was commissioned by Harvard University to design and paint a new mural in the North Allston area. The piece will cover the entire Western Ave-facing side of a Harvard-owned building, bringing some very welcome color and dynamism to the neighborhood. Professor Olsen has created a number of public art works and murals before, making him a natural choice for this commission.
The enormous scale of the mural, and the vagaries of winter weather, have made this a job for a team. Wintersession has allowed several Wellesley students to gain valuable real-world art experience assisting Professor Olsen in the creation of this mural. Students are learning how to paint in less-than-ideal temperatures, how to work in a public space, how to translate designs from a printed plan to a much larger vertical surface, and more.
The mural will be completed by the time Wintersession ends, so be sure to keep your eyes open if you're driving down Western Ave. in 2017!
Jan. 13, 2017


Elizabeth Gorayeb '97 named executive director of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute

Elizabeth Gorayeb '97 examines papers in her office.

Elizabeth Gorayeb '97 was profiled by the Wellesley Daily Shot this week. She was recently named executive director of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, a New York foundation for art historical research and digital archiving.

Gorayeb cites Professor Patricia Berman as a major influence on the direction of her studies at Wellesley, and as a result on her professional career. Initially unsure about majoring in Art History, she became convinced of the viability of the field as a personal area of study and a career path. "I feared I wouldn't get a job if I tried 'art historian' as a career goal," she said, but "[Professor Berman] really set me on my life's course."

Check out the Daily Shot article for more about Elizabeth Gorayeb's career at Wellesley and after, and congratulations to her on her exciting new position!

Jan. 11, 2017


Professor Nikki Greene on WGBH's Basic Black

Professor Nikki Greene with other panelists on the set of WGBH's Basic Black
Professor Nikki Greene (far left) with other panelists on the set of WGBH's Basic Black.
Professor Nikki Greene appeared on WGBH's Basic Black this past week to discuss African-American art. If you missed the show when it aired, you can still see it online at the link below!
Basic Black was created in 1968 as a response to the demand for public television programs representing the interests and concerns of African Americans. Filmed in WGBH's studios in Boston, each episode is a live panel discussion about current events and how they impact communities of color. See their website for more information.
Dec. 19, 2016



Jewett Art Gallery
July 15 - August 10, 2017
Jewett Art Gallery, Sculpture Court, Hallways, Black Box, PNW001
May 5 - 27, 2017
Sarah Tortora: Fickle Ground
Jewett Art Gallery
March 13 - April 21, 2017
Johanna Unzueta: Nodes, encounter... out of the fields
Jewett Art Gallery
Feb. 16 - March 9, 2017
Jewett Sculpture Court
Nov. 17 - 20, 2016
Jewett Art Gallery
May 10 - 27, 2016
Jewett Art Gallery
Feb. 29 - April 1, 2016
Jewett Sculpture Court
Feb. 29 - April 1, 2016
Laconia Gallery, Boston
Feb. 5 - March 20, 2016
Jewett Art Gallery
Jan. 25 - Feb. 26, 2016
Jewett Art Gallery
Nov. 16 - Dec. 18, 2015