Dr. Christine Filippone, associate professor of art history at Millersville University, has been awarded a prestigious fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s Smithsonian American Art Museum. The fellowship will take place Jan. 15, 2022 – May, 15, 2022.
Filippone will conduct research in the archives at the museum. The research she conducts during her fellowship will be included in her upcoming book, “Systems and Utopias of Process in Latin American Conceptual Art.” Filippone will use the Smithsonian Fellowship as a time to research the relationships between artists from Argentina and curators from the United States, whose records are all housed at the Smithsonian. Filippone will be drawing from archival research she engaged in while spending time in Argentina while on sabbatical in 2019.
“The artists from Argentina, a collective of artists called the Rosario Group, created an entirely new, very radical work of art in 1968 that had significant influence on American art and artists. But this story has not been told,” says Filippone. “Instead credit for this new radical art is typically given to American artists. The true origin of this art is Latin America.”
Filippone is most looking forward to researching the archives of Lucy Lippard, an American curator who interacted with the Rosario Group in 1968. “She said many times afterward that the work of the Rosario Group had radicalized her. All of Lippard’s letters are in the Smithsonian archive,” says Filippone. “Lippard is among the most important curators in the U.S. and she maintained correspondence with the Argentine artists for many years.”
Filippone says she’s also looking forward to discussing research with art historians and curators at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, including a space historian from the National Air and Space Museum who has extensive expertise about the time period Filippone is studying.
“Residential fellowships like this one are also about sharing ideas with other scholars and there will be scholars from all over the world at the Smithsonian,” says Filippone.
In order to apply for the Smithsonian Fellowship program, Filippone submitted a 6-page statement of her research project, a bibliography, her resume and two letters of reference from expert scholars who could verify the importance of her project. Filippone reached out to several scholars from the Smithsonian to ask if they would be willing to support her research if she received the fellowship.
“I was so happy that three different advisors said yes!” said Filippone, “My primary advisor is Saisha Grayson, curator of time-based media at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.”
For Millersville students who may be interested in pursuing a fellowship following graduation, Filippone encourages students to research the funding organization carefully before writing a proposal for the program.
“What are their priorities? What sorts of proposals have they funded in the past? Who will make the final decision about who gets funded? Be sure to pitch your proposal to that audience so they can clearly understand your project,” says Filippone. “Carefully write and edit your proposal. Edit it over and over again, as I tell my students who are writing papers for class.”