Back to News

Art History Graduation Spring 2017

  • Date: May 24, 2017

Art History Graduation Spring 2017
At the Art History Graduation Reception we congratulated 19 art history majors and awarded three new undergraduate prizes, generously sponsored by donors to the Art History Fund.

Warfield Family Art History Essay Prize: Michael Lind
The art history essay prize was awarded to the paper that “best demonstrates high standards of writing, research, creativity, and argumentation.” 

Mike’s essay, “‘Simulacra of Posthumanism’: New Media Considerations in Ryan Trecartin’s Center Jenny,” eloquently and thoughtfully analyzed a vividly strange work of video art to consider how, in his words, “medium can affect or even create content.”  The paper was written for a course on “Contemporary Art and New Media” taught by Professor Michael Jay McClure, who praises Mike’s transdisciplinary skills, noting, “not only is he an astute thinker about art, he's a perspicacious artist as well.” 



Art History Senior Honors Thesis Prize : Megan Roessler
The Senior Honors Thesis Prize is awarded to “Art History majors whose senior thesis project demonstrates extensive research, original argument, and creative thinking.”  

Megan’s thesis, “Building for a Nation: The Lodges of Utah's National Parks,” for which she received an honorable mention from the University Bookstore Academic Excellence Awards, and which she recently presented at the departmental Honors Thesis Colloquium, certainly illustrates all of these categories. In her year-long project, for which she won a prestigious Trewartha Grant to fund her research travels, Megan investigated the cultural landscapes behind the shifting architectural forms of national park structures, linking attitudes to the natural world with the built environment. In the words of her advisor, Dr. Anna Andrzejewski, Megan s “weaves a fascinating story about how the shifting architecture of the Parks relates to broader changes having to do with the park Service as a whole as well as tourist practices writ large,” [drawing on a wide range of evidence, including:] “historic photos from the Library of Congress to National Register nominations; evidence from the buildings themselves; histories of the park service; and tourist practices in the U.S.” 


Joseph Ruzicka and Susan Fancher Art History Leadership Award: Alexandra Polach
The Art History Leadership prize is awarded to the graduating senior major who has shown "the greatest commitment to the art history department through creating community, promoting our programs, and demonstrating good citizenship as well as innovative thinking and potential for future scholarly excellence."

Prof. Yuhang Li's nomination emphasizes Alex's scholarly contributions, flagging in particular her fascinating essay on the relationships between traditional Chinese beautiful women images and modern photographs of "The Shanghai Courtesan" as well as her innovative research paper on contemporary art education in the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. All of her professors have been impressed with her bright and engaged presence, agreeing that she is often the first student to speak up and help spark a discussion.

Since her transfer in 2015 Alex has taken leadership at UW-Madison through participation in the Art History Society and the Wisconsin Union Directorate for which she is Associate Director of Development. In this role she established the first annual collaboration with the Wisconsin Campus Women's Center, the global initiative, "A Day with Art," and the Madison-wide curated bike/art tour, "Bike the Art." Recently Alex also won a highly competitive Public Humanities Exchange Program grant, described as "a high-impact practice for undergraduates who wish to make meaningful connections between their humanities scholarship and the needs of the local community through new models of social engagement." Working to "plan and implement a creative community project in partnership with Dane County organizations," Alex launched an art exhibition on Madison MetroTransit called "Art En Route," for which she functioned as its Creator and Project Director. Click here to learn more about "Art En Route."