Associate Professor of Art History
Lara Kuykendall earned a B.A. in art history and government from the University of Virginia, an M.A. in modern art history at the University of Texas at Austin, and a Ph.D. in American art history from the University of Kansas. Kuykendall’s research explores issues of national identity in American visual culture and examines ways in which artists have used heroic (and anti-heroic) imagery to understand and critique the changing social and political fabric of the United States. Recent publications include a chapter on African American artist Palmer Hayden’s paintings of folk legend John Henry in the book, Locating American Art: Finding Art’s Meaning in Museums (Ashgate, 2016); an essay on John Steuart Curry’s World War II war bonds posters in the catalogue of the traveling exhibition, Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists, 1934-2000; and an article, “There’s Something Happening Here: Peter Saul’s The Government of California,” which places a very irreverent painting of Ronald Reagan into the context of the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s in the journal Art Review in 2013. Kuykendall was a Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center Scholar in Santa Fe, NM in 2010. She is currently preparing articles on Florine Stettheimer’s Dada patriotism during World War II and Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas’s 1931 painting of Harriet Tubman. She also writes for the innovative online art history textbook, Smarthistory.
Professor Kuykendall teaches courses on American art, the history of photography, museum studies, contemporary art, and art criticism and theory. In 2015 she co-taught an innovative course with Jacinda Russell called Space, Land, and Concept in Art of the American West, which culminated in a two-week sojourn to visit Native American sites like Acoma Pueblo, the landscapes that inspired the Taos Society of Artists and Georgia O’Keeffe; earthworks by Robert Smithson and Walter de Maria; Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX; and beyond.