The Thoma Foundation is pleased to announce our new Research Fellow in Twentieth-Century Abstract Painting. Becky Bivens is a PhD candidate in art history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on modern art, in particular, mid-century American abstract art and criticism, aesthetic theory and gender studies. Bivens’ dissertation “Automatic Affects and Formal Feelings: Surrealism and Formalism in Mid-century Art Criticism” investigates emotion in the criticism of Clement Greenberg, Wolfgang Paalen, Lucy Lippard and Rosalind Krauss. The project has been supported by the University of Illinois Provost’s Award.
Bivens is also the recipient of the Interdisciplinary Collaboration in the Arts and Humanities Fellowship with Professor Elise Archias for their project “Beyond the Autonomy/Relationality Binary”. Becky holds an MA in art history from the University of Chicago and a BA in studio art from Agnes Scott College. Before beginning her PhD work, she taught interdisciplinary humanities courses, women’s studies, and the philosophy of art for the City Colleges of Chicago. She has also worked in curatorial research at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, SculptureCenter, and the Dalton Gallery of Agnes Scott College. In 2018, Bivens will present her paper “An Unlikely Match: Modernism and Feminism in Lynda Benglis’s Contraband” at the College Art Association annual conference.
Bivens begins her fellowship at the Foundation’s Chicago office in September.