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Elizabeth Brown is a seventh-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies. Her dissertation, titled Theaster Gates’s Voracious Archival Appetite: Glass Slides, JPC Library, and Edward J. Williams Collection in the Stony Island Arts Bank, analyzes North American artist Theaster Gates’s Glass Lantern Slide Collection, JPC Library, and the Edward J. Williams Collection currently housed in the rehabilitated space of the Stony Island Arts Bank that Gates purchased and owns. These collections are three of the many owned and managed by the Rebuild Foundation, founded in 2010, that serves as the nonprofit arm of his art practice. The collections represent Gates’s artistic material and belong to his collaborative art practice, which entails urban planning and the physical transformations of the built environment. His art is critically integrated into, and interrogative of, the history of Chicago and its impact on Black culture. His work also celebrates Black life and creativity. This dissertation considers how Gates finds intrinsic value in people, spaces, and objects that have often been deemed worthless in financial terms and in mainstream art and culture. Gates makes palpable the overlooked qualities of the objects, buildings, and subject he explores, as well as in his performative situations and social relations. Her adviser is Dr. Kristine Stiles, France Family Distinguished Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies. 

She received her B.A. in Art History from Manhattanville College, New York. She completed her M.A. in Art History from Hunter College, New York. There she wrote her master’s thesis, titled Mike Kelley and Cady Noland, on the disorienting late eighties and early nineties installations of L.A.-based artist Mike Kelley (1954-2012) and New York-based artist Cady Noland. Her thesis focuses on the contradictions and hypocrisies of North American culture brought to light by their art. Before entering the doctoral program at Duke, she held positions at the Guggenheim Museum and The Studio Museum in Harlem in New York.

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