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Art History Welcomes New Faculty

The art history program at Purchase College is pleased to welcome two new faculty members: Dr. Leslie Wilson and Dr. Jonah Westerman.

Leslie Wilson joins the faculty as assistant professor of art history. From 2015 to 2017, she was a Twenty-Four-Month Chester Dale Predoctoral Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. She received a PhD in art history from the University of Chicago and a BA from Wellesley College.

Wilson’s research focuses on the global history of photography, modern, and contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora, American art post-1900, and museum studies. Her current project charts the development and popularization of color photography in South Africa, from its inception in the early twentieth century to contemporary practice. 

 “I am thrilled to be joining the art history department and the Purchase College community. When I first visited the campus, I was secretly geeking out about the architecture and mulling over its somewhat divisive legacies. From Johnson and Burgee to Venturi and Rauch to The Architects Collaborative, I am really intrigued by the relationship between works by these leading forces of modernist twentieth-architecture, the overall university plan, and the pastoral landscape. So I’m really excited to be teaching Art History in and around these spaces. And I’m also looking forward to teaching museum studies with spaces like the Neuberger Museum on campus, and through arts institutions across the region.”

Wilson joined the art history program at Purchase College in August 2017.

Jonah Westerman joins the faculty as assistant professor of art history. Previously, for the 2016–17 academic year, he was the Chester Dale Senior Fellow in Art History at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Arts and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Researcher at Tate in London, from 2014 to 2016. He received a PhD in art history from the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and a BA from Harvard University.

Westerman’s research focuses on global histories of performance since the mid-twentieth century with an emphasis on how artists have sought to renew art’s social role and critical capabilities. He is especially interested in practices that probe the boundary between art and life through experimental approaches to embodied and durational experience, intermedial processes of production, and audience participation.

 “I’m absolutely delighted to be joining the at history department and the larger Purchase community. To be part of a campus that so dearly values artistic practice is a deep privilege for an art historian, and I can’t wait to work with students and faculty members across the college in pursuing how the ways we see art, talk about it, and use it can help us to understand our histories and create new futures.”

Westerman joined the art history program at Purchase College in August 2017.