Elizabeth Kathleen Mitchell
Interim Co-Director, Burton and Deedee McMurtry Curator and director of the Curatorial Fellowship Program
Mitchell has been the Cantor’s curator of prints, drawings, and photographs since she joined the museum in the fall of 2010. Her specialization is the intersection of printmaking and medical science in Enlightenment Britain. Most recently, she has been evaluating the permanent collection of art on paper and expanding it by acquiring photographs by artists from Africa and the Middle East and prints by male and female African American artists. In 2017, Mitchell oversaw Rodin: The Shock of the Modern Body, the reinstallation of the Cantor’s collection of sculpture by Auguste Rodin, and in 2018 she co-curated Betray the Secret: Humanity in the Age of Frankenstein with Alex Nemerov, Art & Art History Department chair and Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities.
As director of the Cantor’s Curatorial Fellowship Program, Mitchell supervises emerging curators who undertake major exhibition projects during their two- or three-year terms. Their accomplishments include re-envisioning how the museum represents African art in its galleries, collaborating with faculty and students to curate the exhibition Ink Worlds: Contemporary Chinese Painting from the Collection of Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang while also generating its related catalogue, and partnering with Mitchell to curate Rodin: The Shock of the Modern Body. Mitchell currently is supervising the new Capital Group Foundation curatorial fellow for photography.
Other exhibitions Mitchell has curated include: When Artists Attack: Honor Daumier and La Caricature, 1830-1835 (2012), Drawn to the Body: French Figure Drawings from the Cantor Arts Center Collection (2013), Lee Friedlander: The Cray Photographs (2013), and Carleton Watkins: The Stanford Albums (2014). She also installed the 2014 travelling retrospective Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video and, in 2015, taught Stanford undergraduate students in a seminar on Jacob Lawrence that resulted in the class curating the exhibition Promised Land: Jacob Lawrence at the Cantor. A Gift from the Kayden Family.
She received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2006 and, before coming to the Cantor, was assistant curator of prints and drawings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Patrick R. Crowley
Associate Curator of European Art
Patrick joined the Cantor Arts Center in 2020 and oversees the department of European art from antiquity through 1900. Previously, he was Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago. Patrick is a historian of Roman art and visual culture and its afterlives in European classicisms, specializing in Roman portraiture, funerary art, and decorative arts, especially in precious stone. His research spans a broad range of questions about media, materiality, and the historical silences that imperceptibly, yet powerfully frame the ways in which we access the ancient past through its visual, material, and discursive residue.
Patrick’s first book, The Phantom Image: Seeing the Dead in Ancient Rome (University of Chicago Press, 2019), explores how the figure of the ghost makes visible ancient concepts of representation, conditions of visibility, and modes of embodiment. His second book project, Roman Portraiture: A Media Archaeology, grows out of his interests in the technical procedures of molding and casting, as well as the historical intersections between documentary photography and the production of knowledge in classical archaeology. His research has been generously supported by the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the Getty Research Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation. He holds a PhD in art history and archaeology from Columbia University.
Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander
Assistant Curator of American Art
Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander started at the Cantor in the fall of 2018. At the Cantor, she curated a reinstallation of the permanent collection, The Medium Is the Message: Art since 1950, and served as on-site curator for Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze. Working with assistant professor of art history Marci Kwon, Alexander is leading the Asian American Art Initiative (AAAI), which aims to transform the Cantor into the preeminent institution for the collection, display, and study of art of the Asian diaspora in the United States. The AAAI seeks to bring scholarly and public attention to the rich and diverse history of cultural production by artists of Asian descent, whose contributions to American culture remain understudied and underacknowledged. Her curatorial practice is driven by a commitment to social justice, a broad and critical understanding of what constitutes “American art,” and a desire to collaborate with living artists. In an ongoing effort to diversely expanding the Cantor’s collection, she prioritizes acquiring art by women and artists of color, and has brought in works by Titus Kaphar, Lonnie Holley, Betye Saar, Martin Wong, and Stephanie Syjuco. As the daughter of a Thai immigrant and first-generation college graduate, she is also passionate about demystifying museum practice for those interested in the field, and has led workshops on the topic at Stanford, the University of California, Santa Barbara, University of San Francisco, and Southern Exposure.
Alexander has been invited to present her research and writing at the Harvard Art Museums, Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Folk Art Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; her scholarship has been supported by the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design, and the American Craft Council. From 2017-2018 she was a Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she completed her dissertation, Unaccountable Modernisms: The Black Arts of Post-Civil Rights Alabama, and assisted with the exhibitions History Refused to Die: Highlights from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation Gift, and Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture 1963-2018. She received her Ph.D. in art history from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2018.
Assistant Curator of Photography and New Media
Maggie oversees the Cantor Arts Center’s collections of photography and new media. Maggie joined the Cantor Arts Center in 2019 as Capital Group Foundation curatorial fellow for photography before transitioning into the role of assistant curator. With a focus on 20th and 21st century American photography, her research is concerned with ways photography and digital media reflect and shape contemporary life. Maggie is deeply invested in exploring questions about photographic and new media materials and techniques, approaching them from both theoretical and concrete perspectives. She strives to contribute innovative exhibitions and key new acquisitions that expand the Cantor’s range in terms of mediums and techniques, as well as subjects, perspectives, and voices.
Maggie holds a PhD in Visual Studies from University of California, Irvine. Her dissertation, Material Remains: Photography, Death, and Transformation discusses the work of nine contemporary American photographers who focus on materials related to death—belongings left behind, bodies, and cremation ashes—and the literal and metaphorical transformations of such material that serve to memorialize lives lost, confront the circumstances of death, and envision possible afterlives. Contemplating the photographs singly and in series gives insight into individual experiences of dying, as well as broader patterns in attitudes and underlying social and political institutions and circumstances that affect how people age, ail, and die, and mourn and remember in contemporary America. Maggie’s master’s paper, The Usable Image: Creativity in the Age of Digital Photo-Sharing, examines contemporary photographer Penelope Umbrico’s work with reference to discourses surrounding vernacular photography and the Internet’s democratization of art. Maggie is also the author of PHOTOdocument: Twentieth-Century American Photography and Found Text, the catalogue accompanying her 2012 exhibition of the same name. PHOTOdocument highlights the appearance of signage in photographs by a range of American photographers and interprets them through theories of semiotics and social and economic histories of the United States.
Prior to joining the Cantor Arts Center, Maggie worked as Curatorial Graduate Student Researcher at the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art. She has also held curatorial fellowship and acting curator positions at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College and numerous curatorial internships at the National Gallery of Art, the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, and other institutions.
Capital Group Foundation Curatorial Fellow for Photography
Josie Johnson joined the Cantor’s Student Guide program as a Stanford undergraduate in 2009. After engaging in a variety of student roles at the museum, she became a Curatorial Assistant for the department of Prints, Drawings, & Photographs in 2013.
Johnson earned her B.A. in Art History from Stanford with a minor in Slavic Language and Literature the same year. After leaving Stanford, Josie began her doctoral studies in the History of Art and Architecture Department at Brown University, where she specialized in the history of photography and modernism. Her research interests include the transnational movement of art and ideas, the material properties of photographs, and the legacies of the interwar Avant-Gardes.
Josie’s dissertation examined the relationship between politics and art in the work of American photographer Margaret Bourke-White during her visits to the Soviet Union in the early 1930s. Josie has held curatorial positions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum.
In 2019, she was a predoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where she conducted research on the history of interwar American photography. Josie’s writing appeared in Panorama, the Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art in the Fall of 2020. She is thrilled to be back at the Cantor as the Capital Group Foundation Curatorial Fellow for Photography, where she is working with the Cantor’s collection of American photographs.