Following six years of support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Irving Stenn, Jr., a long-time Museum supporter, generously endowed UMMA's curatorial fellowship in perpetuity. This fellowship directly addresses key initiatives for UMMA in nurturing promising young scholars and exposing them to career paths in museum and curatorial work. Their work helps to ensure that UMMA's exhibitions and collections are deeply relevant to teach and learning across the University and beyond.
Elizabeth Rauh is a Ph.D. candidate in History of Art in Islamic art history and visual cultures alongside research in global modern art. Her dissertation "Blowing Fire into Islamic Tradition: Modern and Contemporary Art Experiments with Islamic Artistic Heritage" brings together these interests, and will examine how prominent artists in the Arab world and Iran engaged with Islamic artistic traditions and popular folk practices in order to generate their avant-garde artworks, from 1950s Iran to today.
Prior to coming to U-M, Rauh earned a B.A. with high distinction in Art History at Indiana University, along with minors in French and Near Eastern Language and Cultures. At Indiana, she also completed her M.A. thesis in Islamic Art History, "Thirty Years Later: Iranian Visual Culture from the 1979 Revolution to the 2009 Protests." Rauh co-curated the 2011 exhibition, The Graphics of Revolution and War: Iranian Poster Arts with U-M Professor Christiane Gruber. In 2013, she was awarded the Rhonda A. Saad Prize for Best Graduate Paper by the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey for her research on Walid Raad's critical engagement with the Louvre's Islamic art collection. Rauh has previously worked at UMMA as a research assistant for the 2014 exhibition Doris Duke's Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape and Islamic Art.
At UMMA, Rauh will work closely with the Museum’s new Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Curator for Modern and Contemporary Art, Vera Grant. In describing her goals for the fellowship, Rauh said, "My goals during the Stenn Fellowship are to expand my knowledge and abilities in the curatorial field more broadly beyond Islamic art, while making available my training and education in modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art to UMMA’s staff and community."