Sascha Scott receives Smithsonian American Art Museum Prize for his essay on the decolonization of art history in the United States

Sascha Scott, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Art History, is the recipient of the prestigious Patricia and Phillip Frost Essay Award from the Smithsonian American Art Museum for her article “Georgia O’Keeffe’s Hawai’i? Decolonizing the History of American Modernism ”, which appeared in the Summer 2020 issue (vol. 34, n ° 2) of American art.

A Dole advertisement with a painting by Georgia O’Keeffe. (The Saturday Evening Post, April 13, 1940).

The Frost Essay Award recognizes an excellent scholarship in the field of American art history by honoring an essay published the previous year in American art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s peer-reviewed journal for new scholarships.

In Scott’s article, she discusses a series of Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now Dole Food Company) advertisements from the late 1930s featuring paintings by artist Georgia O’Keeffe. Before becoming a well-known food distributor, the Dole family was instrumental in conquering Native Hawaiians in the late 1800s and Scott says ads featuring O’Keeffe’s paintings supported the oppression of lives and indigenous lands.

“O’Keeffe, his Hawaiian paintings and Dole’s advertisements are complicit in the colonialism of the settlers in their portrayal of Hawaii as exotic and their claims of discovery and possession of land,” says Scott.

His essay calls on contemporary scholars to confront these colonial assumptions, which are often repeated without criticism in the writings on O’Keeffe and, as a result, continue to deny indigenous peoples their rights today.

Awarding Scott, the jury said, “We were impressed with the author’s conclusion, which was a call to action. Scott’s essay marks a turning point in the field.

Read the full article on Scott’s Trial Frost Price.

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