R. Tripp Evans
Mary L. Heuser Chair in the Arts
Ph.D., Yale University (History of Art): 1998
M.A., Yale University (History of Art): 1993
B.A., University of Virginia (School of Architecture): 1990
My work centers on the art and architecture of the Americas, spanning the pre-Columbian period to the present. My first book, Romancing the Maya: Mexican Antiquity in the American Imagination, 1820-1915 (University of Texas Press: 2004), examined the ways nineteenth-century artists and audiences grappled with the notion of "American" identity; more recently, my research on the American painter, Grant Wood, has explored the same issue from the vantage point of the 1930s. The courses I teach at Wheaton represent a rather broad range of interests in American visual culture -- including Native American and pre-Columbian art, contemporary design, and the visual history of New York City.
For the past few years, my scholarship has been devoted to the life and work of Grant Wood, best known for his iconic 1930 painting, American Gothic. My biography of Wood, Grant Wood: A Life, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2010 and won The National Award for Arts Writing. My current book project explores three acres of Providence, Rhode Island, from the ice age to the present. Provisionally entitled Three Acres of Providence, this study will look at the land's natural resources, its history of Native American occupation, the development of industry there, and the site's connections to urban decay/revitalization in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. My interest in this topic grows from a personal connection to the site (I live on the three acres in question), and from my background in American material culture. I hope to complete the manuscript by 2012. For more information, visit trippevans.com
In addition to the survey courses I teach in modern architecture, the art of the United States, and Native American/pre-Columbian art, I have recently developed a number of specialized courses in African-American art, the development of the skyscraper, and feminist art history. In the fall of 2008, I led a seminar on Wheaton's International-Style architecture, resulting in a catalogue of student essays entitled Making it Modern: Wheaton College and the International Style (2009). In the years ahead, I will continue to develop and refine my courses in American art, and hope to teach another seminar devoted to Wheaton's architectural history.
Grant Wood: A Life, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010)
Winner of the The National Award for Arts Writing
Finalist, The Lambda Literary Award (Memoir/Biography)
Romancing the Maya: Mexican Antiquity in the American Imagination, 1820-1915 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004)
"A Profitable Partnership: The Men and Women of Chicago's Kalo Shop," Chicago History; Volume XXIV, Number 2 (Summer 1995)
"Navigating the Afterlife: Two Shaft Tomb Figures from Ancient West Mexico," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (1995-96)
(editor), Making it Modern: Wheaton College and the International Style (2009)