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University of Maryland-Phillips Collection Book Prize Goes to 'Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery'

COLLEGE PARK, MD and WASHINGTON, DC – The University of Maryland Center for Art and Knowledge at The Phillips Collection has awarded its latest University of Maryland-Phillips Collection Book Prize to the manuscript "Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery". Written by Caitlin Beach, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Art History at Fordham University, the manuscript addresses sculpture’s relationship to slavery and abolition in transatlantic contexts.

The University of Maryland-Phillips Collection Book Prize supports publication of a first book by an emerging scholar presenting new research in modern or contemporary art from 1780 to the present. The winning books are published by the University of California Press, in collaboration with the University of Maryland and The Phillips Collection. The winning author also receives a $5,000 cash prize. This is the ninth book prize awarded by The Phillips Collection since 2008, and the second prize jointly awarded with the University of Maryland.

“I feel honored that the selection committee has recognized my work for this award. It's inspiring to have the chance to be a part of conversations about race and modern culture already ongoing with the University of Maryland and The Phillips Collection book series and I look forward to the new directions in which this will push my thinking and writing,” said Beach.

According to Beach, Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery examines the place of sculpture in a transatlantic world contoured by the wide-reaching economy of American slavery and the international campaigns mounted to end it. Focusing on the production, circulation, and exhibition of a range of busts and statues by artists including Hiram Powers, John Bell, Edmonia Lewis, and Francesco Pezzicar, the manuscript shows how the medium stood as a highly visible but deeply unstable site from which to interrogate the politics of slavery across geographies including New Orleans, London, Freetown, Boston, Florence, and Philadelphia.

“It is wonderful that the University of Maryland-Phillips Collection Book Prize discusses such a powerful aspect of the history of slavery and abolition," said Klaus Ottmann, Ph.D., Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Academic Affairs, The Phillips Collection. “Caitlin Beach’s book Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery will insert the arts in a way we have never seen these topics explored.”

“We are pleased to recognize Dr. Beach’s profound work with the book prize award,” said Mary Ann Rankin, Senior Vice President and Provost at the University of Maryland. “Publishing Dr. Beach’s innovative manuscript on sculpture’s relationship to slavery and abolition is a perfect example of the mission of our partnership with The Phillips Collection–advancing scholarship and innovation in the arts.”

Beach’s research and teaching at Fordham University focus on American and European art of the long nineteenth century. She received her Ph.D., M.Phil and M.A. in art history and archaeology from Columbia University.

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