Kathleen Pierce, PhD
Art History | Visual Culture | Medical/Health Humanities | 19th/20th-Century French Empire


My research explores intersections of art and medicine in the 19th- and early 20th-century French empire. I am in the process of revising a book manuscript, tentatively titled Dissecting Vision: Skin, Surface, and Pathology in and Around Cubism. The project examines a broad range of objects—from dermatological illustrations and wax-cast models, to public health posters and Cubist painting and collage—to elucidate relationships between pathological skin and the surface of modern art. This analysis attends closely to the ways such visualizations racialize and gender disease expression. The project reveals shared modes of conceptualizing and visualizing surface across the spheres of medicine, public health, and artistic production. It also illuminates historically specific modes of understanding the rise of the modernist surface in the early twentieth century.

Recent publicly accessible work related to the book project includes my 2018 article in Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide and my presentation in the seminar “Gestes d’images” at the INHA in Paris, “‘This Skin Disease of Poorly Maintained Cities’: Pasted Paper, Surface Layers, and Pathological Skin,” which retains a digital presence.