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Maggie Bickford

Professor of History of Art & Architecture:
History of Art & Architecture
Phone: +1 401 863 2599
Phone 2: +1 401 863 1174
Roberta_Bickford@Brown.EDU

Overview
Professor Bickford engages in object-centered research in the history of painting in China during the Song and Yuan periods. Her work ranges from genre-formation in scholar-amateur ink painting to production and reception of imperial art. She reconstructs imperial Song initiatives in producing a definitive Chinese visual culture and investigates auspicious visuality in China. Current projects explore the potential of computer-assisted close viewing.

Interests

Maggie Bickford is an historian of art and culture in pre-modern China. She is author of Ink Plum: The Making of a Chinese Scholar-Painting Genre (Cambridge UP 1986), which won the Joseph Levenson Book Prize, Pre-Modern China, awarded by the Association for Asian Studies for the best book of the year in any area on China before the 20th-century. In addition to numerous scholarly articles, she is author and chief curator of the exhibition and scholarly catalogue Bones of Jade, Soul of Ice, the Flowering Plum in Chinese Art (Yale University Art Gallery, 1985), which received the American Association of Museums Award of Distinction. These projects explored genre development and cross-medium developments, including formative interactions between visual and textual cultures.

Professor Bickford is a leader in developing syncretic methodologies in multi-disciplinary explorations of key issues in the history of art and culture in China. She currently is engaged in two book projects.

In The Shape of Good Fortune: Auspicious Visuality in China, she investigates visualizations of good outcomes (fecundity, longevity, prosperity, peace, and legitimacy) in China during its long imperial period (221BC-1911). In studying these longest and broadest visual traditions in China, she explores intersections and interactions among imperial, elite, and popular traditions and among textual representations, fine arts, and material culture.

In Emperor Huizong and Late Northern Song China: the Politics of Culture and the Culture of Politics (forthcoming Harvard University Press, August 2006), Professor Bickford served as co-editor and contributor, working with a group of thirteen scholars from the U.S. and Asia to explore the formative initiatives and consequential interventions of Emperor Huizong (r. 1101-1125) in areas ranging from political administration and frontier warfare to medicine, music, poetry, and art. Professor Bickford's Huizong studies focus on painting and calligraphy as instruments of emperorship in the Song dynastic project of rule by culture. She joined issues of auspicious visuality to the deployment of visual art as an instrument of rule in her recent publication, "Emperor Huizong and the Aesthetic of Agency, in Archives of Asian Art, LIII (2002-2003):71-104.

Supported by Brown funding, she currently is investigating the potential of computer-assisted close-viewing in research and pedagogy. Projects include: restructuring the history of early painting in China by repositioning canonical works that actually are the creations of later times; reconstructing Song illustrated manuscript culture with respect to the aesthetification of useful knowledge; and, using digital tools to expose the reduplicative mechanics that were employed in imperial Song paintings attributed to individual artists.

Awards

Book Prizes
Joseph Levenson Book Prize for Pre-Modern China, Association for
Asian Studies for Ink Plum: The Making of a Chinese Scholar-
Painting Genre
, 1998
American Association of Museums Award of Distinction (Catalogs and
Books), to Yale University Art Gallery for Bones of Jade, Soul
of Ice
, 1985
National and International Fellowships
Clark Institute Fellowship, Spring 2006
John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, 2001-02
School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Member,
1998-99 (Membership accepted; full stipend declined)
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University
Teachers, 1998-99
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University
Teachers, 1990-91
Chester Dale Fellow, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980-1981
Brown University Awards and Grants
Wendy J. Strothman Faculty Research Award, "Making the Chinese
Cultural Heritage at the Courts of the Northern Song", 2005
Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Award, 1997-1999
Robert Gale Noyes Assistant Professor of the Humanities, 1994-95
Henry Merritt Wriston Fellowship, 1992-1993

Affiliations

Fairbank Center for East Asian Studies (Harvard University)
Association for Asian Studies

Funded Research

Funded Research
National and International Fellowships
Clark Institute Fellowship, Spring 2006
John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, 2001-02
School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study
Member, 1998-99(Membership accepted; full stipend declined)
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University
Teachers, 1998-99
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University
Teachers, 1990-91
Chester Dale Fellow, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980-1981

Brown University Awards and Grants
Wendy J. Strothman Faculty Research Award, "Making the Chinese
Cultural Heritage at the Courts of the Northern Song," 2005
President's Venture Fund, "Computer-Assisted Visual Inspection" 2005-STG Faculty Research Grant, "Computer-Assisted Visual Inspection" 05/06
Humanities Research Fund, "Making the Chinese Cultural Heritage at
the Courts of the Northern Song" (Image acquisition and
permissions), 2005-06
Departmental Research Funds for the Arts, Humanities, and Social
Sciences, "Investigation of Replicative Means of Production of
Court Paintings during the Song Dynasty" and "In Defense of
Images: Zheng Qiao's (1104-1162) Tupu lüe (Treatise on
Illustrated Manuscripts) in Song-Dynasty Book Culture" 2004-05
Departmental Research Funds for the Arts, Humanities, and Social
Sciences, "Auspicious Visuality in China" and "Investigation of
Replicative Means of Production of Court Paintings during the
Song Dynasty" 2003-04
Departmental Research Funds for the Arts, Humanities, and Social
Sciences, "Auspicious Visuality in China" 2003
Curricular Development Grant for "Song Painting" 2003-04
Wayland Collegium Endeavor Fellow grant for "Song Painting"
and "Song Politics and Painting." 2003-04
Odyssey Program. "Arts of Imperial Song" and "Song Painting" to
support collaborative student research, Summer 2003.
Provost's Contingency Fund, for "Huizong and Northern Song Culture,
conference and workshop, 2001
Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies Faculty
Funding Initiative Grant,for "Huizong and Northern Song Culture,"
conference and workshop, 2001
Wayland Collegium Curriculum Development Grant, for "The Shape of
Good Fortune,"2000-2001
Odyssey Program. "Auspicious Visuality in China." To support
collaborative student research, Summer 2000
Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Award, 1997-1999
Odyssey Program."Imaging Women in Edo Japan, Woodblock Prints at the
RISD Museum of Art." To support collaborative student research,
Summer, 1998
Curriculum Development Grant, for Introduction to Chinese Art,1996-97
Robert Gale Noyes Assistant Professor of the Humanities, 1994-95
Henry Merritt Wriston Fellowship, 1992-1993

Other
Subvention for the publication of Ink Plum (see Books) from the
Publication Funds of the Department of Art and Archaeology,
Princeton University, 1995
Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities Public Project Grant, for
the exhibition and catalogue, The Crawford Bequest: Chinese Art
at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. David
Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University, 1992-93
Metropolitan Center for the Study of Far Eastern Art, travel grant,
1980
Princeton University Fellowships, 1975-1980
Yale University Fellowships, 1973-1975

Curriculum Vitae

Download Maggie Bickford's Curriculum Vitae in PDF Format