|Research Area: Global Contemporary Art
Advisor: Dr. Adam Jolles
Dissertation Title: “Feu à Volonté—Fire at Will! The Tirs of Niki de Saint Phalle, 1961–1964″
Rachel Fesperman (pronouns: she/her/hers) is an intersectional art historian; gender, queer, and de/post-colonial studies guide her work as a researcher and instructor. She studies global contemporary art (after 1960) with a focus on Francophone visual cultures. Her research and teaching interests center on performance, ephemeral, and multimedia art particularly as they relate to themes of gender, sexuality, and coloniality. Presently, she is developing her dissertation on the tirs (“shots”) of Niki de Saint Phalle.
Rachel graduated with Honors and Distinction in Art History, minors in Modern European History and Gender Studies, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013. She completed her MA at Florida State University, writing her qualifying paper on violence and representation in surrealism. As a PhD student, she is a member of FSU’s Graduate Fellows Society, as a Kress Foundation Fellow in Art History and an International Dissertation Semester Research Fellowship (IDSRF) recipient. The Kress Fellowship took her to Middlebury, Vermont, where she studied at Middlebury College’s Betty Ashburn ‘86 School of French in Summer 2017. The IDSRF allowed her to travel throughout France during the 2019–2020 academic year in pursuit of her dissertation research.
She received the Helen J. Beard Conference Travel Grant when she presented her research on French decolonization and visual culture at the Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) in October 2017 and the 20th and 21st Centuries French and Francophone Studies International Colloquium in March 2019. Rachel is also a recipient of the Mason Dissertation Research and Friends of Art History Research Awards (Summer 2018) from the FSU Department of Art History.