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Tyson Think Tank

Tyson Think Tank: Short Term Focus, Long Term Impact

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Tyson Scholars Program are pleased to announce the continuation of the Tyson Think Tank, a short-term fellowship opportunity for scholars of American art. This year’s program will take place August 1-19, 2022 and will focus on the Alfred Stieglitz Collection co-owned by Fisk University in Nashville, TN, and Crystal Bridges.

Crystal Bridges invites applications for three Fellows at varying stages of their careers to pursue original scholarship with the collection as integral to the conversations and research. In close examination and research of one object, scholars are encouraged to expand upon existing narratives and traditional categories of investigation into the Alfred Stieglitz Circle and related topics, using the Tyson Think Tank as a testing ground to develop new research.

2022 Topic: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection

Gifted to Fisk University in 1949 by the artist Georgia O’Keeffe, the collection includes 101 works mostly from the estate of Alfred Stieglitz, O’Keeffe’s late husband and distinguished advocate for modern American art. Her decision to donate works to a significant historically Black university in the South compels fresh analysis around themes of modernism, geography, education, race, and legacy.

The collection includes works by American modernists from the Stieglitz Circle such as Arthur Dove, John Marin, Charles Demuth, and Marsden Hartley in addition to Stieglitz and O’Keeffe. It also includes five works of African art as well paintings, sculpture, and works on paper by European modernists from Paul Cézanne to Gino Severini.

Crystal Bridges and Fisk University are developing a major collaborative research project on the collection. The project is bringing to light original archival material, provenance and exhibition details, conservation histories, and other object-based information never previously published. The Fellows will have special access to in-progress research to further their own inquiry into the objects and their histories. Crystal Bridges Associate Curator Jen Padgett (co-leader of the Alfred Stieglitz Collection publication project with Jamaal B. Sheats, Director and Curator of Galleries & Assistant Professor of Art at Fisk), will lead the short-term fellowship, connecting Fellows to the collection, archives, and regional scholars and resources. Padgett will also facilitate conversations with outside guest speakers including Sheats.

Marsden Hartley, Painting No. 3, 1913, oil on canvas, 42 x 34 1/2 in. Alfred Stieglitz Collection, Co-owned by Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee, and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photography by Edward C. Robison III


Each Fellow will focus their investigation on a single work of art in the Alfred Stieglitz Collection. While in residence, Fellows will conduct individual research and writing, participate in collective and individual discussions, and engage in close-looking exercises with artworks in the collection. The seminar-style Think Tank will feature guest speakers and scholars from Crystal Bridges, Fisk University, the University of Arkansas, and leading national scholars through in-person and virtual conversations. Outcomes from the Tyson Think Tank may inform the broader research project on the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, but the fellowship is intended to invigorate the research and scholarship of individual Fellows through their work with a cohort of scholars focused on a shared topic.

Residency and Stipend

The Fellows will be in residence at Crystal Bridges for three weeks, August 1-19, 2022.

Each Fellow receives a $3,600 stipend ($1,200 per week), travel/relocation grant, and residency in Crystal Bridges’ scholars housing.

Application Process

Applicants should identify one object from the Alfred Stieglitz Collection co-owned by Fisk University and Crystal Bridges as the focus of their intended research. Proposals considering American modernism with attention to race, access, pedagogy, innovative approaches to Stieglitz Circle artists, or the collection’s history at Fisk are especially encouraged. As the collection includes works of African and European art, we also encourage proposals that would examine these objects in the context of their collection, display, reception, and legacy in the United States.

We welcome applications from academic and museum professionals from a range of disciplines including but not limited to art history, African American studies, visual and material culture, American studies, craft, architecture, Indigenous art, and Latin American art. Applications will be evaluated on the originality and quality of the proposed research and its potential to contribute to more equitable, inclusive, and critically engaged histories of American art.

Applications are currently closed for the Tyson Think Tank.