Doctoral student Mallory Nanny is the recipient of the Luce/ACLS Ellen Holtzman Dissertation Fellowship in American Art for the 2020–21 academic year.
This fellowship was created in 2015, in honor of Ellen Holtzman, the Henry Luce Foundation’s former Program Director of American Art. The distinction is given to an emerging scholar whose dissertation research and writing concerns the study of American art of the 1950s and the 1960s. Mallory writes:
To receive the award named for such an esteemed leader in the field is an incredible opportunity. I am honored that the ACLS and Henry Luce Foundation see my dissertation as a valuable contribution to art historical scholarship, and I am proud to join the community of ACLS fellows.
Mallory is writing her dissertation, Framing Absence: Photographic Narratives of the Vietnam War, under the direction of Dr. Karen Bearor. The project examines postwar artistic engagements with storytelling that represent the traumatic impact of the Vietnam War in transnational terms. Mallory analyzes photographic series by Vietnamese American artists An-My Lê (b. 1960) and Tiffany Chung (b. 1969) and non-Vietnamese American artist Jessica Hines (b. 1958) as case studies that reconstruct fragmented memories and critical experiences into complex, diaristic narratives.
Through borrowing narrational strategies from oral history, each artist conflates the portrayal of immediate trauma experienced during war with the secondary trauma inherited by family members. What results are narrative gaps that speak directly to the unknown traumas and silenced voices of those who remain absent. By using the photographic medium, these artists not only highlight the subjectivity of experience. They also point to the tenuous connections between remembering and imagining, and show that collective memory is full of omissions.