The National Gallery of Art announced on December 2, 2022 that Kaira M. Cabañas has been appointed associate dean of academic programs and publications for the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (the Center). As associate dean, Cabañas will manage the research institute’s many annual symposia, lectures, meetings, and other academic gatherings as well as oversee their academic and commissioned research publications. She will direct various long-term research projects within the Center and serve as an academic administrator with Dean Steven Nelson and other leadership within the department. Cabañas begins her tenure on March 27, 2023.
“I am thrilled to have Kaira Cabañas as the Center’s new associate dean. With her international scholarly profile, decades of teaching and institution building, deep knowledge of several art historical fields, and broad experience in publishing, she is the perfect fit to help the Center align its mission with that of the National Gallery. This position requires collaboration and agility as well as the ability to move art scholarship and publishing in new directions. Kaira will do this beautifully, helping the Center expand its intellectual posture and reach,” said Steven Nelson, dean of the Center.
Kaira M. Cabañas
Most recently the Center’s 2021–2022 William C. Seitz Senior Fellow, Cabañas comes to the Center from the University of Florida, where she is professor of art history and affiliate faculty in the Center for Latin American Studies and the Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research. Prior to arriving at the University of Florida in 2015, she held appointments in the literature department at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro and the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University.
Cabañas is an award-winning specialist in modern and contemporary art of the Americas and Europe. Her research and teaching engage a series of aesthetic and cultural debates that situate her work’s significance at the intersection of various disciplines, including art history, film studies, Latin American studies, women’s studies, and transatlantic exchanges in art and psychiatry.
Cabañas is the author of multiple books, including Immanent Vitalities: Meaning and Materiality in Modern and Contemporary Art (2021), which received the Frank Jewett Mather Award from the College Art Association, and Learning from Madness: Brazilian Modernism and Global Contemporary Art (2018), which received the Arvey Foundation Book Award Honorable Mention from the Association for Latin American Art. She is also the author of Off-Screen Cinema: Isidore Isou and the Lettrist Avant-Garde (2014) and The Myth of Nouveau Réalisme: Art and the Performative in Postwar France (2013).
Cabañas has edited multiple volumes and is currently at work on a transnational study titled “Deviant Art Histories,” which addresses the constitutive roles that art and artists played in the calls for psychiatric asylum reform during the 20th century.
Cabañas has presented her research in many venues in the United States and abroad, and her writings on art and film in Europe and Latin America have appeared in numerous museum catalogs and academic journals. She has been the recipient of several fellowships and grants.
In 2012 Cabañas served as guest curator and catalog editor for Specters of Artaud: Language and the Arts in the 1950s at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. She also serves cultural institutions nationally and internationally, most recently as a member of the curatorial advisory committee for the forthcoming permanent collection exhibition at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo.
Cabañas received her BA in comparative area studies, with a focus on Latin America and Western Europe, from Duke University; an MA in the history of art from Yale University; and a PhD in art and archaeology with a graduate certificate in media and modernity from Princeton University. She was born in Hialeah, Florida.
[Source: NGA press release]