Marci Kwon is Assistant Professor of Art History at Stanford University, where she specializes in the art and culture of the United States. Her research interests include the intersection of fine art and vernacular practice, theories of modernism, cultural exchange between Asia and the Americas, "folk" and "self-taught" art, and issues of race and objecthood. Kwon received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts in 2016, where her work was generously supported by the ACLS/Luce Foundation, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Getty Research Institute, and the Mellon Foundation. In addition, she has held positions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she co-published an article on pragmatism and the Stein Circle.
Kwon’s current book project, provisionally titled Enchantments: The Art of Joseph Cornell examines the role of magic, religion, and spirituality within American modernism. This book explores the enchanted valences of Cornell’s protean artistic practice, showing how his use of formal strategies such as montage, scale, performance, and ephemerality allowed his work to transcend their modest material origins. More broadly, the project uses Cornell’s artistic career and wide circle of acquaintances as a lens through which to view modernism’s engagement with enchantment from the 1920s to the 1960s, in episodes including the transatlantic migration of Symbolism, Surrealism, ballet, and Neo-Romanticism; the renewed interest in folk art; the emergence of New York School poetry and avant-garde cinema; and the turn to vernacular materials by artists associated with the counterculture.