Nickel, Douglas R. 1961- (Douglas Robert Nickel)
Nickel, Douglas R. 1961- (Douglas Robert Nickel)
Born April 24, 1961. Education: Cornell University, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1983; Princeton University, M.F.A., 1989, Ph.D., 1995.
Office—Department of History of Art and Architecture, Box 1855, 64 College St., Brown University, Providence, RI 02912. E-mail—[email protected]
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, photo and prints department, intern, 1983-85, history of art department, lecturer, 1984, department of art, instructor in studio photography, 1986; Cornell/Harvard Sponsored Expedition to Sardis, Turkey, archaeological photographer, summer, 1984; Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, Art Museum, assistant, art history department, 1986-1992, teaching assistant, 1988, 1992; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, assistant curator of photography, 1993-96, associate curator of photography, 1997-99, curator of photography, 1999-2003; University of California at Berkeley, history of art department, adjunct assistant professor, 1995; Stanford University, Stanford, CA, department of art and art history, adjunct professor, 2002; University of Arizona, Tucson, Director of the Center for Creative Photography, associate professor of art history, 2003-07; Brown University, Providence, RI, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, Andrea V. Rosenthal Professor of Modern Art, 2007—.
Departmental Book Award for Best Senior Thesis, History of Art, Cornell University, co-recipient, 1983; University Fellowship, Princeton University, 1986-89; McCormick Fellowship in Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, 1989-1991; Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, 1991-92; Andrew W. Mellon Post-Enrollment Fellowship, 1992; Community Associates Research Fellow, Art Institute of Chicago, 2002; Historians of British Art Book Prize, College Art Association, for Francis Frith in Egypt and Palestine: A Victorian Photographer Abroad, 2004.
Snapshots: The Photography of Everyday Life, 1888 to the Present, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA), 1998.
(Introduction) Picturing Modernity: Highlights from the Photography Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA), 1998.
Carleton Watkins: The Art of Perception, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA), 1999.
(Contributor, with Ian Frazier) Joel Sternfeld, Stranger Passing, Bulfinch (Boston, MA), 2001.
Dreaming in Pictures: The Photography of Lewis Carroll, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA), 2002.
Francis Frith in Egypt and Palestine: A Victorian Photographer Abroad, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2004.
(Contributor) Chuck Close Chuck Close: Self-portraits 1967-2005, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA), 2005.
(Contributor, with John R. Stilgoe) Barbara Bosworth, Trees: National Champions, Center for Creative Photography (Tucson, AZ), 2005.
Contributor to various anthologies. Contributor to journals including History of Photography, American Art, On Paper, and SEE. Camerawork: A Journal of the Photographic Arts, guest editor, 1996, 1997; field editor for photography book reviews, 2000-05; Grove Dictionary of American Art, review editor for photography, 2007—; has also served as an outside reader since 1993 for the University of California Press, Oxford University Press, Princeton University Press, Yale University Press, Stanford University Press, University of Notre Dame Press, and MIT Press.
Douglas R. Nickel was born April 24, 1961. He graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in art history. He then took some time to teach and to work in the field, teaching both studio photography and art history at Cornell, and working in Turkey, where he was an archaeological photographer. From there he continued his education at Princeton University, earning his doctorate with a specialization in the history of photography and American art. While doing his graduate work, Nickel also served as a teaching assistant in the art history department at Princeton, as well as spending several years working in the university's Art Museum as an assistant in the department of photography. In 1993, Nickel accepted a position at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, first as assistant curator of photography. He worked his way up to associate curator and then full curator over the next ten years, and continued to teach classes, as well, both at the University of California at Berkeley and at Stanford University. From 2003 to 2007, Nickel served as the Director of the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson, as well as an associate professor of art history. Then in 2007, he joined the faculty at Brown University's Department of the History of Art and Architecture, serving as the Andrea V. Rosenthal Professor of Modern Art. In addition to his academic efforts, Nickel has written or contributed to a number of books about art and photography, including Snapshots: The Photography of Everyday Life, 1888 to the Present, Carleton Watkins: The Art of Perception, Dreaming in Pictures: The Photography of Lewis Carroll, and Francis Frith in Egypt and Palestine: A Victorian Photographer Abroad.
Carleton Watkins is a collection of photographs taken by the great American nineteenth-century landscape photographer. Watkins came along at a time when the American West was very much an unknown for most people, a place they heard of in vague newspaper reports and where they understood land to be plentiful, but often wild and dangerous, with few signs of civilization. Most Americans had never seen the sights of the West, nor did they hope to ever travel that far. Watkins, however, took long trips, with heavy photographic equipment in tow, and chronicled the majestic landscapes of the unsettled or barely settled areas of America, traveling all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, he photographed the glory of Yosemite, the Columbia River, and the West coast of the nation. He also chronicled smaller details of the terrain, including the tiny frontier towns that dotted areas where mining and mills were prevalent. Nickel's work collects over one hundred images that Watkins created on his journey, many of them previously unpublished, and provides narration that explains the reception the works received originally, including how many of the photos Watkins took encouraged the nation to consider ways to preserve the wonders of the landscape and the environment. Joan Levin, writing for Library Journal, remarked that "Nickel provides an enlightening reassessment of Watkins's remarkable artistry."
Nickel's Dreaming in Pictures offers readers a collection of photographs taken by noted Victorian writer Lewis Carroll, as well as a thorough analysis of not just the works but Carroll himself and the era in which he lived. It was published as a companion piece to a 2004 traveling exhibit. While it was previously suggested that there might have been something improper in Carroll's regard for young girls, given that they were often the subject of his photographic hobby as well as the main character of his famous "Alice" stories, Nickel provides a cultural background of the times that throws Carroll's efforts into a different light. During the Victorian period, individuals of Carroll's intelligence, education, and interests would have looked at the photographs of children in costume and standing before amateurish backdrops, and they would have read far more into the imagery that what was actually depicted. To the Victorians, the costumes, settings, and poses were a type of playacting that brought to mind historical or literary figures, or great ideas from novels or philosophy. Nickel also points out that Carroll's photographs include young boys and adults of both sexes, as well as young girls. Ray Olson, in a review for Booklist, noted a few rather major errors in the work, but overall praised Nickel's introduction and text for the volume, and called the result "a breath-of-fresh-air of a book." Library Journal reviewer Eric Linderman commented on the book's "thoughtful essays and high-quality reproductions."
Francis Frith in Egypt and Palestine takes a look at the work of the nineteenth-century photographer, with a particular focus on photographs from his journeys to Egypt and Palestine, during which he chronicled the major sights of the Holy Land and a variety of archaeological sights, many of which had been only recently unearthed. Frith's first career was as a grocer, but his love of photography drew him to the art, and he retired early thanks to a successful business and started a second career taking pictures. Nickel delves into Frith's background, his childhood as a Quaker, and other issues that had an effect on his outlook and approach to his photography, including the Victorian era, a point in time when science and religion were closely linked. He also refutes the idea that Frith's photographs were merely chronicling the topography of various archaeological dig sites, showing the greater depth behind the obvious images that made up his work, and analyzing the relationship between Frith's photographs and the viewers of the time who were his intended audience. Eric Linderman, again writing for Library Journal, commented of the book that "exemplary documentation and well-written descriptions of Frith's photographic processes are … remarkable." Zeynep Celik, writing for the Art Bulletin, called the book "a key study that introduces an early photographer of the Middle East, places him in a web of artistic, theological, ethical, scientific, and political ideas, and examines his work from multiple perspectives."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Art Bulletin, March, 2006, Zeynep Celik, "Orientalism and Visual Culture: Imagining Mesopotamia in Nineteenth-Century Europe," p. 191.
Art in America, July, 2003, "Center for Creative Photography," p. 112.
Audubon, March, 2000, review of Carleton Watkins: The Art of Perception, p. 156.
Booklist, September 1, 2002, Ray Olson, review of Dreaming in Pictures: The Photography of Lewis Carroll, p. 38.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, June, 2004, W.S. Johnson, review of Francis Frith in Egypt and Palestine: A Victorian Photographer Abroad, p. 1874.
History Today, November, 2003, review of Francis Frith in Egypt and Palestine, p. 75.
Journal of Religion, October, 2005, Frederick N. Bohrer, review of Francis Frith in Egypt and Palestine, p. 705.
Library Journal, November 1, 1999, Joan Levin, review of Carleton Watkins, p. 78; October 15, 2002, Eric Linderman, review of Dreaming in Pictures, p. 69; March 15, 2004, Eric Linderman, review of Francis Frith in Egypt and Palestine, p. 71.
Spectator, December 11, 1999, review of Carleton Watkins, p. 52.
Brown University History of Art and Architecture Department Web site,http://www.brown.edu/ (March 24, 2008), faculty profile.
MIT Press Web site,http://mitpress.mit.edu/ (March 24, 2008), author profile.
Tfaoi Web site,http://www.tfaoi.com/ (March 24, 2008), "Dr. Douglas R. Nickel Appointed Director of the Center for Creative Photography."