- Kresge 4327
Alicia Caticha (Ph.D., University of Virginia) specializes in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European sculpture and decorative arts with a particular focus on issues of materiality, colonialism, and popular culture. Her book project, tentatively titled “Sculpting Whiteness: Marble, Porcelain, and Sugar in Eighteenth-Century Paris,” takes up the career of the eighteenth-century French sculptor Étienne-Maurice Falconet and the replications and reverberations of his work in porcelain and sugar sculpture as a case study through which to understand the rise of the classical marble ideal and its long-term aesthetic and racial implications. The replication of whiteness—the primary characteristic aesthetically linking marble, porcelain, and sugar—has long been read as evidence of the prevailing importance of Academic sculpture and the explicit antique connotations of marble. This research challenges this assumption, placing the fetishization of porcelain and the conditions of sugar’s production—which relied on France’s active participation in the Atlantic slave trade—in dialogue with eighteenth-century theories of whiteness.
Caticha’s research has been supported by the 2018-2020 24-month Chester Dale Fellowship from the Center for the Advanced Studies of the Visual Arts, the Decorative Arts Trust, and the Newberry Library.
Other research and teaching interests include the relationship between popular culture, fashion, and art history from the eighteenth-century to the present day. She has published on this topic in Journal18, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, and American Quarterly.