History of Art and Architecture

Ellen Larson


Ellen Larson specializes in contemporary art from China, with a particular interest in video art made after 1988. Her research focuses on artist-created threshold spaces and temporal conditions that engage simultaneously with real and imagined articulations of the past, present, and future. Her 2018 MA thesis, “Cao Fei’s Nostalgia for the Future,” focused on the acclaimed Chinese artist’s presentation of specific Chinese localities, which, often through memory and nostalgia, contemplate utopian evocations and the ongoing construction of national and post-socialist identities.

Ellen’s methodological approach to the study of art history includes curation and design as forms of applied practice. Her most recent curatorial project includes a HAA collaboration with exhibition maker Koyo Kouoh for the 57th Carnegie International titled Dig Where You Stand. She currently works as Cao Fei’s research assistant, and curates and presents exhibitions, symposia, and art events in China and the United States.

Education Details

PhD, History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh, in progress

MA, History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh, 2018 

MA, Modern Chinese History, Minzu University of China, 2016

BA, Art and Art History, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 2012

Selected Publications

Review of “Zhang Peili: Record. Repeat.,” Contemporaneity: 2017 Volume 6, No. 1, pg. 104-108. 

Review of “Curating Research,”LEAP: International Art Magazine of Contemporary China:2015 Issue 32, pg. 60. 

“Lin Yan: Interview with the Artist,” Lin Yan Exhibition Catalogue, Kwai Fung Hin Gallery, Hong Kong, China, 2015

“The Art of Rewriting China,” co-authored by Dr. Cortney Chaffin, Xu Bing Exhibition Catalogue, Carlsten Gallery of Art, UW-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI, 2012 

Translation (Chinese to English) 

Ye Funa: Nailhenge (exhibition catalogue), Space Station, Beijing, China, 2016

Artificial Fairyland (exhibition catalogue), Suzhou Jinji Lake Museum, Suzhou, China, 2016

Shang Chengxiang: Threshold (exhibition catalogue), Space Station, Beijing, China, 2015

Selected Awards

Asia Studies Center Summer Language Scholarship, University of Pittsburgh, 2018

Dean’s Summer Research Grant, University of Pittsburgh, 2018

John H. Tsui Memorial Scholarship, University of Pittsburgh, 2017

Dean's Travel Grant, University of Pittsburgh Fall 2016

Chancellors Graduate Fellowship in Chinese Studies, University of Pittsburgh, Fall 2016

China-US Young Leaders Summit Award, Fudan University of China, 2014 

Chinese Government Scholarship, Minzu University of China, 2013-2016  

CIEE Language Intensive Focus Track (LIFT) Scholarship, Beijing University, 2012 

Curated Exhibition and Symposia

Dig Where You Stand, Curatorial Think Piece by Koyo Kouoh, 57th Carnegie International, 2018 

Dance Aria: Ju Anqi Solo Exhibition, Being Three Gallery, Beijing, 2017

Intermediary: Video Art from China, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Carlsten Art Gallery, 2017

Chinese Apartment Art: Primary Documents from the Gao Minglu Archive, University of Pittsburgh University Art Gallery, 2017

Overwhelming Imagination: Achieving and Undermining Contradictions International Art Conference, Si Shang Art Museum, Beijing, 2016 https://www.overwhelmingimagination.com/

Selected Conferences and Programs

Panel moderator, “The Arts Alive: Identity & New Media in Contemporary Chinese Art,” Bookworm Literary Festival, Beijing, China, March, 2016 

Presentation, “The Stars and their Legacy in the Developments of Early Contemporary Chinese Art,” i:Project Space Art Salon, Beijing, China, September 2015

Panel moderator, “The Female Voice in Contemporary Chinese Art,” Bookworm Literary Festival, Beijing, China, March, 2015 

Conference Presentation, “American Media Perspectives on Post-World War II Japanese Repatriation in China,” Northeastern University of China History Conference, Shenyang, China, November, 2014