History of Art and Architecture

Paula Kupfer



Paula Kupfer’s research traces the intertwined histories of modern photography and architecture in and across Latin America, in dialogue with artists and practices in Europe and the United States between 1930 and the late 1960s. Within these histories, she is attentive to the participation of women, immigrant, and exiled artists, and to the ways mobility and displacement are reflected in their photographic practice.

She recently participated in Dig Where You Stand, an exhibition within the 57th Carnegie International that resulted from an HAA collaboration with exhibition maker Koyo Kouoh. She contributed an essay to the exhibition catalogue on the 1950s Pittsburgh photographs of Charles “Teenie” Harris and W. Eugene Smith.

Before joining HAA, she worked as managing editor of Aperture magazine, photo editor for California Sunday Magazine, and as freelance editor on various books and exhibition catalogues. Her writing has appeared in Contact Sheet, The Photobook Review, Spot magazine, Harper’s Postcard blog, BOMB online, TIME LightBox, Hyperallergic, and the Aperture blog. She was invited to select books for the traveling reading room and publication CLAP! 10×10 Contemporary Latin American Photobooks: 2000–2016, shortlisted for the 2017 Aperture–Paris Photo Catalogue of the Year Award.

Areas of Specialization: Modern art, photography, and architecture in and across Latin America

Education Details

Ph.D., History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh, in progress.

M.A., Art History, Hunter College, New York, 2016

Master's thesis: "Gertrudes Altschul and the Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante: Modern Photography and Femininity in 1950s São Paulo"

B.A., Journalism and Latin American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, New York University, 2009 (cum laude)

Honors thesis: "Contesting City Spaces: Public Art in Bogotá"

Selected Publications

“Charles ‘Teenie’ Harris & W. Eugene Smith in Pittsburgh,” in Dispatch: Carnegie International, 57th Edition 2018 (Pittsburgh: Carnegie Museum of Art, 2019), 120–22.

“Video Art in Latin America,” ASAP/J, September 6, 2018.

"Gertrudes Altschul: An Adopted Brazilian Photographer in São Paulo,” Museum of Modern Art post blog, May 2, 2018.

“God Is From Colón,” Harper’s blog, March 29, 2017.

“Jose Velasco” and “Albert Berg” in Traveler Artists: Landscapes of Latin America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection (New York: Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, 2015).

Contributor to CLAP! : 10x10 contemporary Latin American photobooks: 2000-2016 (New York: 10x10 Photobooks, 2017)

“The Foto Cine Clube,” Aperture blog, March 28, 2016.

Selected Awards

Tinker Field Research Grant, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 2019     

International Studies Fund Grant, University Center for International Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 20

Dean’s Summer Research Fund, University of Pittsburgh, 2019

Marstine Prize, awarded for collaborative curatorial project “Dig Where You Stand,” Carnegie International 57, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, 2019

Dietrich Summer Travel Grant, University of Pittsburgh, 2018

Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh, 2017–18

Kossak Art History Travel Grant, Hunter College, New York, 2016

Marion Netter Award, Hunter College, New York, 2013

Herman J. Wechsler Research Scholar in the Fine Arts, Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fun, New York University, 2009

Selected Presentations

“The Memory of the Fifth Border: Panama’s Canal Zone as Living Monument,” Motivating Monuments, University of Pittsburgh, November 2018

“Photographs on the Move: Gertrudes Altschul and São Paulo’s Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante,” The Art of Being in Exile: Alienation and Liberation, University of California–Riverside, May 2018

“Gertrudes Altschul and the Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante: Modern Photography and Femininity in 1950s São Paulo,” In Black and White: Photography, Race, and the Modern Impulse in Brazil at Midcentury, Museum of Modern Art & CUNY Graduate Center, New York, May 2017

Invited speaker for a panel on contemporary photobooks from Latin America, moderated by Christopher Phillips and organized alongside the exhibition CLAP! – 10×10 Contemporary Latin American Photobooks, Americas Society, New York, October 28, 2016