Photo of Sarah Hamill
  • Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art


  • Bachelor of Arts, Reed College, 2000
  • Master of Arts, University of California, Berkeley, 2002
  • Doctorate of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley, 2008


Sarah Hamill teaches surveys of modern and contemporary art (from 1750 to the present), focused courses on the history of photography, modern and contemporary sculpture, and art historiography, as well as an introductory survey. Her students have published their writing online, from an exhibition catalogue for a 2012 Allen Memorial Art Museum exhibition, Hybrid Images: The Photography of Sculpture, 1860 to 1990, to a collaborative blog of notes and photographs from a 2012 class trip to Marfa, Texas. Her students have also curated and designed a digital exhibition highlighting a selection of artists’ books from the Clarence Ward Art Library, sponsored by a Five Colleges of Ohio Next Generation Library grant, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Her current writing projects include essays on the videos of Erin Shirreff; Eduardo Chillida’s aesthetic of interiority; Clarence Kennedy, Adrian Stokes, and photography as ‘carving’; and Carola Giedion-Welcker, Henry Moore, primitivism, and the photographic staging of his sculpture. She is also working on a book-length manuscript that explores the photographic surface and sculptural materiality in contemporary art, provisionally titled Surface Matters: Photography and the Skin of the Object.

With Megan R. Luke (USC), she is editing a volume, titled Sculpture and Photography: The Art Object in Reproduction (under contract at Getty Publications, which includes new research from scholars across fields on the intersections between the media of sculpture and photography. With Luke, she is also preparing an article that considers the role of the photography of sculpture in the writing of art history, aesthetics, and media theory. In 2013, Luke and Hamill were awarded a two-year Collaborative Research Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. They also co-organized a two-part symposium sponsored by the Clark Art Institute and the Getty Research Institute that brought together leading international scholars dedicated to the historiography of art and architecture, the histories of photography and sculpture, and the mediation of material artifacts as images. (Details on the Clark day are here and here; details on the GRI are here.) - Sarah Hamill

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Hamill’s research explores the intersections between sculpture and photography. Selected recent publications include:

Hamill has presented her research at, among other venues, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Wexner Center for the Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, the High Museum, Emory University, the University of Southern California, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. In 2009-2010 she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Getty Research Institute, and in 2013-14 she was Visiting Professor in the Art Department, University of Toronto.


  • Sarah Hamill Publishes Book

    February 11, 2015

    Sarah Hamill's book on David Smith's photography, David Smith in Two Dimensions: Photography and the Matter of Sculpture, has been published by the University of California Press (January 2015). The first in-depth, scholarly study of a sculptor's photography, Hamill’s book offers a close look at how Smith used the camera to stage and transform his sculpture, crafting a public display for his work. The book argues for a new understanding of media in modernism that destabilizes traditional notions of medium specificity and sculptural autonomy.