Shannon Bewley is currently a PhD student in the History of Art & Architecture at Boston University. Her research interests include modern and contemporary sculpture, exhibition histories, and the role of photography and databases in art history. She is also the Vice President of Boston University’s Graduate Student Organization.
Prior to entering Boston University, Bewley was the Provenance Research Fellow in the departments of American and European Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, Alabama. She researched the ownership, publication, and exhibition histories of collection objects in order better contextualize and expand the narratives of the Museum’s holdings. Bewley primarily focused on French paintings from the 17th to 19th centuries and American paintings from the late 18th to early 20th centuries. Her research can be found on the individual object pages on the Museum’s website, such as the page for L’Arabe Pleurant son Coursier (The Arab Lamenting the Death of his Steed) (about 1812) by Jean-Baptiste Mauzaisse.
Bewley first joined the Birmingham Museum of Art in September 2017 as the Goodrich Intern. She co-curated For Freedoms: Civil Rights and Human Rights (2018) and two rotations of 20th-century modernist paintings and works on paper in the American galleries. In January 2018, she began a position as a Registrar’s Assistant. In this role, she digitized the Museum’s exhibition archives from 1951 to 2006. As a result, exhibition catalogues, gallery guides, checklists, installation photos, and other documentation of more than 1,000 exhibitions are now digitally available for research within the Birmingham Museum of Art.
In 2017, she earned a B.A. in Art History, B.F.A. in Studio Art (Sculpture), and German minor from Auburn University. During her four-year tenure as the Student Assistant of Biggin Gallery in Auburn, Alabama, she was involved in mounting more than 35 exhibitions. Her senior art history thesis “The Part and the Whole: The Multiple Perspective of Tara Donovan’s Untitled (Plastic Cups)” examined how Donovan’s sculptures critique the proliferation of disposable goods through their own dependency on mass-produced products and decomposition over time. Editions of this essay were published in the Spring 2019 Auburn University Journal of Undergraduate Scholarship and presented at the 2018 SECAC Conference.