Rachel Boate

PhD (NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts)

Rachel Boate is a historian of nineteenth- and twentieth-century art and visual culture, with an emphasis on cross-cultural histories and theories of abstraction, national identity, and scientific innovation in Europe and the Americas. She received her PhD from NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts in 2020 and has taught at New York University, Marymount Manhattan College, and Vancouver Island University.

Boate is currently at work on her first book manuscript. Embodied Abstraction: The Crisis of Representation in 1930s France explores iterations of biomorphic abstraction in the context of interwar Paris. Selected case studies suggest that conflating abstraction and figuration became an effective device for artists to navigate beyond rigid aesthetic positions that increasingly questioned the continued legitimacy of pictorial modernism during a decade fraught by economic depression and sociopolitical crisis.

Her research has received generous support from the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the CNRS, and the Institut Remarque at the École normale supérieure in Paris.