Lauren Freese is a third-year Ph.D. student specializing in American art. She received a B.A. in Art History and Business Administration from Hamline University and an M.A. in Modern and Contemporary art from the University of Iowa. Her M.A. thesis, "Frida Kahlo and Chicana Self-Portraiture: Maya Gonzalez, Yreina D. Cervántez, and Cecilia Alvarez," considers the ways in which contemporary Chicana artists have hybridized and reinvented Frida Kahlo’s influence. Her current research interests include American print culture, food studies, still life, genre painting, and the cultural implications of public and private dining. Lauren’s Ph.D. research focuses on depictions of food consumption in American cities. Her dissertation, “Tasting the City: Depictions of Food Consumption in America, 1880-1920,” argues that, during this tumultuous period in American culture, the dining table became a space for the ongoing negotiation of class, culture, and ethnicity.
During the summer of 2015, Lauren participated in the Center for Historic American Visual Culture seminar sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society, “Culinary Culture: The Politics of American Foodways, 1765-1900.” This interdisciplinary workshop explored a variety of textual and visual materials, from cookbooks to chromolithographs. Lauren incorporates this materials-based, interdisciplinary approach into her research and teaching.
At the University of Iowa, Lauren has served as a Teaching Assistant for a variety of courses, including “Western Art and Culture: Before 1400,” “Arts of Africa,” and “Art and Visual Culture.” As an Instructor of Record for “Writing About the Visual Arts,” Lauren taught research and writing strategies.