Wayne State University

Wayne State Arts professor receives prestigious Frankel Institute fellowship

Thanks to research underwritten with internal funding from Wayne State University’s Research Enhancement Program, Jeffrey Abt, professor of Art and Art History in the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts, was selected for a fellowship at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan.

His fellowship project will investigate the interanimations of secularization and sacralization in late-nineteenth- and twentieth-century exhibitions of Jewish ritual objects. Using the Jewish Museum of New York as a primary example, he will examine three periods of significant and revealing changes including the museum’s prehistory in late nineteenth-century expositions in Europe and America, the museum’s creation and use within the Jewish Theological Seminary, and its emergence as a separate public presence in New York’s tumultuous post-World War II art world.

“The fellowship will enable me to expand and complete research for my Wayne State University Research Enhancement Program book project, in particular the Jewish Museum of New York’s avant-garde exhibition program of the late 1950’s to early 1980’s,” said Abt.

The Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan provides annual fellowships for scholars and artists from around the world to conduct research in relation to a given theme. Established through a generous financial contribution from the Jean and Samuel Frankel Jewish Heritage Foundation, the Frankel Institute is the only one of its kind at a public university in the United States. The 2015-2016 theme focuses on secularization and sacralization and the complexity and dynamism of processes of making objects, acts and relationships holy and marking off others as worldly and apart from spiritual life.

“Professor Abt is very deserving for the Frankel Institute’s fellowship, and I am pleased that he was chosen,” said Gloria Heppner, Ph.D., associate vice president for Research at Wayne State University. “His scholarly work stemming from our Research Enhancement Program is a testament to the importance of stimulating creative research.”

Abt’s fellowship will run from September 2015 through April 2016.