Katherine Smith is Professor of Art History at Agnes Scott College in Decatur/Atlanta, GA, where she has taught courses in modern and contemporary art and architecture since 2003. Her approach to teaching draws directly on the interdisciplinary nature of her research, which focuses on thinking across media. Her courses demonstrate how the skills and content of art history can help us respond to and intervene in our current landscapes—geographical, political, cultural, and intellectual.
Most of Katherine's research projects have probed intersections in American art and architecture from the 1960s to the present, with emphases on sculpture and urbanism. Her publications address the influence of pop art on architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s built and planned projects, pedagogical practices, and theoretical writings and consider the position of Claes Oldenburg's sculptures in discourses on public art, contemporary architecture, and urban design. She has lectured on these topics at conferences internally and written articles for Public Art Dialogue and Archives of American Art Journal and book chapters for Eyes That Saw (Scheidegger & Spiess, 2020) and Relearning from Las Vegas (University of Minnesota Press, 2008). Her first book, The Accidental Possibilities of the City: Claes Oldenburg's Urbanism in Postwar America, was published by University of California Press in spring 2021. This book has been supported at its inception and conclusion by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, with research and development as well publication grants.
At Agnes Scott, Katherine has helped develop the curriculum in the Department of Art and Art History, which approaches studio art and art history as complementary and intersecting practices. She teaches courses from the introductory survey to the capstone course, including Modern Art; Modern Architecture; Contemporary Art and Theory; History of Photography; Monuments; Contemporary Art, Architectural Form, Urban Space. The courses draw directly from exhibitions in the Dalton Gallery as well as Agnes Scott College’s art collection, which includes works by Jordan Casteel (’11), Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Sally Mann, Yasumasa Morimura, Catherine Opie, Allison Saar, and Kara Walker. In addition, Katherine has helped launch and refine SUMMIT, the signature program in global learning and leadership development at Agnes Scott, serving as the Faculty Coordinator for Leadership Development (2017-19) and teaching foundation courses in this area before returning to the Department of Art and Art History fulltime in 2020.
Katherine holds a Master’s and doctorate from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia, all in art history. She lives in Decatur with her husband and two sons (and mini Aussie), and enjoys following their burgeoning interests in architecture and their developing talents in photography. Her family enjoys visiting Chicago and New York at every opportunity and exploring each city’s art institutions, outdoor sculptures, and public buildings.