Alumni News

Fiona Collins’s Journey – Alumna, Class of 2019

Fiona Collins is one of HAD’s BFA students from the class of 2019. After her time at Pratt, Fiona is now pursuing a master’s degree in Japanese Art History at the University of London. Below is Fiona’s journey and reflection at Pratt.

At Pratt, my classes Introduction to Painting Conservation and Technical Considerations for the Art Historian were among my favorites and inspired me to apply to internships within preservation labs and archives. Although I ultimately chose not to pursue conservation as a career, these experiences helped me realize that I love to study material culture through an art historical lens. 

I often tried to take advantage of lectures, symposia and exhibitions in New York that would help me to further these academic interests, or allow me to better acquaint myself with recent research on the subject. I also frequently attended studio art workshops running in the surrounding area in an effort to understand how art-objects were made, and better identify their physical characteristics (I would recommend every art history student at Pratt check out the offerings of 92nd street YMCA, there are many affordable courses exploring historic techniques of art production!). 

In the year after I graduated from Pratt, I tried to bridge what I had learned from my undergraduate degree with my long-standing interest in the arts of Asia.  My enrollment in an intensive Rare Book School course taught at the University of Pennsylvania by Julie Nelson Davis was a particularly pivotal moment, and the first time I was able to study Japanese art-objects up close. Then, when working in Hawai’i at the Thomas Hale Hamilton Library in Honolulu the following year, I took courses in the Asian Studies pathway of the UH Manoa’s MLIS program and co-curated the library exhibition Bound by Tradition: the Physical Bibliography of East Asian Books. During this time, I kept in mind Professor Borhua Wang’s class at Pratt, which made it clear to me how important it is to master reading both modern languages and their archaic forms when studying Asian art history (one of the first things we discussed was the evolution of Chinese characters), and enrolled in Japanese language courses. 

I am currently studying Japanese Art History at the University of London, where I have completed the coursework for my MA, and am writing my dissertation on the technical innovations of the Edo period painter Nakamura Hochu. I was recently hired to catalogue the collection of a fine arts gallery in Massachusetts from April to September of this year, after which time I will be doing a year of intensive Japanese Language at Waseda University (barring any more COVID-19 related travel restrictions!). 

At the moment, my main objective is to continue honing my foreign language skills, and by extension, primary source research capabilities. I hope to pursue a doctorate in art history or Asian area studies, focusing on the material culture of East Asia, once I have higher proficiency in one or more of them! I will be applying in Fall 2021 to programs in the United States (if accepted, to enroll in Fall 2022). Eventually, I would love to develop my body of research on H?ch? further, or work in a museum, gallery, or auction house. 

My two fondest memories at Pratt actuary mark the beginning and end of my time in my program: Although I was initially an illustration major, I decided to enroll in the B.F.A History of Art and Design degree after Professor Lisa Banner sent me an email when I was a student in her Global Art History survey. She reached out to ease my post-exam anxiety and to tell me that she thought that I had a mind for art history – I ended up transferring from my illustration degree a few weeks later! Then in my final year, I loved the process of developing my senior thesis with Professor Anca Lasc, who really helped me fine tune my composition skills and the presentation of my writing. It was both a tremendous relief and sad moment to turn it in! 

Fiona can be reached at or on Instagram at @fionac_97

Anna Talley’s Journey – Alumna, Class of 2019

Anna Talley is one of HAD’s BFA students from class of 2019. After her journey at Pratt, she went to pursue a Master degree at the Royal College of Art/Victoria and Albert Museum. Below is Anna’s reflection about her career trajectory and time at Pratt.

While I was a student at Pratt, I made sure to take advantage of all the opportunities the city had to offer. After being introduced to the area’s museums and galleries by my professors, I spent nearly every weekend going to exhibitions and attending talks, which helped me discover that I was interested in curatorial practice. To test my interest, which was a break away from my original intention to become a graphic designer, I applied to several internship positions that cemented my desire to one day work in museums. In the spring and summer of my junior year, I was an intern for the curator of design and decorative arts at the Metropolitan Museum. That autumn, I began assisting with curators at the Cooper Hewitt on an exhibition, in addition to working as an editorial intern at Modern Magazine and The Magazine Antiques. This was all while working at the Pratt Galleries, which provided me with a fantastic experience in the practicalities of organizing and mounting exhibitions—I hung quite a few paintings and spent a lot of time filling in the nail holes once the paintings were taken down!

For my senior thesis, I investigated the exhibition Latin America in Posters which was curated by Mildred Constantine in 1941. I visited the MoMA archives, the Rockefeller archives, and even went to Washington DC to get a fuller picture of the scope and history of the exhibition by Constantine, who is better known for her role as a curator at MoMA. Researching the work of a female curator of design, a generation before me, was extremely inspiring. I credit my thesis project with cementing my interest in design history and research. Research is not done simply sitting at a desk—it involves talking to people involved, rummaging through old paper, and synthesizing stories and ideas into a cohesive narrative that is often more complicated, and more interesting, than the question you set out to answer.

After graduating with my BFA in the History of Art and Design from Pratt in 2019, I spent the summer working as an intern in the Architecture and Design Department at the Museum of Modern Art. Not wasting much time, I moved to London in the fall to begin my Masters in Design History and Material Culture at the Victoria & Albert/Royal College of Art. Based in the museum itself, I have had the opportunity to work for the V&A’s Design Architecture and Digital department as a curatorial volunteer while completing my studies. Though the pandemic was, of course, disruptive, a colleague and I decided to mobilize our skills as researchers and launched Design in Quarantine, a digital archive of design responses to COVID-19. My personal research on the program revolved around modern communication design, which ultimately informed my PhD proposal on the topic of design and fake news. I’m interested in exploring the intersections between design history and the digital humanities and working in tandem with practitioners to marry academic research with real-world solutions to contemporary issues.

Though I’ve now left Brooklyn, my fondest memories of Pratt are the London Plane trees and birches on campus in the spring. I know everyone waxes on about the beauty of Pratt’s campus, but all clichés have a grain of truth! Nothing compares to finishing up reading for Baroque Visual Culture in the fresh air, sitting in the sun, after having been stuck inside Willoughby all winter.

If you have any questions about Pratt or my experience in the History of Art and Design program, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at You can also find me on Twitter (@annaktalley) and Instagram (@anna.k.talley).

Congratulations to Fay Ku, former HA&D Alumna in Paris!

Congratulations to Fay Ku, former HA&D Alumna in Paris!

We are pleased to announce No Place That Does Not See You, a solo exhibition in Paris, where Fan Ku, a History of Art and Design alumna will be presenting her work . Fay Ku was born in Taipei, Taiwan and raised in the United States. She received a M.F.A. in Studio Art and M.S. in History of Art and Design from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, and a dual B.A. in literature and visual arts from Bennington College in Vermont.  She has exhibited both nationally and internationally and participated in several artist residencies. Now, she’s currently presenting her work at the H Gallery in Paris. This October (2018) she will be at Núcleo de Arte da Oliva Rua da Fundição, Portugal.
No Place That Does Not See You
May 18 – June 16, 2018
Opening reception: Thursday, May 17, 6-9 pm
+33 (0)1 48 06 67 38
Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 7pm.
For more information, visit
book cover
The renown poet Marilyn Chin’s publication of new and selected poems, A Portrait of the Self as Nation, will be out October 2018.  The artist, Fan Ku will show her artwork:  Accumulation, 2009, graces as its cover.  You can  preorder from the publisher

Congrats to John B. Henry, MS History of Art & Design for His Recent Article Publication

Congrats to John B. Henry, MS History of Art & Design for His Recent Article Publication

Congratulations on the  publication of the article “Digital Developments in the 2010s for an Art History Student and David Wojnarowicz” by John B. Henry. He was a dual-degree graduate student at Pratt Institute studying Library & Information Science as well as the History of Art & Design. Interested in a career in Archives; JB has worked at various institutions during his time in the programs including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Museum where he was a Pratt Fellow during the 2015-2016 academic year. Both experiences allowed JB the opportunity to process large collections of material into the archives. JB is passionate about access to archives for research and frequently uses them in his own projects. In conjunction with his thesis in Art History, JB is collaborating with the team at The Fales Library & Special Collections (NYU) on their Artist Archives Initiative, the first project being the David Wojnarowicz Knowledge Base.

“This article is both a personal response to and review of the digital resources created by Fales Library and Special Collection, New York University (NYU), for the David Wojnarowicz Papers, MSS.092 during the 2010s. It discusses the digitization of Wojnarowicz’s journals and the David Wojnarowicz Knowledge Base, which is the first digital resource to come out of the Artist Archives Initiative at New York University. The author details his experience learning to use new technologies to undertake art-historical research as an undergraduate and graduate student as well as his relationship to the artist’s work. He concludes that although the David Wojnarowicz Knowledge Base is an excellent resource for research and a model for digital art history, nothing can replace primary research in an artist’s archive.”John B. Henry


One Day This Kid… is an image of the artist as a young boy is surrounded by text. The prose is a moving and poignant description of the oblique feeling of difference he felt as an innocent child coming to terms with how the world perceives homosexuals and him. The feeling of otherness is quickly transformed into discrimination, fear, and violence.

Figure 1. David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (One Day This Kid…), 1990. Photostat, 30 ¾ x 41 inches. Courtesy of the Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P·P·O·W, New York. ©Estate of David Wojnarowicz



A Reflection From John Hawke

Hello Professor Decker,

I understand that you are interested in the experiences of former Pratt art history students, so with the passage of some years, here are some recollections that remain from the sieve of memory:

In 1999, I had the great fortune to study Northern Baroque art with Frima Fox Hofrichter and Chinese landscape painting with Borhua Wang.  At that time, I was enrolled as an MFA candidate with a focus in painting, but due largely to the experience of that fall 1999 semester, I later switched to the combined degree program of fine arts and art history.

Professor Hofrichter made a great impression for her dynamic enthusiasm and profound knowledge of the subject area.  I remember her class as being both challenging and rich, and having benefited at its completion from the creation of a robust art historical structure for a period which I had previously only studied independently.  She showed great faith in me as a student scholar, and for that too, I am grateful.

Professor Wang gave me the most precious gift a teacher can give to a student, that is, to open the door to a field of knowledge that they would have never have had access to otherwise.  With an artistic formation in plein air landscape painting, I had previously found the Chinese landscape painting tradition, with its monochromatic mists, to be monotonous and blank. Over the course of the semester studying with Professor Wang however, I became attuned to the subtle poetry and serene beauty of landscape as metaphor in lieu of landscape as illusionism  The class was rigorous in guiding us deep into that terrain, and to this day, I remain profoundly affected by a perceptual change induced by an introduction to this tradition.

As I am now a teacher myself, teaching art to middle and high school students at the American school in Lisbon, Portugal, I am able, in some small way, to pass on this lineage to my students, so I am very thankful for Professor Wang as her class had a profound effect on my artistic practice, my teaching practice and greatly enriched my life.

Please feel free to use these recollections however you see fit.  Thank you.

Yours Truly,

John Hawke

Oct. 21, 2017

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