Frances Lazare is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art History, and a recipient of the Visual Studies Graduate Certificate. Her research interests are in 20th century American art, with particular focus on the histories of painting and abstraction. Her dissertation, tentatively titled “A Vanguard of Friends,” examines a network of creative communities and co-operative institutions in Post-WW II New York City. This project re-maps the intellectual terrain of the New York School, arguing for the importance of sociability, and collaboration as vital creative forces within its milieu. Paying particular attention to the experiences of gay men and women who traveled in this sphere, her dissertation probes the tension between art and life and the need for creative community. Frances’ dissertation has been supported by grants from the New York Public Library, Terra Foundaiton for American Art, USC Graduate School, and the Visual Studies Research Institute. 

Prior to joining USC, Frances worked as an assistant in the curatorial department at the Menil Collection, Houston, where she assisted on an exhibition and symposium examining the late work of American painter Barnett Newman, among other projects. She has also held positions in the curatorial departments of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Frances holds B.A., with distinction, in art history from Smith College.


  • BA Smith College, 5/2014