Isabel Wade

Dornsife Fellow in General Education
Isabel Wade


Dr. Isabel Frampton Wade is an art historian who specializes in the history of photography and modern art and visual culture of the Americas, with a particular focus on the American West. Isabel’s teaching, scholarly, and curatorial interests focus on how representations of architecture and urban space shaped the cultural and political reception of twentieth-century art and photography. She is also a digital humanities specialist, with paritcular interest in integrating art historical research with geospatial analysis and data visualization. Isabel received her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Southern California in 2023, where she also completed the Visual Studies Graduate Certificate.

Isabel is at work on her first book project, a history of commercial architectural photography in Los Angeles from 1940 to 1980. It addresses how architectural photographs in diverse print contexts—including public housing advertisements, photobooks, magazines, and exhibition catalogues—modeled a visual politics of urbanism that influenced how artists, architects, and city planners engaged with cities across the country. A second project, which includes a digital humanities component, considers how North American and Mexican architecture magazines produced a transnational politics of modern art through architectural photography in the mid-twentieth century. 

She has writing forthcoming in American Art (fall 2024) and is a co-editor on the digital publication, Ed Ruscha’s Streets of Los Angeles: Artist, Image, City, Archive (Getty Resesarch Institute Publications, 2024), to which she contributed an essay. Her work has been supported by the Luce Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies, the Center for Creative Photography, the Huntington Library, among others. She received her MA in art history from the University of Southern California and a BA in art history from the University of Chicago. 


  • BA , Univ Chicago, 6/2015