Robert Kett’s research draws on methods from anthropology, art history, and the history of science to examine art/science intersections; modernism and modernity; scientific visualization; and histories of fieldwork, collecting, and interdisciplinary practice in the Americas. His dissertation research traced the development of Olmec archaeology in the twentieth century, revealing the discipline's connections to a broader network of scientific and artistic field practices in southern Mexico and the collective role of these projects in the dramatic transformation of the region through processes of knowledge-, image-, and resource-making. At the MPIWG, he is developing a new project which centers on antiquarian and natural historical practice in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century southern Mexico, examining the visualization of the region’s nature and cultural past in reproductive media and the role of provincial intellectuals in national projects of progress and development. His writing has been published in Representations and Curator: The Museum Journal, and he is co-editor of Learning by Doing at the Farm: Craft, Science, and Counterculture in Modern California (Soberscove Press, 2014). In addition to his writing, he has developed a number of exhibition and programming projects on topics in the histories of art and science in Latin America and the United States and has trained in museum practice at the Getty Research Institute and the Smithsonian Institution. His work has also been supported by grants and residencies from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Dumbarton Oaks, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and various institutes of the University of California.
Kett, R. J. (2015). Monumentality as method: archaeology and land art in the Cold War. Representations, 130(1), 119-151. doi:10.1525/rep.2015.130.1.119.Read
Kett, R. J., & Kryczka, A. (2014). Learning by doing at the farm: craft, science, and counterculture in modern California. Chicago: Soberscove Press.Read