Francesca Wilmott

PhD student

Thesis: Far Out California: A New Regionalism, 1966–1976

Supervisor: Professor Jo Applin

This thesis examines a renewed discourse on regionalism in the years leading up to America’s 1976 bicentennial. Focussing on the work of Stephen Kaltenbach, Gladys Nilsson, and Mike Henderson, I investigate how artists working in Northern California, in particular, reclaimed and challenged assigned regional identities. Though California is often celebrated as a pinnacle of progressive ideals, many artists working beyond its major urban centres have encountered exclusion from scholarship and exhibitions on West Coast art. In turn, they developed a wayward, and often humorous, individualism that commented on and resisted absorption into the art world.


  • Ph.D. Candidate, The Courtauld Institute of Art, 2018–present
  • M.A., Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • M.A., Arts Administration and Policy, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • B.A., History of Art and Architecture, Miami University, Oxford, OH

Research Interests

  • Post-war international art
  • American art
  • Regionalism
  • Northern California
  • Chicago
  • Conceptual practices
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Queer Theory
  • Feminism

Curatorial Experience

  • Independent Curator, Slant Step Forward, Verge Center for the Arts, Sacramento, 2019
  • Associate Curator, Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, University of California, Davis, 2016–2017
  • Curatorial Assistant, Drawings and Prints, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2012–2016
  • Research Assistant, Modern and Contemporary Art, Saint Louis Art Museum, 2010–2011
  • Co-director, Los Caminos Gallery, St. Louis, 2010–2011
  • Co-director, Concertina Gallery, Chicago, 2009–2010


  • Review, “Cathy Lu at the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco,” Artforum, Summer 2022 (print and online)
  • Contributor to World History of Woman Photographers, ed. Luce Lebart and Marie Robert (Paris: Textuel, 2020; Thames & Hudson, 2022).
  • Editor and contributor, Slant Step Book: The Mysterious Object and the Book it Inspired (Sacramento: Verge Center for the Arts; distributed by D.A.P., 2019).
  • “A Room of Quiet: The Work of Koo Kyung Sook,” in Koo Kyung Sook (Sacramento: University Library Gallery, California State University, Sacramento, 2019).
  • “Making Worlds: The Art of Irving Marcus,” in Irving Marcus: Romance & Disaster, ed. Rachel Teagle (Davis: Manetti Shrem Museum, 2018): 31–39.
  • “Plates with Entries,” in Wayne Thiebaud: 1958–1968, ed. Rachel Teagle (Oakland: University of California Press, 2018): 68–142.
  • “The Object and Its Reproduction,” in Marcel Broodthaers, ed. Christophe Cherix and Manuel Borja-Villel (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2016): 116–18.
  • “Objects,” co-authored with Rafael García, in Marcel Broodthaers, Christophe Cherix and Manuel Borja-Villel (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2016): 76–9.
  • “1960–1962,” in Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971, ed. Christophe Cherix and Klaus Biesenbach (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2015): 42–7.

Grants and Fellowships

  • Terra Foundation for American Art, Immersion Semesters Fellowship at University of California, Santa Barbara, Fall 2019
  • Terra Foundation for American Art, Research Travel Grant to the United States, 2019–2020
  • SAVAnT at CHASE Research Travel Award, 2019–2020

Conferences and Workshops

  • Paper, “Mike Henderson: Taking the Bottom Out of the Basket,” Postgraduate Symposium, The Courtauld Institute of Art, May 19, 2022
  • Paper, “Landed Bad Girl: Gladys Nilsson in Sacramento, 1968–1976,” 2nd Year PhD Symposium, The Courtauld Institute of Art, May 4–5. 2020
  • Paper, “Crafting Global Narratives: A California Case Study,” 3rd Academic Symposium, Cheongju Craft Biennale, Korea, October 2019
  • Paper, “Stephen Kaltenbach as ‘Regional Artist,’” American Art First! Symposium organized by SAVAnT at CHASE, British Library, June 19–20, 2019
  • Chair, Modern and Contemporary 2nd Year PhD Symposium, The Courtauld Institute of Art, June 3, 2019
  • Chair, Postgraduate Symposium, The Courtauld Institute of Art, May 16, 2019
  • Participant, Japan America Curatorial Exchange, Tokyo, Kanazawa, Echigo, July 18–27, 2015; Dallas Museum of Art, March 26–28, 2015