Professor of Art History
Contact Info

  • Ph.D. (Art History), UCLA
  • M.A. (Art History), UCLA
  • B.A. (Art History & English Literature), Stanford
Professional Affiliations
  • Association for Critical Race Art History
  • Association of Historians of American Art
  • American Studies Association
  • College Art Association
  • Southeastern College Art Conference 
Areas of Expertise

Art history of the U.S. before 1960; African-American art history


Ott is on the advisory board of Archives of American Art Journal.


Selected Honors and Awards
  • Research Fellow, Lunder Institute for American Art, Colby College, 2019–20
  • Paul Mellon Visiting Senior Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., 2019
  • American Council of Learned Societies Project Development Grant, 2018-2019
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 2016
  • John H. Daniels Fellowship, National Sporting Library & Museum, 2016
  • SECAC William R. Levin Award for Research in the History of Art, 2015
  • Society for the Preservation of American Modernists Publication Grant, 2014
  • Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant, 2012
  • Senior Fellowship, Center for the History of Collecting, Frick Art Reference Library, 2012
  • Robert Lehman Foundation Senior Scholar Fellowship, Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, 2012
  • Smithsonian Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2009–10
  • Patricia and Phillip Frost Essay Award (“for the most distinguished contribution to American Art”), 2009
  • JMU College of Visual and Performing Arts Madison Scholar, 2009–10
  • JMU General Education Distinguished Teacher, 2010–11
  • Manufacturing the Modern Patron in Victorian California: Cultural Philanthropy, Industrial Capital, and Social Authority (Ashgate Press, 2014; paperback, Routledge, 2016).

  • “Metropolitan, Inc.: Public Subsidy and Private Gain at the Genesis of the American Art Museum,” in Margaret R. Laster and Chelsea Bruner, eds., New York, Cultural Capital of the Gilded Age (London: Routledge, 2018), pp. 122-38.

  • “Hale Woodruff’s Antiprimitivist History of Abstract Art,” Art Bulletin100:1 (March 2018): 124-45.

  • “Netted Together: Eadweard Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion at the Dawn of Comparative Biology,” in Alan C. Braddock and Laura Turner Igoe, eds., A Greene Country Towne: Philadelphia, Ecology, and the Material Imagination (Penn State University Press, 2017), 81–95.

  • “A Show of Unity: Art Exhibitions, Racial Integration, and the CIO,” International Review of African American Art 26:3 (October 2016): 28–33.

  • “The Warp and Woof of the Archive: Or, Anton Refregier, from Macy’s Showroom to Congressional Hearing,” Archives of American Art Journal 55:1 (Spring 2016): 50–63.

  • “Westward Contraction: Maynard Dixon Paints the Great Depression,” in Marion Wardle and Sarah Boehme, eds., Branding the American West (Oklahoma University Press, 2016), 64–87.

  • “Battle Station MoMA: Jacob Lawrence and the Desegregation of the Armed Forces and the Art World,” American Art 29:3 (Fall 2015): 58–89.

  • "Patrons, Collectors, and Markets,” in John Davis, Jennifer Greenhill, and Jason LaFountain, eds, Blackwell Companion to American Art (Malden, Mass.: Wiley Blackwell, 2015), pp. 525-34.

  • “Graphic Consciousness: The Visual Cultures of Integrated Industrial Unions at Midcentury,” American Quarterly 66:4 (December 2014): 883–918.


  • Mixed Media: The Visual Cultures of Racial Integration, 1931–1954

  • “African American Art Beyond the Harlem Renaissance,” in Eddie Chambers, ed., Routledge Companion to African American Art History(London: Routledge, forthcoming 2019). “Occidental Arrangements: Midcentury Episodes in an Emerging Global History of Art,” in Sandra Zalman and Austin Porter, eds., Reintroducing the Modern: The First Twenty Years at MoMA, 1929–1949(New York: Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2019).

  • “Art and Economics” (with Robin Veder), American Art33:3 (Fall 2019)

  • “Race Forms: African-American Athletes in Eadweard Muybridge’s Photographs and Gilded Age Philadelphia”

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