Jason Vartikar

A.B. Harvard College 2011
M.A. Stanford University 2019
Graduation Year
Jason Vartikar

I am an Indian-American (matrilineal via Pune, India) scholar with a focus on American art and literature. My research considers art histories intertwined with issues of politics and emotion---spanning such topics as "race," colonization, dissent, melancholy, and hierarchy. My dissertation on the watercolorist Charles Burchfield explores the emotional terrain of America 1915-1920---especially in relation to the early civil rights movement and progressive era politics.

My essay in American Art, “Ruth Asawa’s Early Wire Sculpture and a Biology of Equality” discusses the artist’s sculptures as metaphors for racial equality. The essay won Honorable Mention for the 2021 "Frost Prize" from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which found it “profound” in light of the “recent rise in attacks, suspicion, and racism of Asian communities.”

I am currently an ABD doctoral candidate in Stanford’s department of art and art history, where I have been a recipient of the Jeanette and William Hayden Jones Fellowship in American Art and Culture since 2016.

From 2011-2016 I was a co-founder and co-director of the Hansel and Gretel Picture Garden and Pocket Utopia – a critically acclaimed gallery and performance venue in New York City.

Pronouns: he/him/his


Research Interests

Research Area(s)
Field of Interest
American Art