Jennifer Stager specializes in the art and architecture of the ancient Mediterranean and its afterlives. She received her PhD in the history of art from the University of California, Berkeley and her MSt. in classical archaeology from Lincoln College, Oxford. Her areas of focus include questions of color, materiality, and vision in the ancient Mediterranean world, the afterlives of antiquity, and the intersections of gender, race, and class in the production and study of art and architecture.
Stager’s first book, Seeing Ancient Mediterranean Color (in progress), investigates the role of color in shaping the art of the ancient Mediterranean from the 6th-3rd centuries BCE. Color is a phenomenon visible throughout and constitutive of our bodies and the world we inhabit. Seeing Color explores the constitutive role of color to form bodies, structure vision, and shape a beholder’s experience of the built and natural environment. Stager has published two essays related to this research “The Materiality of Color in Ancient Mediterranean Art” in Essays in Global Color History (ed. R. Goldman, 2016) and “The Unbearable Whiteness of Whiteness” in Art Practical (January 2019). Her next project, Deliverance from Pain: Art, Medicine, and Magic in the Ancient Mediterranean, explores the healing arts associated with early medicine.
In addition to these research projects, Stager has curated a range of exhibitions, from the award-winning Picasso & Rivera: Conversations Across Time at LACMA and Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes (2016-2017), to contemporary shows in collaboration with the visual artist Jenny Salamon Omabegho, such as Gisela Insuaste’s Haciendo marcas otra vez (making marks, again) installed in a former prisoner transport bus, and the inaugural group show for Artemis, a space dedicated to female-identified artists, and a five-part series on artistic collaboration for SFMOMA’s Open Space.
She has published essays for the bilingual Spanish-English catalogue for Picasso & Rivera, “Classicism & Revolution” and "Torn Bodies for Pleasure: Classicism and Monstrosity in Picasso's illustrations of Ovid's Metamorphoses" and "Cuerpos destrozados por placer: clasicismo y monstruosidad en las ilustraciones de Picasso para las Metamorfosis de Ovidio."
Professor Stager has held fellowships from the National Institute of Humanities and the Getty Research Institute (2012), the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (2009-2011), and The Berkeley Fellowship (2003-2007). She joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins University in 2018.