Sara Morris

Sara Morris
Graduate Student


Areas of Concentration: Modern and Contemporary Art, Studio Craft, Material Culture, and Museum History; Digital Media Art and Technology; Feminist Art and Theory
Faculty Advisor: Jenni Sorkin
Committee Members: Laurie Monahan, Jason Weems (History of Art, UC Riverside), Cécile Whiting (Art History and Visual Studies, UC Irvine)
Dissertation: "Clay Bodies: Figurative Ceramics and the Crafting of Identity in Postwar Sculpture"
M.A. Thesis: "Crafting Autonomy: A Reevaluation of the Pedestal in the Sculpture of Arlene Shechet, Nicole Cherubini, and Francesca DiMattio" (San José State University, completed 2017)


Sara Morris is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History of Art & Architecture Department with a doctoral emphasis in Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her dissertation, "Clay Bodies: Figurative Ceramics and the Crafting of Identity in Postwar American Art," traces a history of figurative ceramic sculpture in the United States during the mid-to-late twentieth century, exploring the ways in which artists emphasized the body, narrative imagery, hand making, and community to better convey the multivalent aspects of identity. The project is supported by a 2023 Library Research Grant at the Getty Research Institute, a 2023 NCECA Helen Zucker Seeman Curatorial, Research, and Critical Writing Fellowship for Women, a 2021-2022 Predoctoral Smithsonian Fellowship in American Craft at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), and a 2020-2021 Graduate Research Mentorship Program Fellowship. Sara currently holds a position as the Ruth Rippon Curator of Ceramics at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento.

Sara is the recipient of a 2019-2020 Ailsa Mellon Bruce Predoctoral Fellowship for Historians of American Art to Travel Abroad made possible through the National Gallery of Art’s Center of Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA). The Chairperson's Award (2019) and a Windgate Museum Internship at the Decorative Arts & Design Department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2015). Recent projects include the article “Kinship Structures: Viola Frey, Charles Fiske, and Figurative Ceramics in California,” for the Archives of American Art Journal (forthcoming 2024) and a contribution to the exhibition catalogue 45 Stories in Jewelry: 1947 to Now (2020-ongoing) at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York. Sara has reviewed exhibitions for Ceramics: Art and Perception, The Journal of Modern Craft, and Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art.