Jessi DiTillio, Exhibition Coordinator
Jessi DiTillio is a doctoral student in the Department of Art and Art History. Her research centers on American contemporary art with an emphasis on artists engaging the politics of race, gender, and sexuality. Her dissertation will focus on parody, visual humor, and intertextual affect in the work of Robert Colescott, Glenn Ligon, and Nao Bustamante. She received her BA from New York University and her MA from the University of Oregon. Before beginning the doctoral program at UT Austin, she served as Interim Director of the Association for Academic Museums and Galleries. Prior to that, she served as the Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at University of Oregon, where she curated the traveling exhibition Emancipating the Past: Kara Walker’s Tales of Slavery and Power, which has been exhibited at seven different venues from 2013-2016.
Rebecca Giordano, Education and Visitor Services Coordinator
Rebecca Giordano is the Visitors Services and Education Coordinator. A graduate of the University of Chicago and the University of Texas masters program in Art History, Giordano curates, teaches, and writes on contemporary art. Most recently, she curated In Heartbeats: the Comic Art of Jackie Ormes for the Warfield Center, the first exhibition of the first African-American woman cartoonist. She is a member of the curatorial collective INGZ, which has organized a series of performances, Sampling, and LaToya Ruby Frazier: Riveted, a year-long series of exhibitions, workshops, performances, and talks. Committed to museum education, Giordano was the Gallery Teaching Fellow 2013-2014 and University Programs Fellow 2014-2015 at the Blanton Museum of Art.
Lise Ragbir, Director of the Warfield Center Galleries
Lise Ragbir brings over fifteen years of cultural management experience to the Warfield Center. The journey has taken her from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art, to the United Nations, to a Swiss corporate collection, to one of the most notable collections of public art in the state of Texas. From her work as a grant-maker with private foundations, to her work with museums and community-based cultural organizations, her experience spans public, private, for-profit and non-profit cultural initiatives. She holds a BFA in Art History and Studio Art from Concordia University in Montreal, and completed her graduate work in Museum Studies at Harvard University. She is first-generation Canadian of Trinidadian-descent, and has spent the last five years in Austin, Texas.
Dr. Cherise Smith, Executive Director of the Warfield Center Galleries
Associate Professor Cherise Smith joined the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin in 2005. She offers courses in and has published articles on African American and African Diaspora art, the history of photography, and contemporary art. Her manuscript, Enacting Others: Politics of Identity in Eleanor Antin, Nikki S. Lee, Adrian Piper, and Anna Deavere Smith, was published by Duke University Press in 2011. It examines how identity is negotiated in performance art by reading closely a performance work by each artist in which she takes-on the characteristics and manners of a racial, ethnic, and gender “other”. She has worked in the curatorial departments of several museums and curated a number of exhibitions. Cherise Smith is the director for the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies.