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Anthony Meyer

ph.d. candidate // art historian

anthony.joshua.meyer [at]

Anthony Meyer is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he specializes in the Indigenous Arts of the Americas and the Global Early Modern. Originally from the Carolinas, Meyer holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Archaeology with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he curated a thesis on Classic Maya ceramics and burial practices.

While at UCLA, Meyer has strengthened his interdisciplinary interests. He has participated in several international projects, including Early Modern Conversions on religious conversion in the Early Modern world and Making Worlds on migration, movement, and making in the global Early Modern. Meyer has also co-organized on-campus interdisciplinary groups such as the Indigenous Material and Visual Culture of the Americas (IMVCA) working group. At present, he coordinates the Architecture Lab at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and is serving on the Strategic Planning Committee with the Society for Architectural Historians.

From 2021 to 2023, Meyer will continue to work on his dissertation as the Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Ph.D. Candidate in Art History (in progress)
University of California, Los Angeles

M.A. in Art History, 2017
University of California, Los Angeles

B.A. in Anthropology & Archaeology, 2013
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Major Field: Indigenous Arts of the Americas (North, Central, South); Minor Field: Early Modern Global

Dissertation: “The Givers of Things: Religious Leaders and the Art of Making Gifts in the Mexica and Early Transatlantic Worlds”

Certificate in Early Modern Studies, Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies, 2019

M.A. Thesis: “Repositioning the Middle: Movement, Sculpture, and the Body in the Central Cauca Valley”

Highest Distinction & Highest Honors

B.A. Thesis: “Housed Within: a museum display and investigation of a Classic Maya household at K’axob”

Meyer’s fieldwork has spanned time and space, including pre-Invasion sculpture from the Cauca Valley in Colombia, contemporary Mapuche artists in Chile, Nahua religious art in Mexico, and the reception of Mexica objects in sixteenth-century Europe (Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, and Germany). His current research explores Nahua artistic and architectural production over the course of the Mexica empire (A.D. 1325 – 1521) through colonial New Spain and the wider Euro-Atlantic. His dissertation, “The Givers of Things: Religious Leaders and the Art of Making Gifts in the Mexica and Early Transatlantic Worlds” confronts the colonial erasure of Nahua religious leaders (tlamacazqueh) by examining the material and spatial roles these key makers played in the Mexica and Early Modern worlds. Through linguistic, visual, material, and textual analysis, Meyer investigates how tlamacazqueh studied, transformed, and gifted religious objects, or “things,” such as painted censers, adorned knives, and sculpture made of paper, incense, and dough. In particular, he examines three artistic modes–cutting, layering, and wrapping–that religious leaders used to make and animate sacred gifts in the Mexica calmecac and Tenochtitlan precinct. Meyer also explores how tlamacazqueh knowledge and making were entwined with those of Indigenous, African, and European groups in New Spain following Iberian Invasion, as well as how these individuals and their objects transformed understandings of religious art and devotion in Spain and Italy.

Outside of his dissertation, Meyer’s research interests include semiotics and linguistic relativity, synesthesia and embodied experience, transatlantic exchange, and the materiality of religions. For his graduate research, he has received fellowships and grants from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the Fulbright Association, the Huntington Library, the John Carter Brown Library, the Renaissance Society of America, the Society for Architectural Historians, and the Social Science Research Council.

Teaching AssistantDepartment of Art History, University of California, Los Angeles, 2018-2019

Art and Architecture of the Ancient Americas, with Dr. Stella Nair, Fall 2018
Modern Art, with Dr. George Baker, Winter 2019
Medieval Art, with Dr. Meredith Cohen, Spring 2019

Auxiliar de Conversación en España (English Teaching Assistant), Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, IES Villa de Vallecas, Madrid, Spain, 2014-15

Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship
The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, 2021-23

RSA-Samuel H. Kress Fellowship in Renaissance Art History
Renaissance Society of America, 2021

Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Fellowship
U.S. Department of Education & COMEXUS, 2020-21 (declined due to COVID-19)

Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF)
Social Sciences Research Council, 2020-21

CCL/Mellon Foundation Seminar in Curatorial Practice (Funded Participant)
Center for Curatorial Leadership, 2020

Helen Watson Buckner Memorial Fellowship
John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, 2020

Fulbright IIE García-Robles
U.S. Department of Education & COMEXUS, 2020 (declined)

Bancroft Library Summer Study Fellowship
Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2019

Edilia and François-Auguste de Montêquin Junior Scholar Fellowship in Iberian and Latin American Architecture
Society of Architectural Historians, 2019

Summer Institute for Technical Studies in Art (Funded Participant)
Harvard Art Museum & Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University, 2018

Graduate Research Mentorship Academic Year Fellowship
Graduate Division, UCLA, 2017 – 18

Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Fellowship
Graduate Division, UCLA, 2017 & 2018

Graduate Fellowship
Fundación AMA, Santiago, Chile, 2017

Mellon Summer Graduate Research Fellowship
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2016

Title VI Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Academic Year Fellowship
U.S. Department of Education & IDIEZ, 2015-16

Eugene V. Cota-Robles Diversity Fellowship
Graduate Division, UCLA, 2015-16

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Distinction
Dean’s Office, UCLA, 2015 & 2017

Huntington Travel Grant for Study Abroad
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, 2021

Patricia McCarron McGinn Memorial Award
Department of Art History, University of California, Los Angeles, 2020

First Place Award for Best Paper
44th Annual Cleveland Art History Symposium
Cleveland Art Museum and Case Western Reserve University, 2018

Tinker Field Research Grant
Latin American Institute, UCLA, 2018

Early Modern Summer Mentorship Award
Center for 17th– & 18th-Century Studies, UCLA, 2018

Ralph C. Altman Award
Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, CA, 2018

Mellon Foundation Field Research Grant
Latin American Institute, UCLA, 2016

Art Council Endowed Scholarship in Art History
Department of Art History, UCLA, 2016

“Poner cosas en orden: Categorías coloniales, manufactura y religión nahua.” In XLV Coloquio internacional de historia del arte. Espistemologías situadas. México, D.F.: Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Accepted.

“Stony Bundles and Precious Wrappings: The Making of Patio Crosses in Sixteenth-Century New Spain.” In Conversion Machines in Early Modern Europe: Apparatus, Artifice, Body, edited by Bronwen Wilson and Paul Yachnin. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press. Forthcoming 2022.

“Toward a Decolonial Future: Relationality and Digital Scholarship.” Backdirt: Annual Review 48 (February 2022): 68-75.

“Thinking with History: Sixteenth-Century Epidemics and Colonial Legacies in the Americas.” Backdirt: Annual Review 47 (February 2021): 30-37.

8 catalog entries: “Maize, Rain, and Harvest in Greater Mesoamerica,” “Creatures of the Sky,” “Creatures of the Earth,” “Creatures of the Water,” “Animals in Olmec Art,” “Ballgame among the Maya and across Mesoamerica,” “Altered States: Tobacco and Hallucinogens,” and “Offerings.” In Forces of Nature: Ancient Maya Art from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (自然的力量——洛杉矶郡艺术博物馆藏古代玛雅艺术品), edited by Megan E. O’Neil. Beijing: Cultural Relics Press, 2018. Exhibition catalogue.  

Book review of Afro-Caribbean Religious Arts: Popular Expression of Cultural Inheritance in Espiritismo and Santería, by Kristine Juncker. African Arts 50, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 93-4.

“Toward a Softer Núcleo: The Malleability of Nahua Religious Making.” Indigenous Agency and Continuity in Colonial and Modern Latin America Panel. American Society of Ethnohistory Conference, Lawrence, KS. September 2022.

“Tenochtitlan’s Calmecac and the Architectonics of Religious Learning.” Open Session Panel. Organized by Diane Shaw. Society for Architectural Historians Conference, Pittsburgh, PA. April 2022.

“Tlamacazqueh y el arte de la manufactura religiosa en el mundo nahua.” Mesa 4: Pedagogía de técnicas culturales. XLV Coloquio Internacional de Historia del Arte: Espistemologías situadas. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, México, D.F. October 2021.

“Where They Bud, Where They Blossom: Life and Learning at the Calmecac of Tenochtitlan.” 4th Annual Nahuatl Conference, University of California, Los Angeles. June 2021.

“Through Tlamacazqueh Eyes: Religious Art and Architecture in the Mexica and Transatlantic Worlds.” Fowler Art Museum, University of California, Los Angeles. September 2019.

“Bundled Metaphors: Carving and Experiencing Patio Crosses in Sixteenth-Century New Spain.” American Art History Graduate Student Symposium, Yale University. April 2019.

“Coming into Contact? Spatial Experiences of Patio Crosses in Sixteenth-Century New Spain.” 44th Annual Cleveland Symposium, Cleveland Museum of Art. October 2018. *Recipient of Best Paper Award.

“Mediators of Life and Death: Sculpted Bodies from the Central Cauca Valley.” Graduate Student Symposium, Department of Art History, University of Southern California. October 2017.

Dutch (advanced)
French (advanced)
German (advanced)
Italian (advanced)
Latin (reading knowledge)
Nahuatl, Huasteca & Classical (advanced)
Portuguese (intermediate)
Spanish (advanced)
Yucatec Maya (intermediate)