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Anthony Meyer

art historian, ph.d.

anthony.joshua.meyer [at]

Anthony Meyer holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a specialization in the Indigenous Americas. His research, broadly speaking, explores the crossroads between Nahua art, language, and religion in the Mexica Empire (1325 – 1521 CE) and colonial New Spain. From 2023 to 2024, Meyer will be a Fellow in Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collection, an institute of Harvard University.

As an emerging scholar, Meyer has participated in several international and interdisciplinary research projects, including Early Modern Conversions and Making Worlds. While at UCLA, he also organized the Indigenous Material and Visual Culture of the Americas (IMVCA) working group and coordinated the Architecture Lab at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. At present, he serves on both the Strategic Planning Committee with the Society for Architectural Historians and the Editorial Board with the College Art Association.

Ph.D. in Art History, 2023
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

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

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

Thesis: “Repositioning the Middle: Movement, Sculpture, and the Body in the Central Cauca Valley (1000-1400 C.E.)

Thesis (with highest honors & distinction): “Housed Within: a museum display and investigation of a Classic Maya household at K’axob”

Meyer’s research has spanned time and space in the Indigenous Americas. He has conducted projects on ceramic vessels among the Classic Maya (600 – 900 CE), clay sculpture in the northern Andes (1000 – 1400 CE), sacred art in the Mexica Empire and colonial New Spain, the reception of Nahua art and religion in sixteenth-century Europe, and contemporary Mapuche artists in Chile. Beyond these projects, his interests include semiotics and linguistic relativity, synesthesia and embodied experience, transatlantic exchange, and the materiality of religions. For his research, he has received support from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Dumbarton Oaks, 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.

His current book project, The Givers of Things: Religious Leaders and Sacred Making in the Nahua World, examines how religious leaders known as tlamacazqueh, or “the givers of things,” used artistic skill and knowledge to make and animate sacred works in the Mexica Empire and New Spain. As Meyer argues, these skills fell under a Nahua concept of artistry called tōltēcayōtl, and his manuscript focuses on seven skills that leaders mastered. He explores how they carried (māmā) studied (īxtlamachtiā), cut (tequi), placed (tlāliā), arranged (huīpāna), joined (nepanoā), and wrapped (ilpiā, quimiloā) sacred artworks from materials such as sap, amaranth, bark, flint, shell, and plant fibers. Through such activities, both religious leaders and their artworks exchanged sacred energies by way of sight, touch, heat, and breath. In exploring these exchanges, his manuscript sheds light on how beings—both human and other-than-human—were connected through making and how these relationships generated sacredness. Meyer also bridges Iberian invasion to account for Nahua views of their world as uninterrupted, tracing how religious leaders continued and adapted these activities alongside Africans and Europeans in the transatlantic world of New Spain. In an effort to push scholarship in a new direction, one that includes contemporary Indigenous voices in the study of their ancestral arts, The Givers of Things also incorporates interviews that Meyer conducted with Nahua religious leaders in Veracruz, Mexico to critique European perspectives in the colonial archive and spotlight the legacy of Nahua art and religion.

Participant, NEH Summer Institute for Higher Education Faculty, “Global Geographies of Knowledge: Creating, Representing, and Commodifying Ideas Across Early Modern Places (1400-1800),” Saint Louis University, 2023

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

Visiting Research Fellowship
University of Glasgow Library, 2024

Fellowship in Pre-Columbian Studies
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collection, Harvard University , 2023-24

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 Residential 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

Membership Grant for Emerging Professionals
Society for Architectural Historians, 2024

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, 76-109. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press, 2023.

“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 section essays: “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.

“Tōltēcayōtl and the Art of Art History.” Emerging Scholar Lecture Series. Department of History of Art, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. 27 September 2024.

“To Stretch the Heart: The Flexible Contours of Confession in the Indigenous Church of New Spain.” Rethinking Confession Conference. Research Network on Europe’s Short Peace (c. 1595-1620). Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. 12 April 2014.

“Stretched and Layered: Indigenous Knowledge and Fig Bark in Sixteenth-Century Europe.” 21st-Century Plant Humanities and the Global Renaissance Panel. Renaissance Society of America Conference, Chicago, IL. Orgs. Fabien Montcher and Guillermo Pupo Pernet. 22 March 2024.

“Flesh Made Wet: Seeded Bodies and Gendered Making in Nahua Religion.” Gendered Spaces and Embodiments in Ancient and Colonial Latin America Panel. College Art Association Conference, Chicago, IL. Orgs. Lori Boornazian Diel and James Córdova. 15 February 2024.

“In Tlamacazqueh, In Tlenamacaqueh: Refiguring the Mexica Priesthood.” Public lecture for the Pre-Columbian Society of Washington, D.C. 2 February 2024.

“The Art of Carrying: Religious Origins and Sacred Flows in the Nahua World.” Research Report. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collection, Washington, D.C. 27 November 2023. 

“A World Made Known: The Mexica Calmecac and its Pedagogic Landscapes.” Buell Dissertation Colloquium. The Temple Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, Columbia University, New York, NY. 29 April 2023.

“The Generative Cut: Flint Knives and Religious Leaders in the Mexica World.” Objects that Remember the Past Panel. College Art Association Conference, New York, NY. February 2023.

“Sticky Flesh, Folded Skin: The Animate Making of Nahua Religious Leaders.” Shoptalk Presentation. The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. Washington, D.C. December 2022.

“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.

“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)
Nahuatl, Huasteca & Classical (advanced)
Portuguese (intermediate)
Spanish (advanced)
Yucatec Maya (intermediate)