ABOUT THE FELLOW
Susan Morgan has written extensively about art, design, and cultural biography. Her work has been featured in specialist journals and mainstream magazines—publications as diverse as the Archives of American Art Journal, World of Interiors, O: the Oprah Magazine, and the New York Times—as well as in exhibition catalogues, artist monographs and anthologies. Morgan has also conducted numerous interviews for books, magazines, and oral history projects and her interview subjects have ranged from Vija Celmins to Gore Vidal, Johnny Depp to Frank O. Gehry. While working as a research assistant to editor/writer George Plimpton, she served as lead researcher and interviewer on Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances, and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career (Doubleday, 1997); following Plimpton’s death, she was part of the collective team of editors and writers who contributed to George Being George (Random House, 2008).
With artist Thomas Lawson, Morgan co-founded and coedited REAL LIFE Magazine, an alternative art publication produced in New York throughout the 1980s. A former contributing editor at Interview, Mirabella, Elle, and Metropolitan Home, Morgan now serves as a contributing editor for the photography quarterly Aperture and East of Borneo, a collaborative online magazine of contemporary art, and its history, as considered from Los Angeles.
Morgan’s on-going project about Esther McCoy (19041989), the writer and social critic widely recognized for putting West Coast modern architecture on the map, has received support from the Graham Foundation for the Advancement of Art and Architecture, the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. With Kimberli Meyer, Director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House, she co-curated Sympathetic Seeing (2011), a critically-acclaimed exhibition about McCoy’s remarkable life and groundbreaking work. Morgan also edited and introduced Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader (2012) the first anthology of McCoy’s seminal writing about the progressive edge of the American 20th century.
Morgan’s research and writing have long focused on women artists and writers, 20th century modernism, photography, the built environment, and the American West. She has been an Ansel Adams Fellow at the Center for Creative Photograph (1999), Fletcher Jones Foundation Fellow at the Huntington Library (2000), Research Fellow, Provisions Library, Washington DC, and a Research Scholar at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center (2014).
As a scholar in residence at the Women’s International Study Center, Morgan is at work on a project about writer Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant. Born and raised in New England, Sergeant (1881-1965) belongs to a generation of under-considered radical women whose innovative work was deeply informed by feminism and the American West. A 1903 graduate of Bryn Mawr, she lived in New Mexico during the 1920s and ’30s. Throughout her life, Sergeant worked as a war correspondent, a social activist, advocate for Native American rights, literary journalist, and biographer. Morgan’s current work considers two of Sergeant’s New Mexican projects: her four part article, “The Journal of a Mud House” published in Harper’s Monthly Magazine(1922) and the unpublished Pueblo Wildflower Book (1935), a collaboration with anthropologist Edward Dozier, artist Cypriano Herrera, Dr. Marion Shevky, and elders from the Santa Clara Pueblo.