JoAnne Mancini Receives Eighth Annual Frost Essay Award

April 24, 2012
News Release

The editorial board of American Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s scholarly journal, awarded the 2011 Patricia and Phillip Frost Essay Award to JoAnne Mancini, an interdisciplinary historian of the United States and its colonial antecedents at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Her article, “Pedro Cambón’s Asian Objects: A Transpacific Approach to 18th-Century California,” appeared in the spring 2011 issue (vol. 25, no. 1).

“The Smithsonian American Art Museum has a long history of encouraging new research and fresh ideas through awards, our robust fellowship program and publications such as the American Art journal,” said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “I am delighted that the 2011 Frost Essay Award goes to JoAnne Mancini for her excellent essay about the Franciscan missionary Pedro Cambón, which investigates a rarely examined subject area, the visual and material culture of 18th-century California.”

The 2011 jurors were Michael Leja, professor of art history at the University of Pennsylvania; Jennifer L. Roberts, professor of the history of art and architecture at Harvard University; and Sylvia Yount, chief curator and Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator of American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

The jurors wrote, “Mancini’s emphasis on cross-cultural exchange and hybridity—lucidly argued with a refreshingly original methodology—resonates with the increasing global dimensions and concerns of the academy and the museum. An ambitious cultural remapping of colonial North America, the essay demonstrates that 18th-century cultural globalism was not limited to the Atlantic world. Mancini’s revelatory essay opens vast new terrain for cross-cultural investigations in the fields of art history and visual culture.”

Mancini’s publications include Pre-Modernism: Art-World Change and American Culture from the Civil War to the Armory Show (Princeton University Press, 2005), which was awarded the museum’s Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in American Art in 2008, and articles in American Quarterly, American Literary History, Critical Inquiry, Winterthur Portfolio and other journals. Research for her award-winning essay was supported by the Getty Research Institute, where she was a Getty Scholar (2006-2007). She is currently writing a book titled Art and War in the Pacific World.

The Frost Essay Award, established in 2004, recognizes excellent scholarship in the field of American art history by honoring an essay that advances the understanding of the history of the arts in America and demonstrates original research and fresh ideas. The $1,000 award is presented annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American Art. Each year, a jury of three members of the journal’s editorial board selects the winner from articles, interviews and commentaries published in the journal during the previous calendar year. Funding for the award is made possible by the generous contribution of the Patricia and Phillip Frost Endowment.

American Art is part of the museum’s active publications program, which includes books and exhibition catalogs. It is produced by the museum’s Research and Scholars Center, which also administers fellowships for pre- and postdoctoral scholars and offers unparalleled research databases and extensive photographic collections documenting American art and artists. The journal is published for the museum by the University of Chicago Press.

Information about subscribing, purchasing single issues or submitting articles to the journal is available at A complete list of past Frost Essay Award winners and additional information about the award is available at

About the Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum celebrates the vision and creativity of Americans with artworks in all media spanning more than three centuries. Its National Historic Landmark building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station. Museum hours are 11:30 a.m. to7 p.m. daily, except Dec. 25. Admission is free. Follow the museum on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, ArtBabble, iTunes and YouTube. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Website:

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