UMMA and U-M History of Art Department have selected Ph.D. candidate Sean Kramer as the Irving Stenn, Jr. Curatorial Fellow for the 2019-20 academic year. Endowed in 2014 by longtime UMMA supporter Irving Stenn, Jr. (BA ’52, JD ’55), this fellowship directly addresses key initiatives for UMMA in nurturing promising young scholars and exposing them to career paths in museum and curatorial work. Their work helps to ensure that UMMA's exhibitions and collections are deeply relevant to teaching and learning across the University and beyond. He will work closely with Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Curator for Modern and Contemporary Art Vera Grant, crafting an exhibition and assisting Grant on other projects.

Kramer received his B.A. and M.A. in art history from The University of Kansas before beginning the Ph.D. program at U-M. He is starting his sixth year, during which time he will continue to write his dissertation, “Martial Manhood: Picturing the Soldier in France and Britain, 1871-1914.”

His exhibition project at UMMA will focus on issues surrounding the visibility and censorship of LGBTQ+ bodies in art and visual culture and aims to foster dialogue across campus inspired by works from the museum’s permanent collection. 

Kramer is no stranger to museums or to UMMA. Since 2016, Kramer has worked as a curatorial intern in UMMA’s photography department, under the supervision of Assistant Curator of Photography Jennifer Friess. In that role, he helped research and plan several exhibitions and co-curated Aftermath: Landscapes of Devastation in 2017. Kramer assisted U-M Professor Howard Lay on the university’s Arts in Paris program this past summer, where he led undergraduate students in gallery focused discussions in nearly two-dozen of the city’s top museums and historic sites. While completing both his B.A. and M.A., he served in several capacities at KU’s Spencer Museum of Art, including the Andrew W. Mellon/Loo Family intern in European Art, an administrative assistant, the education department’s student assistant, and the president of the Spencer Student Advisory Board.  

“I’m very excited to serve as the Stenn Fellow this year and to have Vera Grant’s guidance on piloting my own exhibition,” Kramer said. “This experience will not only allow me to explore scholarship and express ideas on a subject close to my own heart but will also give me invaluable knowledge about curatorial practice and public engagement.”