Elizabeth Hutchinson is Associate Professor of North American art history at Barnard College/Columbia University in New York City where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on U.S. and indigenous North American art and visual culture and supervises BA and MA students in American Studies. She is the author of The Indian Craze: Primitivism, Modernism, and Transculturation in American Art, 1890-1915, which addresses the production and promotion of Native American art at institutions supported by government and social reform agencies who presented it as both modernist and anti-modern. The book uses objects, photographs and contemporary publications to plumb both the Anglo-American and the Native American experience of this "craze." As Hutchinson asserts, because of the way it was valued by mainstream viewers, Native art was one of the only aspects of "traditional" Native culture that was tolerated by a federal government committed to solving the "Indian problem" through assimilation.
Hutchinson is currently working on a book about Eadweard Muybridge’s photographs of the Pacific Coast of North America that examines pictures made for the United States government from a perspective that links the critical commitments of indigenous studies and ecocriticism. A piece of this project has recently appeared in Picturing, volume one of the Terra Foundation Essays series. She has also produced a number of shorter studies of late nineteenth-century landscape painting and photography that have appeared in the journals October, and American Art as well as in several exhibition catalogs.
In addition, Hutchinson is the author of several studies of portraits of Native diplomats made in the Early Republic that have sought to give legibility to the critical work done by indigenous artists to assert tribal identity and sovereignty within the historical frameworks of intercultural exchange. This work can be found in Winterthur Portfolio, British Journal of American Studies and the volume Global Trade and the Visual Arts in Federal New England, edited by Patricia Johnston and Caroline Frank.
Professor Hutchinson has enjoyed working closely with museums. She has contributed to exhibitions at the BYU Art Museum, the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Terra Foundation. In 2016, she curated an exhibition "Messages Across Time and Space: Inupiat Drawings from the 1890s at Columbia University," that was on view at the gallery at the Center for the Study for Ethnicity and Race. Hutchinson's research has been supported by several institutions including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Clark Art Institute, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and the American Council for Learned Societies.