James Merle Thomas

Contributor to Rauschenberg Research Project

James Merle Thomas is an art historian and curator based in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. He is currently the Chester Dale Predoctoral Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, and is completing his PhD in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University, where he focuses on modern and contemporary art. A study of the aesthetics, politics, and science of the Apollo era, his dissertation explores abstract art, experimental architecture, and radical design of the 1960s and 1970s avant-garde, as related to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Thomas was previously a Daniel C. Guggenheim Fellow at the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and is now preparing an exhibition about Robert Rauschenberg’s interests in NASA and spaceflight. Previously, Thomas was assistant curator of the Second Biennial of Contemporary Art of Seville (2005) and the Seventh Gwangju Biennale (2007).