Travis Nygard

Travis Nygard

Associate Professor of Art

[email protected]
Office: Rodman 135

  • Basic Information
  • Publications
  • Areas of Interest
  • Presentations

Basic Information


  • Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh
  • M.A.  University of Pittsburgh
  • B.A. Gustavus Adolphus College

Courses Taught


  • Global Art History: Ancient to Medieval
  • Global Art History: Renaissance to Today
  • Modern Art
  • Art Now
  • Art Fakes, Frauds and Heists
  • Colonial and Postcolonial Art in Africa, Asia and the Americas
  • Indigenous Art of the Americas
  • Visual Studies
  • Senior Seminar in Art


  • Art history, theory and criticism
  • Modern and contemporary art
  • Ancient Mayan art and archaeology

Personal website:


  • Nygard, Travis, Kaylee Spencer, and Linnea Wren. “Contemplating Carvings at the Feet of Queen Chaak Kab: Using Mixed Methodology to Understand Sculpture at Yo’okop.” In The Maya of the Cochuah Region: Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on the Northern Lowlands, edited by Justine Shaw, pages 57-76. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. 2015
  • Wren, Linnea and Travis Nygard. “The State of Research in the Cochuah Region of Quintana Roo.” In The Maya of the Cochuah Region: Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on the Northern Lowlands, edited by Justine Shaw, pages 23-38. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. 2015
  • Wren, Linnea, Travis Nygard, and Kaylee Spencer. “Establishing and Translating Maya Spaces at Tonina and Ocosingo: How Indigenous Portraits were Moved, Mutilated, and Made Christian in New Spain.” In Memory Traces: Analyzing Sacred Space at Five Mesoamerican Sites, edited by Laura Amrhein and Cynthia Kristan-Graham, pages 169-202. Boulder: University Press of Colorado. 2015
  • Travis Nygard and Vincent Tomasso. “Andy Warhol’s Alexander the Great: An Ancient Portrait for Alexander Iolas in a Postmodern Frame.” Classical Receptions Journal. 2015.
  • Nygaard, Travis, Wren, Linnea, Shaw, Justine (2015). “The Shifting Spatial Nexus of an Urban Maya Landscape: A Case Study of Architecture, Sculpture, and Ceramics at Yo'okop,” co-written chapter in Maya Imagery, Architecture, and Activity: Space and Spatial Analysis in Art History, edited by Kaylee Spencer and Maline Werness-Rude. University of New Mexico Press, 2015, 306-343.
  • Nygard, Travis. Review of Treasuring the Gaze: Intimate Vision in Late Eighteenth-Century Eye Miniatures by Hanneke Grootenboer.  Visual Studies. Vol 29. No. 1, (January 2014), page 119.  Also available online:
  • Nygard, Travis and Pamela H. Simpson. “Indians Playing Indian at the Midwestern Corn Palaces, 1892-2013.” Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) Review, 20013.
  • Nygard, Travis. Review of Antidiets of the Avant-Garde: From Futurist Cooking to Eat Art by Cecilia Novero by Cecilia Novero. Food, Culture, and Society: An International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research. Vol. 16. No. 2, (June 2013), pages 324-327.
  • Nygard, Travis. “Food and Art.” In Routledge International Handbook of Food Studies, edited by Ken Albala. London: Routledge.
  • Nygard, Travis.  Review of Chair by Anne Massey.  Visual Studies.  Available on the Taylor and Francis website as of February 6, 2012, and slated for printed publication:
  • Nygard, Travis.  “Reinterpreting the Life and Art of Grant Wood: A Review Essay.”  Review of Grant Wood: A Life by R. Tripp Evans.  Annals of Iowa, Vol. 70, No. 4 (Fall 2011), pages 358-67.
  • Nygard, Travis E. and Pamela H. Simpson. “Indians at the Corn Palaces: Race and Reception at Two Midwestern Festival Buildings.”  Buildings & Landscapes: Journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum.  Vol 17, No. 1, (2010) pages 35-52.
  • Nygard, Travis.  “Grant Wood and the Visual Culture of Agribusiness.” Athanor.  Vol 27, 2009, pages 79-85.
  • Nygard, Travis and Alec Sonsteby. “Castration.”  In The Cultural Encyclopedia of the Body, edited by Victoria Pitts, pages 502-507. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press (2008).

Areas of Interest

  • Modern and contemporary art
  • Visual culture
  • Maya and Mexican art
  • Portraiture
  • Food and farming


  • Nygard, Travis. "Beautiful Persuasion in Christian Texts: An Analysis of Imagery in the Moralized Ovid and Saint John's Bible Manuscripts." Midwest Conference on Christianity and Literature: Illuminating Words, Transforming Beauty. Spring Arbor University. February 19-20, 2016.
  • Nygard, Travis. "Can we Understand the Sexuality of Andy Warhol’s Alexander the Great?: Historical Fiction as Primary Documentation."  The Southeastern College Art Conference, Sarasota, FL, October 8-11, 2014.
  • Wren, Linnea, Kaylee Spencer, and Travis Nygard. “What do Art Historians Contribute to the Maya Picture?: Approaches to Understanding Maya Art.” “Beaker and Brush” series at the Science Museum of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN, June 8, 2013.
  • Wren, Linnea, Kaylee Spencer, and Travis Nygard. “To Face or to Flee from the Foe: Women in Warfare at Chichen Itza.”  The Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Memphis, TN, April 22, 2012.
  • Nygard, Travis.  “Was Grant Wood a Feminist? Rethinking the Murals.”  Symposium “Celebrating Grant Wood” at the University of Iowa, April 14, 2012.
  • Bender, Lisa, Gursimran Walia, Krishna Kambhampaty, Kendall E.  Nygard, and Travis Nygard.  “Social Sensitivity and Classroom Team Projects: An Empirical Investigation,” presented at the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) conference, Raleigh, North Carolina, February 29 – March 3, 2012.
  • Nygard, Travis, Kaylee Spencer, Linnea Wren, and Amanda Hankerson.  “Sculptural Mutilation at Palenque and Tonina: Rethinking the Evidence.”  The Southeastern College Art Conference. Savannah, Georgia, November 10, 2011.
  • Nygard, Travis. “Grasshoppers and the Damnation of Memory in a Farming Community: The Story of Two Destroyed Sculptures.” The Joint 2011 Annual Meetings of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS), Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS), & Society for Anthropology of Food and Nutrition, held in Missoula, Montana, June 10, 2011.
  • Nygard Travis and Linnea Wren.  “Bridging Archaeological and Art Historical Methodologies in the Cochuah Region of Mexico: A Study of Space at the Maya Site Yo’okop.”  2011 Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.  Sacramento, California, April 1, 2011