American Studies
American Studies

Natalie Zelt

Doctoral Student
Natalie Zelt



contemporary art of the United States, photography and its histories, critical race and gender studies, American cultural history, visual culture studies, material culture studies, curatorial practice


Natalie Zelt is a doctoral student in American Studies at at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses contemporary art of the United States with an emphasis on photography and identity formation.

She is a curator with INGZ, a collective committed to using curatorial practice as a platform from which to rethink the intersections of race, gender, class, and representation in art and beyond. She was awarded a curatorial fellowship in Photography at the Harry Ransom Humanities Center for 2015-16 and worked in Public Services at the HRC from 2013-2015. She also served as the curatorial assistant for photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where she co­authored and co­curated, War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath which was awarded the 2012 Kraszna­ Krausz “Best Photography Book” by Sony’s World Photography Awards.

She completed her Master's Degree at the University of Texas in American Studies with the report entitled "Documenting against erasure : deindustrialization and the camera in the work of LaToya Ruby Frazier" and her B.A. at the George Washington University in American Studies with a minor in the History of Art.


Sampling, with INGZ collective. Featuring performances by Tameka Norris, Kenya (Robinson), Brontez Purnell and the Younger Lovers at the University of Texas at Austin, March 31-April 2, 2016.

LaToya Ruby Frazier: Riveted, with INGZ Curatorial Collective, University of Texas, Visual Arts Center, November 7 - December 6, 2014; Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, January 15, 2015- May 4, 2015.

See Food: Contemporary Photography and the Ways We Eat, Houston Center for Photography, Nov. 22, 2013- Jan. 12, 2014.

WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Annenberg Center for Photography; the Corcoran Gallery of Art; Brooklyn Museum, November 2012 – January 2014.

"Bumping into Eachother in Ordinary Places," in Geolocation: Nate Larson + Marni Shindelman. Albuquerque, NM:Flashpowder Projects, 2016.

“Encounters in the Desert: Photography and the Landscape of World War II,” in Matthew Arnold: Topography is Fate—North African Battlefields of World War II. Heidelberg: Keher Verlag, 2013.

WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012. Co-authored with Anne Wilkes Tucker and Will Michels.


AMS 311S • The Selfie Stick: Art In Us

31025 • Spring 2019
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM BUR 436A

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AMS 311S • The Selfie Stick: Art In Us

31099 • Fall 2018
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM BUR 436A

Self-portraits changed the way we see in the United States as millions of people have chosen to turn the camera around and picture themselves. What are the stakes and histories of rotating the camera lens?  How have artists used the camera and photographs to highlight and challenge the politics of identity in US culture during the last four decades? Are selfies anything new?

In this undergraduate seminar we will consider self-portraiture and the photograph from a different cultural vantage point each week.  Paying close attention to the politics of the camera in relationship to representation, students will examine the myriad ways artists in the United States have used the camera and pictures in an effort to depict and sometimes to define themselves. This class is not a comprehensive history, rather a litany of jumping off points and positions from which students might begin to grapple with the intersections of self-making, identity formation, art and culture of the United States. Students will consider artwork concerning a range of themes such as the construction of race and gender, nationalism, intersectionality, narcissism, documentary practice, feminism and performance.  Artists studied will include, Laura Aguilar, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Nikki S. Lee, James Luna, Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, Carrie Mae Weems, Hannah Wilke, and Kim Kardashian.

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