PhD Candidate, Art History, University of California Los Angeles
Anthony J. Meyer is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he specializes in Indigenous arts of the Americas and the global Early Modern. Originally from the Carolinas, Meyer holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Archaeology with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he curated a thesis on Maya ceramics and their fraught portrayals in museums.
Meyer’s current research explores Nahua artistic and architectural production over the course of the Mexica empire (A.D. 1325 – 1521) through colonial New Spain and the wider Euro-Atlantic. His dissertation, “The Givers of Things: Nahua Religious Leaders and the Art of Making Gifts in the Mexica and Early Modern Worlds” confronts the colonial erasure of Nahua religious leaders (tlamacazque) by examining the material and spatial roles these key makers played in the Mexica and Early Modern worlds. Through linguistic, visual, material, and textual analysis, Meyer investigates how tlamacazque studied, transformed, and gifted religious objects, or “things,” such as painted censers, adorned knives, and sculpture made of paper, incense, and dough. In particular, he examines three artistic modes--cutting, molding, and wrapping--that religious leaders used to make and animate sacred gifts in the Mexica calmecac and Tenochtitlan precinct. Meyer also explores how tlamacazque knowledge and making were entwined with those of Indigenous, African, and European groups in New Spain following Iberian Invasion, as well as how these individuals and their objects transformed understandings of religious art and devotion in Spain and Italy.
For his graduate research, he has received fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the Fulbright Association, the Huntington Library, the John Carter Brown Library, the Renaissance Society of America, the Society for Architectural Historians, and the Social Science Research Council. From 2021 to 2023, he will continue to work on his dissertation as an Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.