Abigail McEwen specializes in the history of modern and contemporary Latin American art. Her areas of research and teaching interest span the modern Americas, with an emphasis on the art of twentieth-century Cuba and Puerto Rico, the transnational history of abstraction, and the postwar avant-garde. She received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University in 2010 and joined the faculty at the University of Maryland that year. She is an affiliated faculty member of the Latin American Studies Center.
Her book Revolutionary Horizons: Art and Polemics in 1950s Cuba (Yale University Press, 2016) describes the visual strategies and political purchase of Havana’s vanguardia during the Batista dictatorship. This project has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Dedalus Foundation, and the Graduate School at the University of Maryland. She is now beginning research on a new book, titled Excentric Bodies: Exodus and Erotics in Post-Revolutionary Cuban Art, which considers a range of psychic and emotional responsiveness in art produced both in exile and on the island during the 1960s and 1970s. McEwen’s writings have appeared in numerous exhibition catalogues and in such publications as American Art, Art Nexus, caareviews.org, and Revista Hispánica Moderna. As a curator, McEwen has collaborated with the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C. on two exhibitions: Constellations: Constructivism, Internationalism, and the Inter-American Avant-Garde (2012), funded in part by a grant from the Latin American Studies Association and the Ford Foundation; and Streams of Being: Selections from the Art Museum of the Americas (2015), organized with The Art Gallery on campus.
Recent course offerings include Modern Latin American Art to 1945, Transatlantic Dialogues in Modern Latin American Art, American Abstractions: Art and the Cold War, and Contemporary Latin American and Latino Art. She regularly teaches an introductory survey of modern art across the Americas, which approaches the history of artistic movements and ideas in the United States and Latin America from a hemispheric and intercultural perspective.