Matthew Johnston

Associate Professor of Art History

Fields Center 208, MSC: 92
Office Hours:

MW 12:30-2:00pm

Matt Johnston studies modern visual culture, in particular the nineteenth century and popular media such as photography and print. A focus in his work is exploring how print publications in many discourses used landscape images to motivate the expansion and development of the United States. In an era before film, such publications relied on inventive, sometimes pre-cinematic orchestrations of viewing and reading practices in order to make their ideological intentions more convincing and compelling. Other scholarly interests include changing relationships between “high art” and popular media and the role of visual representations in the development of sciences such as geology and ethnology. Matt also serves on the board of trustees of the Maryhill Museum of Art, Goldendale, WA.

Academic Credentials

PhD 2004, MA 1994 University of Chicago, BA 1992 Yale University


Core 106, 107 Exploration and Discovery

Art 100 Key Monuments and Ideas in the History of Art

Art 201 Modern European Art

Art 207 Pre-Columbian Art

Art 303 Realism, Photography, and Print Culture in the 19th Century

Art 319 Modern Architecture

Art 401 Art After 1945


  • “Constructions of Native Spirituality in Adolph Bandelier’s Ethnological Research in the Southwest,” De/Colonización en las Américas: Cambios y continuidades / De/Colonization in the Americas: Continuity and Change (International Association of Inter-American Studies, 2020)

  • “Inventing a National Past: Archaeological Investigation of the Southwest after the US-Mexican War,” Inventing Destiny: Cultural Explorations of US Expansion (University Press of Kansas, 2019)

  • Narrating the Landscape: Print Culture and American Expansion in the Nineteenth Century (Oklahoma University Press, 2016)

  • “Pre-Columbian civilisation as cultural patrimony: archaeology and nationalism at the world’s fairs,” Civilisation and Nineteenth-Century Art (Manchester University Press, 2016) 
  • “Hamlin Garland’s Detour into Art Criticism: Forecasting the Triumph of Popular Culture over Populism at the End of the Frontier,” The Journal of American Culture 34:4 (December 2011)
  • “National Spectacle from the Boat and the Train: Molding Perceptions of History in American Scenic Guides of the Nineteenth Century,” University of Toronto Quarterly 73:4 (Fall 2004)

Location: Fields Hall