Elizabeth Brown is a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies. Her dissertation, titled The Voracious Appetite of Theaster Gates: Land, Books, Images, and Memorabilia, explores North American artist Theaster Gates and his non-profit ReBuild Foundation, established in 2010. Her dissertation examines the participatory, community-based work of Theaster Gates, whose urban planning and physical transformations of the built environment critically integrate the history of Chicago and its impact on Black cultural life. She also investigates the extension of Gates's Chicago-based studio practice in all media. Her adviser is Dr. Kristine Stiles, France Family Distinguished Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies.
She received her B.A. in Art History from Manhattanville College, New York. She completed her M.A. in Art History from Hunter College, New York. There she wrote her master’s thesis, titled Mike Kelley and Cady Noland, on the disorienting late eighties and early nineties installations of L.A.-based artist Mike Kelley (1954-2012) and New York-based artist Cady Noland. Her thesis focuses on the contradictions and hypocrisies of North American culture brought to light by their art. Before entering the doctoral program at Duke, she held positions at the Guggenheim Museum and The Studio Museum in Harlem in New York.