Kristen Windmuller-Luna is the Collections Research Specialist in African Arts at the Princeton University Art Museum, where she is responsible for increasing core knowledge of the collection. Trained in all periods of African art and architectural history, she specializes in the early modern period, with a focus on Christian Ethiopian. Her research centers on cross-cultural exchange, early globalization, transcultural art, and the depiction of non-Western cultures in museums and popular media.
In September 2016, she successfully defended her dissertation Building Faith: Ethiopian Art and Architecture during the Jesuit Interlude, 1557-1632. Based on research conducted in Ethiopia, Italy, and Portugal, the project considers the relationship between Roman Catholic and Ethiopian Orthodox art and architecture in early modern Ethiopia. She is currently at work on several new projects, including a revision of her dissertation and a project on the links between Ethiopian Orthodox painting and the global textile trade. She is also completing an article on the relationship between foreign design, native labor, and local agency in early modern Christian Ethiopian architecture.
Kristen has presented papers on African art and architecture and related topics at conferences and scholarly events held in the United States, Europe, and Africa, in addition to giving frequent gallery talks at museums in the New York metropolitan area. She was the organizer of the Department of Art and Archaeology’s 2012 graduate student conference “The End of the –ist and the Future of Art History.”
Previously, she has worked at several art museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2015-2016 Sylvan C. Coleman and Pam Coleman Fellow), the Princeton University Art Museum (Mellon Research Assistant and McCrindle Intern), the Neuberger Museum of Art, and the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation, where she curated the 2012 exhibition Life in Miniature: Asante Goldweights and African Sculpture from the Collection of the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation. Kristen recently appeared in the 2017 PBS series Africa’s Great Civilizations, and lectures on African arts regularly at the Met.
Kristen received her PhD and MA from Princeton University, and a BA in the History of Art from Yale University.
“Blueprints for the future? Negotiating Contemporary African Architectures at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Denmark),” Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art 40 (May 2017).
“Metropolitan Sketchbook: A Fellow’s Year in Drawings,” Now at the Met blog (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, March 30, 2017).
“Giulio Romano’s The Little Holy Family in Africa: Identifying an 18th-Century Ethiopian Painting,” Journal 18: a journal of eighteenth-century art and culture (December 2016).
“The Kingdom of Kongo” catalogue essay contributor with John Thornton, in Kongo: Power and Majesty (New Haven: Yale University Press/The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015).
“Guerra com a lingoa: Book Culture and Biblioclasm in the Ethiopian Jesuit Mission,” Journal of Jesuit Studies 2.2 (2015).
“Uche Okeke: Works on Paper, 1958–1993 (Review),” Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies (UCLA) 38: 2 (2015).
“The Rock-hewn Churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia;” “Monumental Architecture and Stelae of the Aksumite Empire;” and “Ethiopian Healing Scrolls,” Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014-2015).
“Royal Treasures of the Asante Court,” Princeton University Art Museum Magazine (Summer 2014).
“A Nigerian Song Literatus: Chinese Literati Painting Concepts from the Song Dynasty in the Contemporary Art of Obiora Udechukwu,” Rutgers Art Review 29 (2013).
Life in Miniature: Asante Goldweights and African Sculpture from the Collection of the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation (Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation, 2012).