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Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Teaching Fellowship

Established in 1986, the Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Teaching Fellowship promotes the exhibition and acquisition of contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum, as well as the teaching of contemporary art principles in the Sam Fox School. The fellowship centers around two core components: teaching in the Graduate School of Art and producing work for a solo exhibition for the museum’s Currents series.

2021-22 Freund Teaching Fellow: Meleko Mokgosi

By working across history painting, cinematic tropes, psychoanalysis, and post-colonial theory, artist Meleko Mokgosi creates large-scale, project-based installations that interrogate narrative tropes and the fundamental models for the inscription and transmission of history. He is an associate professor and co-director of graduate studies at the Yale School of Art, and co-director of the Interdisciplinary Art and Theory Program.

Past Freund Teaching Fellows
Jess T. Dugan (2020-21)
Dana Levy (2019-20)
Dave Hullfish Bailey (2018-19)
Jennifer Bornstein (2017-18)
Shimon Attie (2016-17)
Andréa Stanislav (2015-16)
Mariam Ghani (2014-15)
Won Ju Lim (2013-14)
Renata Stih + Frieder Schnock (2012-13)
Chelsea Knight (2011-12)
Ian Monroe (2010-11)
Bruce Yonemoto (2009-10)
Claudia Schmacke (2008-09)
Sarah Oppenheimer (2007-08)
Angelina Gualdoni (2006-07)
Cameron Martin (2005-06)
Matthew Buckingham (2004-05)
Francis Cape (2003-04)
Ellen Gallagher (2002-03)
Catherine Opie (2000)
Phil Robinson (1998)
Michael Byron (1996)

Events & Exhibitions

Sep 18 at 11am • Zoom

St. Louis-based artist Jess T. Dugan, the 2020-21 Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Teaching Fellow, will deliver an online public lecture in conjunction with the opening of their Currents 120 exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum. The exhibition will be on view September 17, 2021 through February 20, 2022.

Dugan is known for their color photographs that explore the power of identity, desire, and connection. Currents 120 presents a selection of 20 recent works—portraits, self-portraits, and still lifes—many of which were created specifically for this exhibition. Within a framework of queer and nonbinary experience and from an actively constructed sense of masculinity, Dugan’s portraits examine intersections between individual identity and the search for intimate connection with others.

The photographs on display are part of Dugan’s ongoing project Every Breath We Drew, which began in 2011. The project is both outward looking and self-expressive, representing inclusive notions of gender and sexuality and examining intimate connection as a means of seeing oneself through the eyes of others. While Dugan’s work over the past decade has been made primarily in private, interior spaces, recent photographs also include St. Louis individuals and couples outdoors in natural environments. In a break from their earlier work, these portraits reveal a more expansive sense of space and a changed color palette while offering exploration of landscape.

Dugan uses medium-format cameras, natural light, and a slow working method to bridge traditional photographic practices with contemporary subjects. They draw influence from portrait painting, using light, color, gesture, and pose to imbue photographs with emotional and psychological intensity.

Currents 120: Jess T. Dugan is curated by Hannah Klemm, associate curator of modern and contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum; and Eric Lutz, associate curator of prints, drawings, and photographs; with Molly Moog, research assistant for modern and contemporary art.


The fellowship is supported by the Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Art Endowment Fund.