Natilee Harren explores the role of experimental scores in postwar artistic movements.

Natilee Harren, associate professor of art history at the University of Houston, has been awarded a 2022 NEH-Mellon Fellowship for Digital Publication for her upcoming work on The Scores Project.

Jointly sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, NEH-Mellon Fellowships support scholars pursuing research projects that require digital expression and digital publication.

“I am deeply gratified to receive the support this project needs in order to move through the final stages of editing, design, and publication,” Harren said. “It is particularly gratifying to be supported by a federal program that honors the importance of the humanities for preserving and understanding human culture.”

The Scores Project is a multidisciplinary effort bringing together scholars of art history, musicology, and poetry. The project closely examines the emergence of experimental forms of musical notation in the postwar era and how they inspired new approaches to visual art, music, dance, poetry, and more.

Harren serves as the co-editor of The Scores Project, as well as one of its lead contributing authors. The final project will be a free, open-access, web-based, and media-rich digital publication that presents and analyzes a selection of post-WWII musical scores drawn from the holdings of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.

Harren is working closely with University of Minnesota musicologist Michael Gallope and Getty digital publications manager Greg Albers to bring the project to fruition over the coming academic year. Art historians and musicologists at Columbia University and Cornell University are also contributing to the project.

“This fellowship gives me the opportunity to focus my energies on the highly detailed, late-stage work of digital asset management, including copy editing, digital design, and user experience,” Harren said. “It also enables me to work with my collaborators on site at the Getty Research Institute, which will be crucial to the success of this project following a long period of separation due to the pandemic.”
Associate Professor, Natilee Harren

Harren said that The Scores Projects expands on ideas explored in her first book Fluxus Forms: Scores, Multiples, and the Eternal Network, an examination of an innovative group of artists that created their own genre of performance notation known as “event scores.”

“I wanted to bring their work into conversation with the many other figures who worked with scores in groundbreaking ways during this time period,” Harren said. “And I also wanted to collaborate with scholars in adjacent fields like musicology and poetry studies, who could help round out a far-reaching historical narrative about scores, while also bringing different methodological frameworks to the table.”
Associate Professor, Natilee Harren

Harren said she is excited to launch the project as a valuable resource to students, educators, scholars, and more.

“I can’t wait to see how scholars and students worldwide engage with this intellectually provocative material. The Scores Project will essentially be a free-to-use book, exhibition, and archive all in one. Teachers can use it to introduce their students to experimental performance notations, and scholars will be able to consult the primary materials and interpretive essays in order to produce new scholarship and offer counter arguments of their own,” Harren said.

“It holds the potential to catapult the conversation forward on multiple levels, and I am most excited simply to see what people do with it.”