Maria Makela is a historian who specializes in the visual culture of modern Germany.
Author of The Munich Secession: Art and Artists in Turn-of-the-Century Munich (Princeton, 1990) and coeditor of Of Truths Impossible to Put in Words: Max Beckmann Contextualized (Peter Lang, 2009), she cocurated for the Walker Art Center a major retrospective on Hannah Höch in 1996 and coauthored the accompanying catalog, The Photomontages of Hannah Höch (Walker Art Center, 1996). The widely reviewed exhibition subsequently traveled to the Museum of Modern Art and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Her essays on individual artists (Lovis Corinth, Hannah Höch, Edvard Munch, Egon Schiele) and on topics as diverse as fashion, rayon, New Objectivity, Dada, Expressionism, film, nationalism, and typology have been published in numerous exhibition catalogues, anthologies, and periodicals both nationally and internationally.
Makela also lectures widely on her work, much of which has been focused on gender and sexuality in visual culture. Her current book project is about the perceived blurring of sexual, gender, ethnic, class, age, and national identity in Weimar Germany, and how this manifested itself in the visual and literary culture of the era.
Makela is the recipient of many awards, including an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship, an American Philosophical Society Grant, a Fulbright, a DAAD Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant.
She is a member of College Art Association, the Historians of German and Central European Art and Architecture, and the German Studies Association.