William T. Gassaway is in his third year of the PhD program in art history and archaeology at Columbia University in New York, focusing on the arts of ancient Latin America. While completing his BA in art history at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque in 2006, he participated in a five-week field school in Copán, Honduras, where he began researching Late Classic architectural ornament and contemporary tourist souvenirs from across the region.
Gassaway began working with Columbia professor Esther Pasztory in 2008. A year later, he wrote his master’s thesis, “Tourist Art from Copán Ruínas: Problems Concerning the ‘New’ Ruins,” which examines the manipulation, miniaturization, and commodification of Maya artifacts. Most recently, his work has focused on representations of the body in Central Mexican sculpture, images and traditions of human sacrifice, and the phenomenological experience of Pre-Columbian art. In his free time, Gassaway likes to draw and paint, ride his yellow bicycle, and read about butlers and bees.