Jesse Lockard studies 20th-century art and architecture, with special interests in visual rhetoric and image transmission in the historiography of material culture. Her dissertation, titled “From the Ground Up: Yona Friedman and the Postwar Reimagining of Architecture,” examines the work of the French-Hungarian architect Yona Friedman, theorizing the ethics and internationalist politics of housing and mobility in the postwar era. It considers a broad range of fields, sites, and mediums—from urban planning in the postwar Middle East, to animation and comics in 1960s’ France, to the early development of computer aided design in the United States. Lockard’s work on Friedman has been supported by the Graham Foundation's Carter Manny Award for Research, a CLIR Mellon Dissertation Fellowship in the Humanities in Original Sources, and a Schiff Foundation Critical Architectural Writing Fellowship.
Additionally, Lockard works on the historiography of art history, researching the development of formalism and the role of architectural theory in the formation of the discipline. She has published an article on the lost visual ekphrasis of Alois Riegl in History of Photography (2016), criticism in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (2017), and has contributed to Empires of Faith, the British Museum/Oxford University global research project on the historiographies of image and religion in late antiquity (co-authored chapter with Jaś Elsner accepted by Cambridge University Press).