Victoria C. Gardner Coates' forth coming book "David's Sling: A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art" will examine the intersection of the fine arts and free systems of government in the Western tradition. The goal is to learn from history as we try to foster democracy today. Objects addressed in David's Sling include the Parthenon, Michelangelo's David, Rembrandt's Night Watch, the Elgin Marbles and Picasso's Guernica. Supported by a research fellowship grant from the Earhart Foundation, the projected publication date of the book is November, 2014.
Dr. Coates received her Ph.D. from The University of Pennsylvania specializing in Italian renaissance studies. She regularly contributes to conferences and symposia in the United States and Europe. Her work has appeared in The Sixteenth-Century Journal, Gazette des Beaux-Arts and Renaissance Studies. Dr. Coates co-edited the 2007 volume Antiquity Recovered: The Legacy of Pompeii and Herculaneum. She was also co-curator and catalog author for the exhibition The Last Days of Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection, which opened in 2012 at the Getty Villa in Malibu before travelling to the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2013.
Dr. Coates is currently a senior advisor for national security policy at the United States Senate. She previously served as Director of Research for former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. In this capacity, she provided editorial support and content analysis for Mr. Rumsfeld's New York Times best-selling memoir Known and Unknown. Dr. Coates also managed the release of primary documents from Mr. Rumsfeld's private papers on the website www.rumsfeld.com, prompting the Wall Street Journal to praise the project as "the first political memoir of the Information Age."
Dr Coates lives in Philadelphia with her husband, two children and two dogs.