Modern/Contemporary Art and Archaeology Program


The modern/contemporary program investigates the dynamic role played by art and visual culture in the transformations of the world since the late 18th century. The program is global in scope, covering not only the traditional metropolitan centers of modernism in Europe but also the outposts and countercurrents in the United States, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Our faculty explore art at the intersections of disparate or clashing groups-between aboriginal and settler cultures, exiles and host nations, racially privileged groups and their others. With the additions of Terry Smith, Okwui Enwezor, and Gao Minglu, the program now has deep strength in the art of contemporaneity in all its contradictions and disparities, which have become even more painfully visible since 9.11.01. Supported by a strong, interdisciplinary Cultural Studies Program and university-wide area studies programs for East Asia, Latin America, Russia and Eastern Europe, and Western Europe, the modern/contemporary program also capitalizes on the diverse strengths of a leading research university.

Modern/Contemporary Art and Archaeology faculty

Graduate faculty

*Indicates faculty who are eligible to supervise PhD students

*Gao Minglu
Contemporary Chinese art
Recent Publication: The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art

*Barbara McCloskey
20th-century German art; Exiles
Recent Publication: Artists in World War II

*Kirk Savage
19th- and 20th-century U.S. art; Public Monuments
Work in progress: Monument Wars: The Changing Memorial Landscape of Washington, D.C.

*Terry Smith
Contemporary Art and Architecture; Aboriginal/Australian Art
Works in progress: What Is Contemporary Art?; spectacle.architecture.iconomy.9.11.01
In press: The Architecture of Aftermath

Emeritus faculty

Aaron Sheon
Professor Emeritus, 19th-Century French art

Contributing faculty

Gretchen Bender
19th-Century German art

Josienne Piller
Museum Practice and Theory

*Frank Toker
Pittsburgh Architecture; Frank Lloyd Wright
Recent Publications: Fallingwater Rising: Frank Lloyd Wright, E.J. Kaufmann, and America's Most Extraordinary House (Knopf)
Forthcoming Book: Buildings of Pittsburgh (Society of Architectural Historians and Center for American Places, April 2007)

Dissertations completed since 1997

Carolyn Butler-Palmer
Dissertation: I Won't Play Primitive to Your Modern: The Art of David Neel (Kwagiutl), 1985-2000

Ivy (Schroeder) Cooper
Disseration: Minimalism for the Masses: Public Sculpture Under the Federal Art-in-Architecture Program, 1972–1989
Currently: Department Chair and Professor of Art History, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville IL

Anne Knutson
Dissertation: Art, Desire, and Empire: American Propaganda Posters of World War I

Alison McQueen
Dissertation: The Modern Artist and the Old Master: The Reinvention of Rembrandt in France, 1850–1900
Currently: Associate Professor of Art History, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario

Charles Pearo
Dissertation: Elizabeth Jane Gardner (1837–1922): Tracing the Construction of Artistic Identity
Currently: Professor at College Andrè-Laurendeau, Montreal

Sylvia Rhor
Dissertation: Educating America: Murals in Chicago Public Schools, 1905–1943
Currently: Assistant Professor of Art, Carlow University, Pittsburgh PA

Leesa Rittelmann
Dissertation: Constructed Identities: The German Photobook from Weimar to the Third Reich
Currently: Assistant Professor, SUNY Fredonia, Fredonia NY

Paul Scolari
Dissertation: Indian Warriors and Pioneer Mothers: American Identity and the Closing of the Frontier in Public Monuments, 1890-1930
Currently: Historian and American Indian Liaison, National Park Service

Current graduate students

Cristina Albu
Research Area: The Shifting Hermeneutics of Site-Specific Installations
MA in progress: The Disavowal of Modernity via the Fusion of Art and Technology in Site-Specific Installations

Robert Bailey
Research Area: Contemporary Art and Critical Theory
MA in progress: Conceptual Art

Yanli Chen

Brianne Cohen
Research Area: Contemporary Art and Critical Theory

April Eisman
PhD in progress: Bernhard Heisig and the Cultural Politics of "East German" Art

Jessica Margaret Glaser
PhD in progress: The Pre-War Roots of Socialist Modernism in East German Design

Kristen Harkness
PhD in progress: "In a Certain Land:" Fairy Tales and Identity in Fin-de-Siècle Russian Art

Gerald Hartnett
Research area:Post-World War II American and European Art

Karla Huebner
PhD in progress: Eroticism, Identity, and Cultural Context: Toyen and the Czech Avant-Garde

Annie Kellogg-Krieg
PhD in progress: In the Service of the Nation(s): Medieval and Neo-Medieval Architecture in the Contested Terrain of Wrocław/Breslau, 1860-Present

Travis Nygard
PhD in progress: Modern American Art and Agriculture

Holly Paradis
PhD in progress: Sacred and Secular Images of Monasticism, Sainthood and Martyrdom in the Art of Edouard Manet

Cynthia Persinger
PhD in progress: The Politics of Style: Meyer Schapiro and the Methods of Art History

Natalia Rents
Research Area: Contemporary Art, Visual Culture/History of Photography

Miguel Rojas-Sotelo
Research Area: Contemporary Art and Critical Theory
PhD in progress: Cultural Maps, Networks and Flow in Contemporary Art. A Case Study: Third World Art and the Havana Biennale

"Overall, the department is responsive and proactive with a collegial atmosphere."

Karla Huebner