Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Expert Biographies

12 / Conflict and Resistance

Jane Ashton Sharp

Jane Ashton Sharp, Ph.D., is an associate professor of art history at Rutgers University. In addition to teaching classes on Russian and Soviet art, unofficial art in the former Soviet Union, and twentieth-century avant-garde art movements, she curates the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Soviet Nonconformist Art at Rutgers’ Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum. Sharp has published numerous articles and book chapters on the historical Russian avant-garde, and, more recently, on Moscow conceptualism and abstract painting in the Soviet Union after the Second World War. Her book Russian Modernism between East and West: Natal’ia Goncharova and the Moscow Avant-Garde, 1905–14 won the Robert Motherwell Book Award from the Dedalus Foundation. Sharp holds an M.A. in Slavic languages and literatures and a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University.

Zainab Bahrani

Zainab Bahrani, Ph.D., is the Edith Porada Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Art History and Archaeology and the director of graduate studies in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, New York. A native of Baghdad, Iraq, her research focuses on the art and archaeology of Mesopotamia and the eastern Mediterranean, philosophies of aesthetics and representation, gender and feminist theories. Prior to her position at Columbia, Bahrani taught at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the University of Vienna, Austria. She has also worked as a curator in the Near Eastern Antiquities Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has been most recently elected to the Slade Professorship in the Fine Arts at the University of Oxford. Bahrani has authored, co-authored, and edited a number of books, including Rituals of War: the Body and Violence in Mesopotamia, The Graven Image: Representation in Babylonia and Assyria, and Women of Babylon: Gender and Representation in Mesopotamia. She received her M.A. and Ph.D from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Steve Brodner

Steve Brodner has been a satirical illustrator for more than thirty years. After earning his B.A. from Cooper Union, Brodner began working for a local newspaper, and then launched a freelance career, illustrating pieces for the New York Times Book Review, Harper’s magazine, Sports Illustrated, Esquire, Playboy, Spy, National Lampoon, and other publications. In visual essays, Brodner covered eight national political conventions for Esquire, the Progressive, and the Village Voice. He covered the Dole presidential campaign for the Washington Post; George W. Bush for Esquire; Oliver North, Pat Buchanan, and the Million Man March for the New Yorker; the farm crisis for the Progressive; and the Colonias communities for Texas Monthly. Brodner has also illustrated a number of books, including his own projects, Fold ‘N Tuck and Davy Crockett. “Freedom Fries,” a career retrospective was published by Fantagraphics Books in 2004. He produced “September 2001,” a documentary short and collaborated on the Naked Campaign, a series of films produced for NewYorker.com. Brodner has received numerous awards, including the Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, the Society of Illustrators Hamilton King Award, and the Reuben Award from the National Cartoonists Society for Best Magazine Illustration of the Year. Brodner also teaches narrative art at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Melissa Chiu

Melissa Chiu, Ph.D., is museum director and vice president for global art programs at the Asia Society in New York. An expert on Asian contemporary art, Chiu is responsible for establishing the museum’s contemporary art collection along with curating path-breaking exhibitions. She is a frequent media commentator on arts and culture and has lectured at universities including Yale, Columbia, and Harvard. Prior to joining the Asia Society Museum, Chiu founded the Asia-Australia Arts Centre in Sydney, Australia. Chiu has also authored many articles and books, most recently, Breakout: Chinese Art Outside China. Chiu holds a Ph.D. in Art History and an M.A. in Arts Administration.

Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw

Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw, Ph.D., is an associate professor of American art and the director of the Program of Visual Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her primary research interests include race, sexuality, gender, and class in American art, with particular emphasis on the role that visual culture plays in cultural conflicts. She lectures widely and has published numerous articles and books, including, Seeing the Unspeakable: The Art of Kara Walker and Portraits of a People: Picturing African Americans in the Nineteenth Century. Prior to her position at the University of Pennsylvania, Shaw taught at Harvard University and earned fellowships through the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Ford Foundation. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.

John Elderfield

John Elderfield, Ph.D., is chief curator emeritus of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Since 1975, Elderfield has held a number of titles at the museum, including Chief Curator at Large. Exhibitions curated for MoMA include “Matisse Picasso,” “Bonnard,” “Henri Matisse: A Retrospective,” “Kurt Schwitters,” and The ‘Wild Beasts’: Fauvism and Its Affinities.” Elderfield has authored and co-authored numerous books, including Martin Puryear, Helen Frankenthaler, Pleasuring Painting: Matisse’s Feminine Representations, Visions of Modern Art: Painting and Sculpture from The Museum of Modern Art, and Henri Matisse: A Retrospective. He studied at the University of Leeds and earned his Ph.D. from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Elderfield has also been the recipient of a number of fellowships, including a Harkness Fellowship to study at Yale University, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and an associate fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. In addition, the French government awarded him an Officier des Arts et des Lettres and Time magazine listed him as one of the 100 most influential people of 2005.

Lalla Essaydi

Lalla Essaydi is a Moroccan-born artist who works with a variety of media, including video, film installation, painting, and photography. Essaydi’s art, which often combines Islamic calligraphy with representations of the female body, addresses Arab female identity and Muslim gender stereotypes. Essaydi’s work is represented in many collections, including George Eastman House, the Williams College Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the British National Museum, and she has been represented in exhibitions from Chicago and New York to the Netherlands, England, Germany, Switzerland, Dubai, Morocco, and Syria. Essaydi earned her M.F.A. from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University. She is currently based in New York City.

Susan Galassi

Susan Galassi, Ph.D., is senior curator of the Frick Collection. Prior to this position, Galassi served as an associate and assistant curator at the Frick Collection and founded the museum’s education program. She also served as a senior lecturer at the Museum of Modern Art and taught at Columbia University, New York University, and Vassar College. She has curated a number of exhibitions for the Frick Collection, including “Whistler, Women and Fashion” and “Goya’s Last Works.” In addition to collaborating on numerous exhibitions on the artist, she is the author of Picasso’s Variations on the Masters: Confrontations with the Past. Galassi has also served as the vice president and chair of the Annual Conference for the College Art Association. She earned a B.A. from Finch College, an M.A. from Wellesley College, and a Ph.D. from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts.

Christine Giviskos

Christine Giviskos is associate curator at the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum. Prior to joining the Zimmerli, Giviskos was assistant curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. She is co-author of The Language of the Nude: Four Centuries of Drawing the Human Body. Exhibitions she has curated or co-curated include “Dark Dreams: The Prints of Francisco Goya,” “Oudry’s Painted Menagerie,” and “Defining Modernity: European Drawings 1800–1900.”

Melissa Harris

Melissa Harris is editor-in-chief of Aperture magazine and the editor/curator of numerous projects for the Aperture Foundation. Under Harris’s leadership, Aperture magazine has received many honors including ASME’s National Magazine Award for General Excellence and the FOLIO gold Eddie award. In addition to her affiliations with Aperture, Harris teaches at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and Columbia University’s School of Journalism and is a contributing editor to Interview magazine. She has curated photography exhibits for Aperture Gallery in New York, Visa Pour l’Image in Perpignan, France, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the ICA (also in Philadelphia), and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, among other venues.

Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-founder and co-chair of the M.F.A Design program and co-founder of the Design Criticism program at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York. After several years working as art director on the New York Times OpEd page, Heller became art director for the New York Times Book Review, a position he held for almost thirty years. He now writes the “Visuals” column for the New York Times Book Review. Heller is the author, co-author, and/or editor of more than 120 books on design and popular culture and has been a contributing editor to Print, Eye, Baseline, and I.D. magazines. He has produced and curated numerous exhibitions, including “Art against War,” “The Satiric Image: Painters as Cartoonists and Caricaturists,” and “The Malik Verlag.” He is also the recipient of the AIGA Medal for Lifetime Achievement. He is the editor of the AIGA VOICE, its online journal, and author of the Daily Heller blog at Printmag.com.

Tarek Kahlaoui

Tarek Kahlaoui, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Islamic art and Islamic history at Rutgers University. His research focuses on Islamic cartography, urbanism, and codicology, and he has taken part in excavations in Islamic and ancient sites in Tunisia. Kahlaoui has lectured widely—from the U.S. to Italy, Morocco, Switzerland, and Montreal. He has also authored articles in scholarly journals including “Towards Reconstructing the Muqaddima and the Idrisian World Map” in The Journal of North African Studies and “Tracing Urbanization in Early Modern Jerba” in The Mediterranean Medina.

Freyda Spira

Freyda Spira, Ph.D., is an assistant curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Spira specializes in Early Modern German art, works on paper, and Reformation imagery. She has authored several articles, including “Daniel Hopfer and Early Etched Armor in Augsburg” and “Daniel Hopfer’s St. Paul Preaching and the Question of Mediation,” both of which are forthcoming, and is currently curating an exhibition on Renaissance Augsburg at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Spira earned her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Sylvia Wolf

Sylvia Wolf is the director of the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington, Seattle. She has also been a curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In these positions, Wolf has organized over fifty exhibitions and written over twelve books on contemporary art and photography, including Julia Margaret Cameron’s Women; Visions from America: Photographs from the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1940–2001; Michal Rovner: The Space Between; Ed Ruscha and Photography; and Polaroids: Mapplethorpe. Wolf has taught studio, art history, and museum studies courses at the graduate and undergraduate level, most recently at Columbia University, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and the School of Visual Arts, New York. Wolf received a B.A. in French literature from Northwestern University, an M.F.A in photography from Rhode Island School of Design, and is currently writing her dissertation as an international fellow at the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. She has been awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for her promotion of French culture in the U.S.


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