East Meets West in Art: The Power of Art

In a video conversation with Columbian College Dean Ben Vinson, Assistant Professor of Art History Mika Natif reveals how elements and images from Renaissance Europe found their way into 17th century Islamic art.

Behind Larry Cook’s Lens

The photographer, M.F.A. ’12, discusses the role race and identity play in his conceptual images in GW Today.

The Department of Fine Arts and Art History seeks to interweave creative expression, art theory, and history. We challenge our students to think beyond the classroom, to interpret the arts within a broader visual culture, treating the classroom as a testing ground for their ideas. The strong partnership between the Fine Arts and Art History promotes our critical approach, which is grounded in both contemporary and historical concerns. Read More

Gallery 102

Still from “The Gift”, 2014, Oil and Acrylic on Mylar, 2 min Looped Animation


Robin Schaefer
April 14 - 25, 2014


Robin Schaefer presented Puncture, the final thesis exhibition of the Gallery 102 spring schedule. This multi-media exhibition opened up an investigation on the analog form of 1960’s and 70’s 8mm and 16mm film technology. Schaefer’s work involves extracting stills from chosen family films in order to create works that draw on the traditional medium of painting combined with the literal and figurative imperfections characteristic of these films. Inherent within this series is the notion that we will continue to look nostalgically at what were once cutting edge forms of technology. As a means to cope with our continuous technological leaps forward, a moment opens up to look at the past and what is becoming obsolete. This exhibition points towards this obsolescence while capturing traces of our cultural past selves.



Reception: Thu 9/4, 5-6pm
Reception: Thu 9/11, 5-6pm

Recent Faculty Publications

Intimate Collaborations: Kandinsky and Münter, Arp and Taeuber

Intimate Collaborations, by Bibiana K. Obler, Assistant Professor of Art History, examines the work and lives of Expressionist artists Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter and Dadaists Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber, illuminating the roles of gender and the applied arts in abstraction’s early days. Both couples, like Expressionism and Dada more generally, strived to transcend the fragmented individualism promoted by capitalism.

Eros and Sexuality in Islamic Art

Mika Natif, Assistant Professor of Art History, co-edited Eros and Sexuality in Islamic Art. This volume fills a gap in the field of Islamic art history by shedding light on the topics of eroticism and sexuality in the visual production of the medieval and early modern Muslim world. Preexisting ideas about erotic motifs in Islamic visual arts are challenged by rigorous contextual and cultural analyses provided in the book.

Bas Jan Ader: Death is Elsewhere

Alexander Dumbadze, Professor of Art History, authored Bas Jan Ader: Death is Elsewhere on the art and life of the enigmatic contemporary artist. Dumbadze looks closely at Ader's engagement with questions of free will and his ultimate success in creating art untainted by mediation in the first in-depth study of this artist who has gained legendary status with the literal will to die for his art.

The Spinelli of Florence by Phil Jacks

Associate Professor of Art History, Phil Jacks and co-author William Caferro have published Gli Spinelli di Firenze: Mercadanti e Mecenati nel Rinascimento, a revised and amplified edition in Italian of the 2001 socio-economic and architectural study of the Spinelli from the 13th- to late 15th-century, based on family records in the Beinecke Library and Florentine state archives.

Analyzing Art and Aesthetics - "Mercurial Pigments and the Alchemy of John Singleton Copley's 'Watson and the Shark'"

David Bjelajac, Professor of Art History and American Studies, authored the chapter "Mercurial Pigments and the Alchemy of John Singleton Copley's Watson and the Shark" in Analyzing Art and Aesthetics. In the chapter, Bjelajac intricately explores Freemasonry and the alchemy of Anglo-American painting through close examination of the materials and visual properties of the paintings of John Singleton Copley.

Jan van Eyck and Portugal's "Illustrious Generation": Volume I

Professor of Art History Barbara von Barghahn authored Jan van Eyck and Portugal's "Illustrious Generation": Volume I exploring Jan van Eyck's patronage by the Crown of Portugal and his role as a diplomat-painter for the Duchy of Burgundy following his first voyage to Lisbon in 1428-1429. Von Barghahn provides analysis of new portrait identifications with regard to King Joao I's conquest of Ceuta, achieved by his sons who were hailed as an "illustrious generation." A second "secret mission" to Portugal in 1437 by Jan van Eyck is also explored by von Barghahn.

Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present by Zan Dumbadze

Professor of Art History Alexander Dumbadze is co-editor, with Suzanne Hudson, of Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present. An engaging account of today’s contemporary art world, the work features original articles by leading international art historians, critics, curators, and artists on the most important debates and discussions happening around the world.