Bibiana Obler

Associate Professor of Art History and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Art History
Address: Smith Hall of Art
801 22nd Street NW
Washington, District Of Columbia
Phone: 202-994-4839

Areas of Expertise

Modern and contemporary art and craft

Professor Obler's research and teaching interests include European and American art from the late nineteenth century to the present, with emphases on early twentieth-century avant-gardes, theories of gender and cross-cultural representation, photography, applied arts, and intellectual history. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in the History of Art from the University of California, Berkeley. Her first book, Intimate Collaborations: Kandinsky and Münter, Arp and Taeuber (Yale University Press, 2014), investigates the role of artist couples in the emergence of abstract art. It received the support of a Millard Meiss Publication Fund grant in 2012. Her second book, currently titled The Anti-Craft Tradition, will examine the relation of art and craft in the late 20th century through a series of case studies: Al Loving’s fabric constructions, Rebecca Horn’s bodily extensions, Lynda Benglis’s ceramics, and El Anatsui’s work in wood. Obler’s writing, on topics ranging from Dada cross-stitch to contemporary African art, has been featured in Art Bulletin, Artforum,, The Journal of Modern Craft, and Sculpture Journal. Prior to arriving at GW, Professor Obler held a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University, and in the spring of 2012, she was the James Renwick Fellow in American Craft at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.



PhD University of California, Berkeley 


Selected Publications:
"Craft as a Response to War" to Nation Building: Craft and Contemporary American Culture, ed. Nicholas Bell. Bloomsbury, 2016.
Intimate Collaborations: Kandinsky and Münter, Arp and Taeuber. Yale University Press, 2014.

Classes Taught

Undergraduate courses:
• The Art of the Exhibition, Dean’s Seminar, AH1000
• History of Photography, AH4162W
• Modern Art of the Early Twentieth Century, AH4143W
• Modern and Postmodern Art and Theory, AH4165
• Primitivism and Its Discontents, AH4149
• War and Visual Culture, AH4149

Graduate courses:
• Historiography, AH6258
• Dada, AH6250
• Engendering Modernism, AH6250
• Primitivism and Its Discontents, AH6256
• War and Visual Culture, AH6250