Sarah Evans

Sarah Evans

Associate Professor, Art History
Ph.D. University of California-Berkeley
Contemporary Art
Office: Art Building 203C

As discourses about art continue to stress its universal and eternal qualities and values, my goal as a teacher is to encourage students to think historically and thus recognize their potential to effect change as art-makers and viewers.

Sarah Evans is Associate Professor of contemporary art history. Having completed a B.A. in film studies and an M.A. in critical theory, Professor Evans earned her Ph.D. (2004) in art history at University of California at Berkeley. She has held post-doctoral fellowships in the College of Letters and Science at UC Berkeley (2004-2006) and at Cornell University’s Society for the Humanities (2006-2007).

Her book manuscript, Stealing Home, focuses on appropriation art of the 1970s, situating the early work of avant-garde artists like Cindy Sherman, Sherrie Levine, Robert Longo and David Salle within a broad historical context that includes pop-cultural phenomena like repertory cinema and club-going, as well as the punk and No Wave music and film cultures of Lower Manhattan. Her goal is to analyze the social, professional and private dimensions of citation-based art, music and film, which, until now, has been interpreted primarily in terms of its inauguration of postmodernism. An article drawn from this project, “There’s No Place Like Hallwalls: Alternative-space Installations in an Artists’ Community,” was published in Oxford Art Journal in 2009.

Her newest project analyzes Bharti Kher’s sculptures and paintings in the context of Indian biopolitics, especially as it impacts women’s reproductive labor.

Professor Evans teaches the survey of Contemporary Art since 1950, which focuses on discourses about art, with special emphasis on critiques of practices, institutions and ideologies. In her contributions to the co-taught Introduction to Art since 1900, she discusses the variety of ways that artists from Courbet to now have dialogued with common culture. The case studies include Dada collage, Soviet montage cinema, the Independent Group and Situationist International responses to the culture of spectacle, counter-cultural intermedia in the 1960s, the popular appeal of 1990s Japanese art, and post-production and DIY. Her Global Moderns course presents new histories of modernity and Modernism, including studies of post-colonial practices in western Africa and India. Her most recent seminar, Identity in Contemporary Art, covers Black Arts in Britain, “Post-Black” art, the figures of the hybrid and the cyborg, reconciliations of “essentialist” and “constructionist” feminisms, post-humanist and trans-humanist theories, and materialist critiques of identity politics. Other seminars include Globalization, Globalism and Contemporary Art, Photography as Art/Art as Photography, and Methodologies of Art History.

Her diverse research interests include: feminist theory, especially feminist psychoanalysis, materialist feminism, and Second-Wave writing about sexuality; the early work of Cindy Sherman; contemporary Indian art; the global turn in art history; modern and contemporary art in dialogue with common culture; art as a social and political practice; history and theory of photography, with a focus on the relationship between women’s spheres and photographic practice; theories of modernism and post-modernism; irony, humor and deadpanning.

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