Art Criticism and Writing | MFA Program

Our Faculty:

Michael Brenson

Michael Brenson,

critic, scholar and teacher

Michael Brenson is a critic, scholar and teacher. He received an MA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D in art history from Johns Hopkins University, and was an art critic for The New York Times from 1982 to 1991. His publications include Visionaries and Outcasts: The NEA, Congress, and the Place of the Visual Artist in America (2001); Sol LeWitt: Concrete Block Structures (2002); Acts of Engagement: Writings on Art, Criticism, and Institutions, 1993–2002 (2004); edited (with Mary Jane Jacob) Conversations at the Castle: Changing Audiences and Contemporary Art (1996), edited (with Rhea Anastas) Witness to Her Art: Art and Writings by Adrian Piper, Mona Hatoum, Cady Noland, Jenny Holzer, Kara Walker, Daniela Rossell and Eau de Cologne (2006). He is a Getty scholar and Guggenheim Fellow, a Visiting Senior Critic in the University of Pennsylvania School of Design’s Department of Fine Arts, and a member of the sculpture faculty in Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts. He is working on a biography of David Smith.

Education:
  • B.A. in English, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.
  • M.A. in Creative Writing, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.
  • Ph.D. in Art History, Johns Hopkins University, Dissertation: ``The Early Work of Alberto Giacometti: 1925-1935.''
Teaching experience includes:
  • Associate Professor, Center for Curatorial Studies, 2000-2001.
  • Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College, 1999- 2000, 2002 to the present.
  • University of Wisconsin Arts Institute’s Interdisciplinary-Artist-in-Residence, fall 2004.
  • Visiting Senior Critic, University of Pennsylvania School of Art & Design, 2007 to the present.
  • Visiting Senior Critic, Yale University School of Art, Graduate Sculpture Department, New Haven, Conn., Spring 1994.
Contributing editor:
  • Art reporter, The New York Times, June 1982 to September 1983.
  • Art critic, The New York Times, September 1983 to August 1991.
  • Art critic, New York magazine, July 2000 to January 2001.
Awards and honors:
  • AICA Distinguished Critic’s Lecture, New School University, November 12, 2007.
  • Guggenheim Fellowship 2008.
  • Bogliasco Fellow 2010.
  • Alberto and Annette Giacometti Foundation Administrative Board Member, 2003-Present.
Books:
  • Visionaries and Outcasts: The NEA, Congress and the Place of the Visual Artist in America, New York: The New Press, 2001.
  • Acts of Engagement: Writings on Art, Criticism, and Institutions, 1993-2002, Lanham, Boulder, New York, Toronto, Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004.
Exhibitions:
  • Alberto Giacometti: A Loan Exhibition at Acquavella Galleries
  • Ursula von Rydingsvard at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
  • Antonio López Garcia at Rizzoli
  • Sol LeWitt: Concrete Block Structures Catalogue raisonné
MFA Art Criticism and Writing.
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