Department of Art + Art History
Modesto A. Maidique Campus
Viertes Haus Building
11200 SW 8th Street - VH 216 Miami, Florida 33199
PH: 305-348-2897 | Fx: 305-348-0513

Faculty Directory

//Faculty Directory
Faculty Directory 2017-08-21T13:29:24+00:00
Jacek J. KolasinskiTori Arpad-CottaBenjamin Zellmer BellasPip BrantWilliam BurkeRobert ChambersJim CouperCarol DamianEduardo del ValleMirta Gómez del ValleDaniel GuernseyClive KingWilliam MaguireJuan A. MartinezMichael NamkungAlpesh Kantilal PatelSilvia PeaseGretchen ScharnaglConstantino Manuel TorresBarbara WattsLidu YiADJUNCT FACULTY


Jacek J. Kolasinski | Chairperson and Associate Professor: Digital Media

VH 216D

Jacek J. Kolasinski is a New-Media artist, Associate Professor of Visual Arts and the Chair of the Art and Art History Department at Florida International University. He came to the United States from Poland where he studied history and philosophy at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations. Kolasinski received his MFA and BFA from Florida International University in Miami.

Through his creative work, Kolasinski has tested complex video installations, single and multiple channel projections, as a well as site-specific projects in the context of public architecture. His art work has reached large international audiences through presentations and exhibitions in numerous venues including: the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires, Argentina: Festival Internacional Cervantino, Guanajuato, Mexico; 61 Festival de Cannes – Short Film Corner; Cinema Politic, Barcelona, Spain; and Digital Fringe, Melbourne, Australia, to name a few.

Kolasinski’s work is rooted in an international dialogue between two worlds: the “Old World” of Europe in Krakow, and the “New World” of the United States in multicultural Miami. These convergent worlds create a running theme that surfaces in many of his works: the search for identity in the vortex of cultural displacement. Prof. Kolasinski has been awarded a Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship in the media and visual arts and the prestigious Kosciuszko Foundation Fellowship.

Most recently, his interest in “socially engaged academic performance art” has provoked several large-scale trans-disciplinary projects such as TAG (“The Art of Giving”) in Haiti, and “Tree of Unity” in Liberty City. These projects are testing boundaries between art and the “aesthetics of philanthropy” by mobilizing a number of what he describes as social actors or archetypes — from cheerleaders and athletes to art students and younger school children – to bring attention to the marginalized communities ridden by serious societal problems.

Kolasinski’s latest academic presentations at PSi #18 at the University of Leeds, UK and SECAC in Durham NC in 2012, proposed a theoretical context to his larger artistic practice that sets up situations that allow for performative explorations of social identities.

Tori Arpad-Cotta | Associate Professor: Ceramics + Installation

VH 216

Arpad-Cotta’s site-based practice includes work as Artist-in-Residence in AIRIE, Everglades National Park, and Land Arts of the American West, a field-study program at University of New Mexico. She received a Florida State Cultural Council Artist’s Fellowship and NCECA Emerging Artist Award. Exhibitions include the Shumen Biennial, Bulgaria and others internationally since 1996. Her work is featured in Land Arts of the American West by Bill Gilbert & Chris Taylor, Confrontational Ceramics by Judith S. Schwartz, and Ceramics: Mastering the Craft by Richard Zakin. She teaches Installation Art, a collaboration with the Wolfsonian-FIU culminating with an exhibit of student art in Miami’s Design District each spring semester.


Benjamin Zellmer Bellas | Assistant Professor | Coordinator of the Foundations Program

VH 216

Professor Bellas has spoken at venues like the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Oregon, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Luce Foundation Center. He has exhibited his own artistic work in Canada, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. He has shown his work in group exhibitions in spaces like the Musuem of Contemporary Art (Chicago), 1a space (Hong Kong), the Academy of Fine Arts (Helsinki, Finland), and the Florean Museum of Contemporary Art (Baia Mare, Romania). In 2012, he won the Franklin Furnace Fund for his work, and he has been featured in The Washington PostWAMU NPR, and Sculpture Magazine.

Professor Bellas received his BA in Studio Arts, with minors in Art History and Philosophy, from the University of Pittsburgh in 1998, and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005.

Pip Brant | Associate Professor: Fiber Art and Painting

AC2 151A

Brant has degrees from the University of Montana  (BFA) and the University of Wyoming. (MFA).  Brant grew up on the western Plains Indian reservations (Sioux, Cheyenne, Assiniboine) where the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Public Health employed her family.  She has taught, herded goats and produced art in Montana, Wyoming, London, England, and Missouri and in 1999 moved to Florida to take a studio teaching position at Florida International University.   She has exhibited in Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, and London as well as nationally, including venues in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, as well as the western states.  Recently she has been exhibiting in the Basel Art Fair affiliated Ping Pong exhibitions that feature artists from Switzerland /LA/Miami.  Her work is executed in fibers, painting and performance and includes urban farming activism.

In 1992 she was awarded the Wyoming Visual Arts Fellowship. In 1993 her work in the collaborative art group, Kunstwaffen was awarded a New Forms Consortium Grant for Cattle/Text Interaction.  Brant currently is a an associate professor at FIU, teaching painting and fibers.

In 2003 she won the South Florida Cultural Consortium for Visual and Media arts. Brant’s work embraces the use of the absurd and humor and cites the plays and philosophy of Bertold Brecht as a major influence.

William Burke | Professor: Ceramics | Departmental Curator | Graduate Seminar

VH 232
Curriculum Vitae

William Burke received his Masters of Fine Arts from the State University, College of New York.  Over the past five years, his work has involved the making of installations, their underlying conception, and concerns of time and memory, with a particular focus on the experience of nature. His installations represent the literal storage of nature’s physical objects in order to trigger recollections of sights witnessed in the past and present. His work has most recently been exhibited in Boca Raton at Florida Atlantic University’s 44th Annual Juried Florida Craftsman Exhibition and at Ground Level Gallery in Miami Beach and at the Art Museum at FIU.

robert chambers

Robert Chambers | Visiting Assistant Professor

VH 216

Born in Miami, Robert Chambers earned his MA (1990) from New York University and his BFA from University of Miami (1983). He ran the sculpture departments at NYU for a number of years and then continued his teaching career at the University of Miami.
Robert Chambers has recently completed several large scale public Art commissions; “Light Field”, an interactive 87’ tall LED wall of light and “Orbital 1+2”, 20.000 lbs marble elliptical sculptures for Miami-Dade Art in Public Places (completed March 2011).
Recent exhibitions include ”2011 Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts” at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in NYC.
Awards include the Nancy Graves Award and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award. He was granted a residency at the Fabric Workshop Museum in Philadelphia, PA in 2009 and has work in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Miami Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Miami, FL.

jim couper

Jim Couper | Professor Emeritus: Painting 

Jim Couper is a Professor Emeritus in the FIU Art + Art History Department, the founding director of the Art Museum at FIU (now the Frost Art Museum), and a full-time painter. He is also the founding director of the FIU Art + Art History graduate program and has served as the department’s chair. He retired in 2005 after 33 years and maintains residences in Miami and Tallulah Falls, Georgia, drawing inspiration from both locales. The Ringling Museum, the Boca Raton Museum, and numerous other private, public, and corporate art collections have featured and acquired Couper’s works.


Carol Damian | Professor: Art History, Latin American Art


Dr. Carol Damian is a graduate of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, and received her MA in Pre-Columbian Art History and her Ph.D in Latin American History from the University of Miami. A professor and former chairperson of FIU’s Department of Art + Art History, she is also a prominent figure in Miami’s arts community and a nationally recognized art historian. She is known as an energetic instructor, who combines a passion for art with strong leadership skills. Damian is the author of The Virgin of the Andes: Art and Ritual in Colonial Cuzco (Grassfield Press, 1995), and a contributing author to major books on Manuel Carbonell, Cundo Bermúdez and Enrique Martínez Celaya, among others. She is also a Miami correspondent for Art Nexus and Arte al Dia magazines. She lectures frequently, and has served as curator of numerous exhibitions. She was the Director & Chief Curator of the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University, from 2008 until 2015.

Eduardo del Valle | Professor: Photography


“It’s beautifully made color photography and an achievement of enormous richness.  Eduardo del Valle & Mirta Gómez have followed one thread with great tenacity.  I don’t know of any other body of work quite like it.”

 – John Szarkowski

The Cuban-born husband and wife team of Eduardo del Valle and Mirta Gómez has worked collaboratively for more than thirty-five years, receiving international acclaim for their photographs of subjects in a state of flux.

Del Valle and Gómez are the recipients of numerous artist’s fellowships including the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1997); Oscar B. Cintas Foundation (1989 and 1996); South Florida Cultural Consortium (1993); National Endowment for the Arts (1976 and 1990); Florida Art Council (1987) and New York State Council for the Arts (1979).  Their photographs were exhibited in the groundbreaking Inaugural Exhibition 2004 marking the reopening of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City and exhibited again at MoMA’s Landscape: Recent Acquisitions in 2006.  Their work is widely shown internationally and is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, NY; Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; New Orleans Museum of Art, LA and others. Their work is represented by Jim Kempner Fine Art Gallery in the city of New York.

Del Valle and Gómez are Professors of Art/Photography at Florida International University, Miami where they have taught collaboratively since 1983.  Visiting artists lectures and workshops presented by the couple include Columbia University, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, NY; Penland School of Art, NC and others.  They are the authors of several monographs, including From the Ground Up (2003); Four Sections of Time (2004); Fried Waters (2005); Between Runs (2006); Witness Number Four (2008); En Vista (2009) and most recently On View (2012) all published by The Nazraeli Press.

Mirta Gómez del Valle | Professor: Photography



Mirta Gómez is the recipient of numerous artist fellowships including the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1997); Oscar B. Cintas Foundation (1989 and 1996); South Florida Cultural Consortium (1993); National Endowment for the Arts (1976 and 1990); Florida Art Council (1987) and New York State Council for the Arts (1979). Her photographs were exhibited in the groundbreaking Inaugural Exhibition 2004 marking the reopening of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City and exhibited again at MoMA’s Landscape: Recent Acquisitions in 2006. Her work is widely shown internationally and is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, NY; Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; New Orleans Museum of Art, LA and others.

Mirta Gómez is a tenured Full Professor of Art/Photography at Florida International University in Miami where she has taught since 1983. She holds an Associate in Arts Degree from Miami Dade College, Miami, FL; Bachelor of Fine Arts from Florida
International University, Miami, FL and Master of Fine Art from Brooklyn College, NY. She has participated in numerous visiting artists lectures and workshops including Columbia University, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, NY; Penland School of Art, NC and others. She has co-authored seven books, including From the Ground Up (2003); Four Sections of Time (2004); Fried Waters (2005); Between Runs (2006); Witness Number Four (2008); En Vista (2009) and On View (2012).

Mirta Gómez worked collaboratively with her husband for more than forty years. The couple received international acclaim for their photographs of subjects in a state of flux. Since their divorce in 2016 each party is pursuing a solo and separate career in the arts. Her first and widely, anticipated monograph Lick, Sip, Bite, Suck (2018) will be published by The Nazraeli Press.

Daniel Guernsey | Associate Professor: Art History

AC1 220 / VH 234

Office Hours:
3:30PM-5PM, Tu and Th (VH 234 @ MMC)

Daniel Guernsey received his Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His areas of specialization are eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European art and European intellectual history. He is the author of The Artist and the State, 1777-1855: The Politics of Universal History in British and French Painting (Ashgate, 2007) as well as several articles on the philosophy of history in European art during the Neo-Classical and Romantic periods. Courses he teaches include Enlightenment and Romanticism, 1700-1848; Realism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism, 1848-1900; The History of Aesthetic Thought in Europe, 1760-1900; Critical Methods in Art History; and Theories of Civil Society in Europe from Bernard Mandeville to Karl Marx, 1700-1848. His current research focuses on the religious, political, and economic dimensions of G. W. F. Hegel’s Lectures on Aesthetics.


Clive King | Professor Emeritus: Drawing

Clive King came to the United States from Great Britain in 1992 and served as the Chairman of the Art Department from 1992 to 1998. He studied at the Goldsmiths College of Art, University of London, and Exeter College of Art, and taught in the Visual Arts Department of Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, England. He has been Artist-in-Residence at the Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, and Yorkshire Art Association in England. He has exhibited extensively in the United States and Great Britain and has received numerous National and Regional awards and fellowships, including the South Florida Cultural Consortium, Southern Arts Federation/National Endowment for the Arts award, and a Fulbright Exchange Fellowship.

William Maguire | Professor: Photography

VH 235

After completing undergraduate and graduate degrees at Notre Dame and the Institute of Design in Chicago, William Maguire returned to live in Homestead where he had grown up.  Since 1975 he has been a faculty member in the Art and Art History department at FIU, and he has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and national and regional fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts. Maguire teaches courses in photography and the history of photography including a class concentrating on photography from the 1960s to the present.

Juan A. Martínez | Professor Emeritus: Art History

VH 233

Juan A. Martínez, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Florida International University in Miami.   Professor Martínez is an art historian who teaches courses in European and Cuban modern art.  He is the author of Cuban Art & National Identity: The Vanguardia Painters 1927-1950 (University Press of Florida, 1994), Carlos Enríquez: The Painter of Cuban Ballads (Miami: Cernuda Arte, 2010), and María Brito (Los Angeles: UCLA, 2009). He has also published numerous book chapters and essays in exhibition catalogues. He is currently working on a monograph of one of the pioneers of Cuban modern painting, Fidelio Ponce de León (1895-1949).


Cuban Art


Michael Namkung | Assistant Professor: Drawing

VH 216

Utilizing a language of athletic performance, Michael Namkung makes drawings under physical duress in order to explore a state of consciousness, a condition of fragility, and a certainty of failure rooted in the human body. His ongoing Drawing Gymproject uses drawing, physical exercise, and the participation of others to explore the contours of human embodiment and the potential of transformation.

In his recent work, Baby Pictures, he created a monotype printmaking system to record his newborn son’s movements in relationship to the ground. This work interrogates the conventions of portraiture, and investigates the human compulsion to create images in order to affix memory and create meaning. Resembling inkblots more than photographs, these drawings are a futile effort to arrest an image of a human condition that is constantly disappearing. The work is a meditation on fatherhood, as well as a literal imprinting (on both paper and psyche) of the weight of the father-son relationship.

Namkung holds a BA and a MEd from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MFA in Drawing and Painting from San Francisco State University, where he received the College of Creative Arts Master’s Hood. He has performed and exhibited in venues such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts, the LAB, Root Division, Kearny Street Workshop, the Richmond Art Center, the POW! Performance Art Series, Waterloo Center for the Arts, and the Frost Art Museum. He is a recipient of an Individual Artist Commission Cultural Equity Grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission, an Investing in Artists Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation, and most recently, a Tanne Foundation Award.

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Alpesh Kantilal Patel | Assistant Professor, Contemporary Art and Theory and Director of the MFA Program in Visual Arts

VH 235

Dr. Alpesh Kantilal Patel’s art historical scholarship, art criticism and curating reflect his queer, anti-racist, and transnational approach to contemporary art. His single-authored monograph “Productive Failure: writing transnational South Asian art histories” is forthcoming from Manchester University Press in 2017. Research for his follow up to this book, tentatively titled “Transnational approaches to LGBTQ artistic practices,” has been supported by a grant from the Fulbright Foundation.

Subjects he has explored in peer-reviewed, edited scholarly books and journals include the relationship between curating and queer feminist Chinese art histories; embodied, agonistic museum viewing practices; creolized and creolizing queer and haptic Brown Atlantic civic space; failed, “decolonial spictacles”; and erasure of homosexuality in contemporary art criticism. Most of these articles and chapters (as well as other writing such as catalog essays and exhibition reviews) can be found through his page.

Dr.Patel has co-organized academic panels at the annual conferences of Performance Studies international (PSi), College Art Association (CAA), and Association of Art Historians (UK); and given lectures at museums and universities across the US and Europe. A frequent contributor of exhibition reviews to international art magazines—such as Artforum (online and print), Art in America,, and frieze—he is currently reviews editor of contemporary art books for

An active curator, he has organized exhibitions in the US and Europe. Professor Patel helped establish FIU’s Miami Beach Urban Studios (MBUS) as a Junior Cultural Anchor in Miami Beach in 2012. At MBUS he has organized solo and group exhibitions of artists based in the North America, Europe, and Asia. In 2007, he produced the British Art Council-funded and multi-sited project Mixing It Up: Queering Curry Mile and Currying Canal Street in England. He assisted on a number of contemporary art exhibitions, symposia publications and feature films while working in NYC from 1998 to 2005 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Clinica Estetico, Magnet Entertainment, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art.

Dr. Patel has been assistant professor in contemporary art and critical theory since 2011. He is also an affiliate faculty member of both the Center for Women and Gender Studies and the African and African American diaspora program. The director of the MFA program since 2012, he co-launched the MFA in visual arts curatorial practice program in 2013 with Jacek Kolasiński. He received his BA in art history with distinction from Yale University, New Haven, CT and his PhD from the University of Manchester in England.

Silvia Pease | Visiting Instructor: Graphic Design

Pease career’s started in the late 80’s and 90’s when she became the art director of the newsstand covers for the worldwide known Selecciones Reader’s Digest (in Spanish and Portuguese). That same year, Pease founded Pease Design. The studio’s focus was to create communication systems for organizations in the private and public sectors for an array of international clients, such as American Express Latinoamérica, Lufthansa Cargo, Corpevents and Varta Batteries. In the early 90’s, Pease was appointed to the board of directors of the Business Professional Women’s Club. Because of her contributions, she was also appointed to “Who’s Who among International Women in Business”. Her designs were published in design magazines and books such us “Fresh Ideas in Letterhead Design” and PRINT magazine.
Silvia Pease holds an MFA in multimedia design and an BFA in design from the University of Miami. She has lectured and exhibited all over the world and her teaching career includes over a decade as an Assistant Professor in Multimedia Design at the University Of Miami. Pease Taught Undergraduate and Graduate courses in Graphic Design, web-based media technology, new media interface applied to fine arts and design, concept development and design theory. Currently, Pease is a visiting Professor at Florida International University.

Gretchen Scharnagl | Senior Instructor

Gretchen Scharnagl has taught at FIU for the last ten years. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Florida International University in 2004. Her interests include environmental art, social commentary, and specimen logic in her personal art practice. Her community and collaborative artistic ventures include projects between the Art and Art History Department and the Honors College such as The Timeline Map of the Yagua People, a 64-foot-long mural displayed in FIU’s ACH2 building, and the first Super Health Heroes Comic Coloring Book, produced for Miami Children’s Hospital. Scharnagl breaks down barriers and forms connections between professor and student along multiple disciplines. She has presented papers on art in suburbia, environmental art, and strategies of teaching. Scharnagl’s artworks range from pencil drawings to installations to performances and even include edible art pieces.

Constantino Manuel Torres | Professor Emeritus

Manuel Torres received his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in 1982.

His primary interest is in the art and archaeology of psychoactive plant use in the Central Andes.  He conducts research and archaeological work in the Atacama desert of northern Chile.  He has received numerous grants for travel and research in the Americas and has published numerous articles on Andean Art and archeology.  He directs a collaborative program in San Pedro de Atacame with the University of Chile where he teaches and guides students.

Barbara Watts | Associate Professor: Art History

AC1 340

Barbara Watts received her undergraduate degree in Renaissance Area Studies from The Catholic University of America, subsequent to studying abroad at Loyola University’s Rome Center.  She attended graduate school in art history at the University of Virginia, with dissertation research in Florence, Rome, Berlin, Paris and London made possible by grants from the Fulbright-Hayes Commission and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.  Her primary area of research is Italian Renaissance art and literature; she has published and presented papers on Sandro Botticelli’s illustrations to Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, Michelangelo’s Last Judgment,  Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Artists, and Botticelli’s rediscovery in the nineteenth century.  Her work on Botticelli’s drawings for Dante’s Divine Comedy received widespread recognition in 2000, when she appeared in a BBC documentary on the subject and was one of three scholars to provide the audio-guide for the exhibition of Botticelli’s Dante drawings at the Royal Academy, London.  Watts has taught an array of courses in art history and the humanities, and she has been recognized for her teaching at FIU with Teaching Incentive Performance awards and the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.


Lidu Yi | Assistant Professor: Art History (Asian Art)

VH 231

Professor Lidu Yi is an art historian specializing in Chinese visual art and material culture. Her current research focuses on Buddhist art and architecture of pre-modern China. She is particularly interested in the issues of Buddhist art in relation to regional Buddhist beliefs, practices, ritual, doctrinal translations, capital transfers, cross-cultural impact, patrons, and politics. She has been invited to give lectures widely and published journal articles on these subjects. Currently, she has two research projects in China, one is the re-examination of the Yungang Caves, and the other studies the relatively unknown small caves in Shanxi Province.

Professor Lidu Yi is also interested in women artists and art collections in late imperial and early modern China, and is particularly intrigued by the social channels through which paintings by courtesans, concubines and gentry women were circulated, appreciated and collected by the literati, connoisseurs and the court.

Prior to joining the Communications, Architecture + The Arts Faculty at FIU, Yi taught at McGill University and the University of Toronto where she received her M.A. and Ph.D.

Courses taught:

  • Introduction to East Asian Art
  • Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art
  • Later Chinese (960-19149)
  • Arts of China and Japan
  • Buddhist Arts of Asia
  • Social History of Chinese Painting
  • Literati Vision: Image and Text in Chinese Literati Painting
  • Self and Other in Chinese Pictorial Art
  • Buddhist Art in Medieval China: The Iconology of the Dunhuang Caves
  • Jesse Brody | Jewelry, Small Metals
  • Helen P. Burgos | Figure Drawing
  • Leo Castaneda | Digital and 3D Art
  • Dawn Chan | Art Writing
  • Stephanie Chancy | Art History
  • Roxana Corradino | Art History
  • Rolando Dal Pezzo | Photography
  • Priscilla Forthman | Photography
  • Nick Gilmore | Print-Making
  • Ivania Guerrero | Ceramics
  • Joel Hollander | Art History
  • Venessa A. Monokian | Internet Art
  • Gema Naredo | Animation
  • Peggy Levison Nolan | Photography | MMC Photography Laboratory Supervisor
  • Neil Ramsay | Visual Arts Marketing
  • John Sanchez | Drawing
  • Lissette Schaeffler | Photography | BBC Photography Laboratory Supervisor
  • Noelle Theard | Art History
  • Donna Torres | Painting
  • Wendy Wolf | Museum Education

Curators in Residence

  • Gina Wouters
  • Natalia Zuluaga