David Y. Chang | Chair and Professor: Painting, Drawing and Visual Arts Education
David Y. Chang, MFA, is Frost Professor of Art, a renowned artist and award-winning professor. Classically trained in the Beaux-Arts tradition, his education includes the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, the Cambridge University, England, the Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China, and Florida International University.
Since joining FIU in 1986, Professor Chang has been teaching visual arts education theories and practices, classical drawing and painting, as well as visual analysis for three decades. He is the Founding Director of the Academy of Portrait and Figurative Art. His artworks have been collected internationally. He is the Chair of the Florida Artists Group (FLAG-Area1) – Florida’s oldest and most prestigious professional artists association which requires a juried membership. Professor Chang has been awarded the Florida Higher Education Art Educator Prize as well as the Florida Art Education Distinguished Service Award.
Leonardo Castaneda | Visiting Instructor
Leo Castaneda is an artist working in the intersection of virtual reality, gaming, painting, performance and interactive sculpture. Castaneda’s work deploys and deconstructs the socio-economic, racial, mythological and post-human anatomies embedded in the structure of video games. Castaneda received his BFA from Cooper Union in 2010, and in 2014 received his MFA at Hunter College. Residencies include SOMA Summer in Mexico City attended through the Cisneros Foundation (2014), “Of Games III” at Khoj International Artists Association, New Delhi India (2015), and the Bronx Museum AIM program (2017). He has also attended a semester abroad in Universitat de Barcelona, Spain, and studied in New World School of the Arts in Miami.
Carlos Causo | Visiting Instructor
Carlos Victor Causo was born in Cuba and raised in different locations, including Buenos Aires in Argentina and São Paulo in Brazil. After graduating from an American high school abroad, he moved to the United States to earn a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Florida International University. While in college, Causo landed a full-time job as a photo assistant in a major advertising agency where he learned to shoot with a 4×5 camera and he took several photography courses that included history, darkroom techniques, and printing, and received weekly critiques of his work.
He went on to earn a master’s degree in fine arts photography, video and related media at the School of Visual Arts in New York where he also received the Paula Rhodes Memorial Award. This award honors Master of Fine Arts candidates whose work is deemed exceptional by their chair and faculty. Causo also received the Cintas Fellows Award in 1992. In 1994 he returned to Miami and started working in the commercial sector of photography, at which time a former mentor, William Maguire, offered him an adjunct teaching position at FIU. He currently teaches experimental video and digital photography as a visiting instructor at Florida International University.
Tori Arpad-Cotta | Associate Professor: Ceramics + Installation
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.
Pip Brant | Associate Professor: Fiber Art and Painting
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
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 | Visiting Assistant Professor
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 | 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 216F
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.
Alpesh Kantilal Patel | Associate Professor, Contemporary Art and Theory
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 queer transnational South Asian art histories” was published by Manchester University Press (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 academia.edu 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, hyperallergic.com, and frieze—he is currently reviews editor of contemporary art books for caa.reviews.
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 from 2012 to 2017, 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.
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.
Jacek J. Kolasinski | Director of Ratcliffe Art + Design Incubator and Associate Professor: Digital Media
Jacek J. Kolasinski is a New-Media artist, Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the Art + 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.
William Maguire | Professor: Photography
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
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).
Michael Namkung | Assistant Professor: Drawing
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.
Silvia Pease | Visiting Assistant Professor | Graphic Design
Silvia Pease is a New Media Artist and Designer, Principal of 1231 org, Visiting Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Graphic Design track at Florida International University. Pease practices and teaches courses in socially engaged design impacting global communities. Her latest project featuring FIU Citizen Designers – teaming up with non-profit organizations: Design is Change was exhibited at the Miami Beach Urban Studios. Pease is the author of Design is Change (2016).
Silvia leads numerous projects from interactive mobile to print media to product designs and integrated branding systems. Pease has developed identity and branding systems, promotional materials, environmental graphics, packaging and publication designs for a broad range of clients that includes, among others, Broadway Festival of South Florida, IDGMI at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Show in NYC, Pinta Art Fair in NYC and London, Guggenheim Partners in NYC, Publicitas, the Mc. Donald Foundation, American Express Latinoamérica, Lufthansa Cargo, Corpevents and Varta Batteries. Her graphic identities for Selecciones Reader’s Digest as a worldwide Art Director of the newsstand covers in Spanish have become case studies for magazine design.
During her career, Pease has been the recipient of many industry awards and honors. She received the Xposé gold and silver awards in branding and packaging design from the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). Her work has been exhibited and published in Fresh Ideas in Letterhead Design by Rockport and PRINT magazine.
Most recently, Pease has become a design contributor on effects of the reversal of post-colonialism and color perception in native communities such as the Palenqueros in Colombia, the Paukartambians in Perú, and the Guaraníes in Argentina. These multidisciplinary projects of articles, films, prints and installations bring attention to marginalized native communities of South America creating a dialogue on color aesthetics and perceptions. She collaborated on a documentary and book Paukartambo (2016).
Pease’s academic interests take her to intensive design inquiries at the Academy of Art & Design in Basel, Switzerland. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Multimedia Design and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in design from the University of Miami. She is a member of the AIGA, American Institute of Graphic Arts, Art Directors Club Global, Florida Art Education Association FAEA.org, The College Art Association and CAA.org. She served on the board of directors of the Business Professional Women’s Club (1989-94), and was nominated “Who’s Who among International Women in Business” for her entrepreneurial contributions in the field of design (1994,1997). Pease has served on the board of Directors at the Colony Theatre in Miami Beach. She currently serves on the Miami Board of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) as Chair of Education.
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 Atacama with the University of Chile where he teaches and guides students.
Fereshteh Toosi | Assistant Professor
Fereshteh Toosi designs experiences using hybrid approaches that combine images, sounds, movement, and found materials. Fereshteh’s participatory art work takes many forms, ranging from oyster mushroom sculptures, films processed in mint tea and yeasts, and guided walks about the lithium mining industry.
Prior to joining the Communications, Architecture + The Arts Faculty at FIU, Fereshteh taught at Columbia College Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Syracuse University. Fereshteh studied at Oberlin College and Carnegie Mellon University, where she earned an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art. She also holds a certificate in Environmental Urban Design from Archeworks in Chicago and is an active member of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides, the American Horticultural Therapy Association, and the National Association for Interpretation.
Fereshteh is the recipient of grants and residencies from the the Experimental Sound Studio, the Experimental Television Center, the Flaherty Film Seminar, and the Society for Contemporary Craft.
She has participated in the Megapolis Audio Festival, Toronto’s Subtle Technologies Festival, the Performance Studies International Conference, and the Borscht Festival in Miami. Fereshteh’s work has been shown at the Freies Museum in Berlin, Morono Kiang Gallery in Los Angeles, Art in General in New York, La Centrale Galerie in Montréal, Hallwalls in Buffalo, the Boston Center for the Arts, and many other galleries, festivals, and conferences.
Barbara Watts | Associate Professor: Art History
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)
Dr. Lidu Yi is a historian of Chinese art and architecture specializing in Chinese visual art and material culture. Yi earned both her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Toronto in Canada. Before joining the faculty of the College of Communications, Architecture and The Arts here, she was the visiting Gretta Chambers chair professor at McGill University for two years.
Dr. Yi’s research interests are two-fold: Buddhist rock-cut cave-chapel art, architecture and archaeology, and contemporary art in China. Currently, Yi is particularly interested in art, archaeology and liturgy of Buddhist sanctuaries of medieval China. Her book, Yungang: Art, History, Archaeology and Liturgy (Routledge, 2017), is a comprehensive examination of a fifth-century rock-cut cave-chapel complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the greatest Buddhist monuments of all time, Yungang. It asks why, when and under what circumstances this impressive cave sanctuary was made, who played significant roles at various stages. Her initial question was what Yungang was like in the fifth century and what were the important components of the entire complex. These led to more questions and eventually became a book.
Currently, Yi has two on-going research projects in China, one is the examination of the Binglingsi rock-cut cave monastery on the Silk Road, and the other studies the relatively unknown small caves in Shanxi Province. The former is the subject of the current book manuscript project.
Dr. Yi is also working on a book project, Xu Bing—Background Stories, which explores a series of landscape works by Xu Bing (1955-), a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award and one of the greatest contemporary artists today. Xu began the series in 2004 for the Museum of East Asian Art in Berlin. Most of the paintings in the museum, however, were taken away by the Russian Red Army At the end of World War II. Inspired by the background stories of the paintings, and Chinese traditional masterpieces, Xu made re-creations of them in his “Background Stories” series, which were not made on traditional xuan paper or silk. Rather they were made of recycled material such as dry plants, hemp fibers, crumpled paper and corn husks, which were placed on a frosted glass illuminated from the back. The work, seen from the front, looks like the traditional Chinese landscape painting of rocks, mountains, pavilions, trees and fisherman’s boats, but from behind, the illusion is shattered. In essence, this series is the art of illumination.
Women artists and art collections in late imperial and early modern China are my interests as well. Yi 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.
Dr. Yi taught a wide range of courses:
• 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
Benjamin Zellmer Bellas | Assistant Professor | Coordinator of the Foundations Program
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 Post, WAMU 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.
Sabine Bittel | Art Education
Maria Brito | Ceramics
Jesse Brody | Jewelry, Small Metals
Helen P. Burgos | Figure Drawing
Dawn Chan | Writing Contemporary Art
Stephanie Chancy | Art History
Roxana Corradino | Art History
Rolando Dal Pezzo | Photography
Evelyn Davila | Art Education
Susan Feliciano | Art Education
Priscilla Forthman | Photography
Lorna Galloway | 2D Design
Nick Gilmore | Printmaking
Ivania Guerrero | Ceramics
Joel Hollander | Art History
Eduardo Lacayo | Art Education
Mabel Morales | Art Education
Venessa A. Monokian | Digital Photography and Social Media
Peggy Levison Nolan | Photography | MMC Photography Laboratory Supervisor
Gerald Obregon | Art Education
Neil Ramsay | Visual Arts Marketing
Lissette Schaeffler | Photography | BBC Photography Laboratory Supervisor
Lidija Slavkovic | Drawing and Painting
Noelle Theard | Art History
Michelle Weinberg | Painting
Curators in Residence