Department of Art & Art History

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Visual Arts Complex
Visual Arts Complex
photo of Brianne

B.A. Art History, Pomona College, 2004
M.A. Contemporary Art History, Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 2005
Ph.D. Contemporary Art History, University of Pittsburgh, 2012
curriculum vitae

Brianne Cohen

Assistant Professor, Art History Contemporary Art

My research and teaching focuses on contemporary art in the public sphere. From participatory art to lens-based activism, I examine artistic practices particularly concerned with global migration, postcolonial histories, political violence, and ecology and environmentalism.

Before coming to Boulder, I taught as a visiting assistant professor at Amherst College and Brown University. After receiving my PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012, I also held a joint postdoctoral fellowship at the Université catholique de Louvain and Lieven Gevaert Centre in Belgium. From this research, I co-edited a book, The Photofilmic: Entangled Images in Contemporary Art and Visual Culture (Leuven University Press and Cornell University Press, 2016).

I am currently completing a book manuscript, “Preventive Publics: Contemporary Art and the Idea of Europe.” This book examines contemporary art that grapples with cross-cultural affiliation in 21st-century Europe. Centered around the art of Harun Farocki, Thomas Hirschhorn, and the artist collective Henry VIII’s Wives, it charts a shifting generational outlook on transnational European identification, from post-Holocaust unification and decolonization, to more recently contested issues of secularism, globalization, and refugee movement. I address how artists are modeling and instantiating plural publics among masses of strangers in order to prevent sociopolitical violence.

I am also in the early stages of another book project related to visual-material questions of ecological devastation in Southeast Asia. Tentatively titled “Public Matters: Environmental Violence and Lens-Based Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia,” this study investigates creative documentary artwork that catalyzes translocal protest and raises global publicity against environmental destruction in the region.

Selected Publications:

The Photofilmic: Entangled Images in Contemporary Art and Visual Culture, co-editor with Alexander Streitberger (Leuven: University of Leuven Press, 2016). Includes my essay, “Eco-Aesthetics, Massacres, and the Photofilmic.”

“The Vanishing Vanishing-Point: Violence Prevention through Civil Imagination,” Journal for European Studies (December 2017).

“From Silence to Babel: Farocki’s Image Infoscape,” in New Silent Cinema, eds Katherine Groo and Paul Flaig (London: Routledge/AFI, 2015).

“Burning Cars, Caricatures, and Glub: Negotiating Photofilmic Images in a New Europe,” Third Text, vol. 28, no. 2 (Mar 2014): 190-202.


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