History of Art and Architecture

Terry Smith

Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory

Area of Specialization

Contemporary Art of the World


Past PhD(s): Henry Skerritt, Jessica Gogan, Nadav Hochman, Cristina Albu, Robert Bailey, Carolyn Butler-Palmer, Brianne Cohen, Izabel Galliera, Miguel Rojas-Sotelo, Madeline Eschenburg, Nicole F. Scalissi, Ben Ogrodnik ; See a listing of Past PhDs for details

TERRY SMITH, FAHA, CIHA, is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh, and Professor in the Division of Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought at the European Graduate School. He is also Faculty at Large in the Curatorial Program of the School of Visual Arts, New York. From 2011 to 2014 he was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National Institute for Experimental Arts, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney. He was the 2010 winner of the Franklin Jewett Mather Award for art criticism conferred by the College Art Association (USA), and in 2011 received the Australia Council Visual Arts Laureate Award. In 2014 he was a Clark Fellow at the Sterling and Francine Clark Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 2007-8 the GlaxoSmithKlein Senior Fellow at the National Humanities Research Centre, Raleigh-Durham, and in 2001-2002 he was a Getty Scholar at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles. From 1994 to 2001 he was Power Professor of Contemporary Art and Director of the Power Institute, Foundation for Art and Visual Culture, University of Sydney. He was a member of the Art & Language group (New York) and a founder of Union Media Services (Sydney). During the 1970s he was art critic at these Australian newspapers: Weekend Australian, Nation Review, Times on Sunday; he continues to write for art journals and magazines throughout the world. A foundation Board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and from 2004 to 2014 Board member of the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, he is currently a member of the Board of the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. In 1996 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a Membré Titulaire of the Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art.

His major research interests are contemporary art of the world, including its institutional and social contexts; the histories of multiple modernities and modernisms; the history and theory of contemporaneity; and the historiography of art history and art criticism. He has special expertise in international contemporary art (practice, theory, institutions, markets), American visual cultures since 1870, and Australia art since settlement, including Aboriginal art. Current graduate students under his supervision are working on topics such as critical global practices, new media art, alternative avant-gardes, artists’ collectives, the history of conceptualism, aspects of cultural policy, and histories of art writing. He teaches the undergraduate course Introduction to Contemporary Art, and a graduate seminar on theories of modernity and contemporaneity.

Education Details

PhD, Sydney University

Selected Publications

Art to Come: Histories of Contemporary Art (Duke University Press, 2019)

One and Five Ideas: On Conceptual Art and Conceptualism, edited and introduced by Robert Bailey (Duke University Press, 2017)

The Contemporary Composition (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2016), vol. 2 in the series The Contemporary Condition, edited by Jacob Lund and Geoff Cox, Aarhus University and the Arhos Art Museum, Aarhus

Talking Contemporary Curating (New York: Independent Curators International, 2015) Introduction; “The Discourse,” conversations with Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Boris Groys, Okwui Enwezor, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Claire Bishop, Zdenka Badovinac, Mami Kataoka, Mari Carmen Ramírez, Germano Celant, Jens Hofmann, Zoe Butt, and Maria Lind

Savremena umetnost I savremenost: zbirka eseja [Contemporary Art and Contemporaneity: Collected Essays] (Orion Publishers: Belgrade, 2014), translated into Serbian by Andriji Filipovic

Sodobna Umetnost in Sodobnos: Zbirka Esjeci [Contemporary Art and Contemporaneity: Collected Essays] (Ljubljana: SDLK, Slovensko drustvo likovnih kritikov [Slovenian Society of Critical Aesthetics], 2013)

Thinking Contemporary Curating (New York: Independent Curators International, 2012).

Contemporary Art: World Currents (London: Laurence King; Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2011).

What is Contemporary Art? (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009)

Editor with Nancy Condee and Okwui Enwezor, Antinomies of Art and Culture: Modernity, postmodernity and contemporaneity (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008)

The Architecture of Aftermath (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006)

Editor, Contemporary Art + Philanthropy (Sydney: University of NSW Press, 2007)

Editor, with Paul Patton, Jacques Derrida, Deconstruction Engaged: The Sydney Seminars (Sydney: Power Publications, 2001; Japanese edition: Tokyo, Midori, 2006)

Transformations, vol. 1, Nineteenth Century Australian Art: Landscape, Colony and Nation; vol. 2. Twentieth Century Australian Art: Modernism and Aboriginality (Sydney: Craftsman House, 2002)

What Is Contemporary Art? Contemporary Art, Contemporaneity and Art to Come (Sydney: Artspace Critical Issues Series, 2001)

Editor, Impossible Presence: Surface and Screen in the Photogenic Era (Sydney: Power Publications; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001)

Editor, First People, Second Chance: The Humanities and Aboriginal Australia (Canberra: Australian Academy of the Humanities, 1999)

Editor, with Jennifer Allison, Katherine Gregouras, and George Symons, From Vision to Sesquicentenary, The University of Sydney through its Art Collection (Sydney: Standing Committee of Convocation of the University of Sydney, 1999)

Editor, In Visible Touch: Modernism and Masculinity (Sydney: Power Publications, 1997; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998)

Editor, Ideas of the University (Sydney: Research Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences and Power Publications, 1996)

Making the Modern: Industry, Art and Design in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993)

Selected Awards

Australia Council Visual Arts Award, 2010

Franklin Jewlett Mather Award for Art Criticism, College Art Association, 2010                      

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Prize for the Best Book on American Modern Art (for Making the Modern: Industry, Art and Design in America, 1993), inaugural prize, 2009

Art Association of Australia and New Zealand/Power Institute Prize for Best Book on Art 2003 for Transformations in Australian Art, volumes 1 and 2 (Sydney: Craftsman House, 2002), joint award, 2003

Current projects

Convener, “Defining Contemporaneity, Imagining Planetarity,” a four year workshop, conference, exhibition and publication project supported by the Humanities Center, University of Pittsburgh, and the Humanities Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, 2011-14

“The Reinvention of Landscape in the Digital Era,” Partner Investigator with Jeffrey Shaw and Johnny Chang, City University, Hong Kong, in a five year conference, exhibition and publication program led by Dennis del Favero, iCinema Center, University of New South Wales, Sydney, under grants from the Australian Research Council Discovery Project, 2011-15

“Critical Languages for New Media Arts: Digital Arts Edition,” a five year conference, exhibition and publication program under grants from the School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Zentrum für Media und Kunst, Karlsruhe, and iCinema Centre, University of New South Wales, 2009-2014