University of Pittsburgh
May 9, 2007

Pitt Art History Professor Named National Humanities Center Fellow


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—Terry Smith, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Pittsburgh, has been named a Fellow at the National Humanities Center in Durham, N.C., for the 2007-08 academic year.

Smith, whose research interests include world contemporary art, American visual cultures since 1870, and Australian art, including Aboriginal art, is one of 37 Fellows selected from a pool of 400 international applicants.

Smith's project at the center will focus on the topic of his newest book, Contemporaneity, to be published by Duke University Press in late 2008. This book explores the role of world-picturing and representations of locality within current debates in the mass media, as well as in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. Smith will test the hypothesis that a distinctively contemporary set of configurations have come to replace the generalizations in widespread recent use: those referred to by such terms as modernity, postmodernism, and globalization.

Before taking up his fellowship, Smith will serve a term as Chercheur Invité at the Institut national d'histoire de l'art, Paris. While at the institute, he will conduct a colloquium on his recent work on the challenges and opportunities of writing the history of contemporary art. One of the Institut's research programs is the history of art history; Smith will be the first scholar to address contemporary art in this context.

Prior to his position at Pitt, Smith was the Power Professor of Contemporary Art and director of the Power Institute Foundation for Art and Visual Culture at the University of Sydney. He was a member of Art & Language, a group of conceptual artists, and a founder of Union Media Services in Sydney—a design studio specializing in trade union art initiatives. A foundation board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Smith also is on the board of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. He is the author of The Architecture of Aftermath (University of Chicago Press, 2006) and What Is Contemporary Art? (University of Chicago Press, anticipated 2007), and has written and edited many other publications.

This is the thirtieth class of the National Humanities Center Fellows since the center opened in 1978. A privately incorporated independent institute for advanced study in the humanities, the center is located on the campus of the Triangle Universities Center, Inc, a consortium of Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.