Sebastian Zeidler

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Associate Professor in the History of Art
Modern Art and Theory

M.Litt., University of Oxford, 1991
M.Phil., Columbia University, 1999
Ph.D., Columbia University, 2005

After receiving degrees in art history from Oxford and Columbia Universities, Sebastian Zeidler was a predoctoral fellow at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, and taught at Barnard College and the University of California, Berkeley. He has been teaching the history of modern art at Yale since 2008.

Zeidler’s book on Form as Revolt: Carl Einstein and the Ground of Modern Art was published by Cornell University Press in 2015. It is a study of a writer, critic, and art historian of the early twentieth century that combines several strands of Zeidler’s methodological concerns: formalism, intellectual history, the close reading of modern literature, philosophical speculation, and a politics of being.

Zeidler’s academic interests cover the full range of modern art in Europe and North America. He has taught classes on French cubism, Picasso, Matisse, the art and architecture of Soviet constructivism, twentieth-century sculpture, Documents magazine, and art historiography since Riegl and Wölfflin, among others. He has recently served on committees for dissertations on Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the Russian avant-garde, the modernist salon, the history of Documenta exhibitions, conceptual art in California, Öyvind Fahlström, and Cy Twombly.

Zeidler’s current book project considers the art of Henri Matisse through the lens of Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology. His Yale classes in 2016/17 will include a seminar on Pop Art and a lecture class on postwar art in North America and Europe since 1945.

Selected Publications
Form as Revolt: Carl Einstein and the Ground of Modern Art (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2015)

“La Grundoperation de Picasso,” in Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne 117 (Fall 2011), pp.109-125

“Form as Revolt: Carl Einstein’s Ontology of the Real and the Art of Paul Klee,” in RES: Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics 57/58 (Spring/Autumn 2010), pp.229-263

“Life and Death from Babylon to Picasso: Carl Einstein’s Ontology of Art at the Moment of Documents,” in Papers of Surrealism 5 (Winter 2007)

“Totality Against a Subject: Carl Einstein’s Negro Sculpture,” in October 107 (Winter 2004), pp.14-46; German translation in Form: Zwischen Ästhetik und künstlerischer Praxis, ed. Armen Avanessian et al. (Berlin and Zurich: Diaphanes, 2009), pp.211-238

Kunsttheorie im 20. Jahrhundert: Künstlerschriften, Kunstkritik, Kunstphilosophie, Manifeste, Statements, Interviews, 2 vols., ed. Charles Harrison and Paul Wood, with contributions by Sebastian Zeidler (Stuttgart: Hatje, 1998; 2003)

Recent and Upcoming Talks

“Matisse’s Lifeworld” and “Secularity at Vence,” Universität Basel, NFS Bildkritik Eikones, November 2016

“Rethinking the Image in 1906,” Rethinking Pictures conference, Paris, Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte / Terra Foundation for American Art, May 2016

“The Visuality of Time in Husserl and Matisse,” Halifax, Universities Art Association of Canada, Imaging Temporality panel, November 2015