Christa Noel Robbins
Assistant Professor, Art HistoryEmail
Christa Noel Robbins is a scholar of modernist and contemporary art. She is currently completing a book manuscript, titled Unmaking the Self in Late-Modernist American Painting, which is a historical study of authorship in postwar abstract painting. Focusing on a period that spans from the late-fifties to the mid-seventies, the book describes how key Modernist figures - such as Harold Rosenberg, Agnes Martin, Kenneth Noland, the perceptual abstractionists associated with the Anonima Group, Michael Fried and Rosalind Krauss - used the medium of painting itself as a means by which to make a claim about the role authorship should play in dictating the value, significance and social impact of the art object. Two historical lenses focus this study of authorship: theories of selfhood, as they were articulated in contemporaneous psychological and sociological texts, and the history of Modernism itself, which American artists approached as a ready-made identity either imported from abroad or inherited from a previous generation.
Robbins joined the University of Virginia faculty in 2015. Before coming to UVa she was the Mellon Caltech-Huntington Postdoctoral Instructor in Art History at the California Institute of Technology. She was the advisory editor of North American modernism for the Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism and has published in the Oxford Art Journal, Art in America, Minnesota Review: A Journal of Creative and Critical Writing and caa.reviews. At UVa, her undergraduate teaching will include lecture courses on the New York School, Conceptualism and Minimalism, as well as a seminar on the theory of Medium Specificity since the mid-twentieth century.