Alexander Potts

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Alexander Potts

Max Loehr Collegiate Professor

Office Location(s): 170D Tappan Hall
Office Hours: T 4:30-5:30pm & Th 2-3pm
Phone: 734.615.6042
adpotts@umich.edu
View Curriculum Vitae

  • Fields of Study
    • Modern art and theories of art
    • History of sculpture
  • About

    Alex Potts’ work on art and artistic theory covers a number of areas - sculptural aesthetics and the history of sculpture, experimental practices and the aesthetics of realism in twentieth-century art, art and artistic theory in the nineteenth century, and Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment conceptions of the classical ideal. His main publication on the latter was his book Flesh and the Ideal. Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History (1994). In addition to the book The Sculptural Imagination: Figurative, Modernist, Minimalist (2000), his work on sculpture includes a co-edited anthology of texts on modern sculpture, The Modern Sculpture Reader (2007; reissued 2012), and articles on David Smith, Alberto Giacometti and other twentieth-century sculptors. In his more recent research he has been arguing for the larger significance of experimental forms of realism in post-war European and American art. This was the subject of the Slade Lectures in Fine Art he gave at the University of Oxford in 2008 and of the Kirk Varnedoe Memorial Lectures at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, in 2009, and also of his book, Experiments in Modern Realism: World Making, Politics and the Everyday in Postwar European and American Art, published by Yale University Press in 2013. The latter examines a variety of different kinds of art, from the postwar painting of De Kooning and Dubuffet to New Brutalist and Pop image and object making and actions and assemblages of artists such as Rauschenberg and Beuys. In his current project, he is exploring ways in which political commitment informed conceptions of naturalism and realism as well as more abstract forms of representation in the art of the late-nineteenth and earlier-twentieth centuries.

  • Education
    • PhD University of London (Warburg Institute)
  • Selected Publications:
  • Books
  • Articles
  • Book Chapters