Art History

‘In These Times: The Intricate Riddle of Life’

The first three episodes of the Omnia podcast’s fourth season discuss the link between making art and making meaning, and how creativity shines a light on the way out of adversity in tough times, past and present.

Keepers of the cultural memory

In wartime, saving human lives is a top priority. But secondary considerations often include preserving the cultural heritage also under siege. Penn experts offer their thoughts as the situation in Ukraine continues to unfold.

Michele W. Berger

The philosophy of visual studies

Founded 20 years ago, the interdisciplinary major of visual studies creates a bridge for students to combine interests, including philosophy, art history, architecture, fine arts, and psychology.

Louisa Shepard



Media Contact


In the News


WHYY (Philadelphia)

Penn has the same sculpture that just won a major prize at Venice Biennale 

Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw of the School of Arts & Sciences can see the Brick House sculpture from her office window and comments that it has become an iconic work of art on the campus at Penn.

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Slate.com

The great Helga hype

Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about the painter Andrew Wyeth. “His work was so out of fashion that it never went out of fashion. It was consistently American,” she said. “Wyeth had a really strong, enduring appeal.”

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The New York Times

Shining a light on forgotten designers

ICA Director Zoë Ryan spoke about the legacy of Anna Russell Jones, the first African American graduate of Moore College of Art & Design. Jones designed rugs and wallpaper and went on to become a graphic designer for the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in World War II and illustrated medical procedures at Howard University College of Medicine. “Though she was accomplished, her path was not easy,” Ryan said.

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The New York Times

John Singer Sargent’s secret muse

Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw of the School of Arts and Sciences spoke about the practice of updating information about well-known artworks in museum wall labels and catalogs. “Curators and art historians have been interested in trying to reveal more—in part because there’s more interest in having a robust understanding of the past,” she said.

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The New York Times

One fateful night with Donny Hathaway

Guthrie Ramsey of the School of Arts and Sciences said that when evaluating artists with mental illnesses, “we should simply put it into context, like we do other aspects of their upbringing, rather than making it some mysterious gift that they seem to be bestowed.”

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The New York Times

How a businesswoman became a voice for art’s black models

Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw of the School of Arts and Sciences spoke about the importance of contextualizing “African-American art and visual culture and artistic production.” She went on to note that many black students may not pursue the field of art history due to poor representation in faculty and curriculum.

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