Kevin Chua (Ph.D.)
Associate Professor in 18th- & 19th- century European Art + Contemporary Asian Art
Dr Kevin Chua specializes in the history of 18th- and 19th-century European art, with an emphasis on French painting. With a PhD in the History of Art from the University of California at Berkeley, Dr Chua has held fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in Washington, DC, and at the Center for 17th- and 18th-century Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has published essays on Jean-Baptiste Greuze (in French Genre Painting in the Eighteenth Century, Yale University Press, 2007), Anne-Louis Girodet (in Vital Matters, ed. Helen Deutsch and Mary Terrall, University of Toronto Press, 2012), and Jacques-Louis David (in Representations, vol. 121, Winter 2013), and is currently working on a book-length project on vitalism and painting in mid-18th century France. Dr Chua also writes on modern and contemporary art in Southeast Asia, and has published essays on Simryn Gill, Ho Tzu Nyen, Donna Ong, the Migrant Ecologies Project, 1950s Nanyang painting, and the politics of animality in 19th-century Singapore. His research and teaching interests include modernity as a global condition, trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific visual culture, scientific visual culture – especially with regard to vitalism, second-order cybernetics, and posthumanism – and art-historical methodology.
Selected writings are available here.
ARTH 2302 Survey II – A broad survey of art produced in Western Europe c. 1400-1900. The course explores “realism” in all its complexity: why was it such a compelling mode of picturing or representing the world? By making periodic stops at various zones of contact between Europeans and other cultures around the world, not only do we examine modernity as a global condition, we begin to derive an anthropology of Western realism.
ARTH 3366 Black Atlantic: Art and Global Empire, 1650-1850 – This course examines the complicated and conflict-ridden period that saw the rise and fall of colonial slavery in the French and British empires. By looking at art and visual culture produced in France, England, the Carribbean, and the eastern seaboard of the United States, we will explore the diverse ways in which the Atlantic economy was given visual form, and try to put “capitalism” and “empire” back into the problem of slavery. How do we understand the geographical basis of artifacts produced in the circum-Atlantic? If representation presumes a notion of subjecthood and citizenship, how was representation as such challenged by the colonial encounter?
ARTH 3366 Spectacle and Modernity: Art and Visual Culture in France and England, 1851-1914 – This course examines art and visual culture in France and England from the Great Exhibition to the beginning of the first World War, in terms of spectacle and commodity culture. By carefully looking at “high” Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painting, at “low” visual culture produced around bohemian Montmartre, and at the new ways of seeing brought about by technological developments such as the cinema, we will come to understand art and visual culture’s complicity in, and resistance to, the new regime of consumption.
ARTH 5308 Theories and Methods in Art History – Examines methodological approaches in art history, from Winckelmann, Kant, Hegel, Riegl and Panofsky, to Baxandall, Clark, and Summers. How was the early, foundational phase of art history (late-18th century to c. 1960s) challenged by the “New Art History” of the late-20th century, especially with regards to claims of race, class, and gender? The course argues for the continuing relevance of pre-1970s art historians such as Riegl and Panofsky to the practice of art history today, and for the indispensability of historiography to art-historical method. We will also unpack several rifts – “tradition” versus “modernity,” “West” versus “non-West” – that have dogged, and structured, art-historical methodology. Especially relevant for MA students in Art History.