UCCS | Department of Visual And Performing Arts




Elissa Auther

Associate Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory
Art History Program Director

Elissa Auther is an associate professor of contemporary art in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Her book, String, Felt, Thread: The Hierarchy of Art and Craft in American Art (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), examines the innovative use of fiber in American art and the impact of its elevation on the conceptual boundaries distinguishing "art" from "craft" in the post-war era. Auther has also written about and published on, among other topics, the criticism of Clement Greenberg, the history of decorative, artist produced wallpapers, and the film installations of Isaac Julien. She is the co-editor of the April 2007 special issue on feminist activist art for the National Women's Studies Association Journal. Her scholarly work has been supported by major research grants from the J. Paul Getty Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and Research Center, among others.

In 2009 she was awarded the University of Colorado's President's Diversity Award for a multi-year series of lectures and workshops for undergraduate students that highlighted the work of underrepresented minorities in the areas of contemporary experimental music, visual art, performance, and curatorial practices. This project was co-organized with her colleague in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Valerie Brodar. In addition, she co-directs "Feminism & Co.: Art, Sex, Politics," a public program at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver designed to explore feminist issues in popular culture, social policy, and art through creative forms of pedagogy. Her new book, West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America (forthcoming from University of Minnesota Press, 2011), is co-edited with Adam Lerner and focuses on the diverse visual expression of the American counterculture. Accompanying it is a major exhibition of the same title opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver in fall of 2011.

Helpful Resources & Links for Students in My Courses

General/Career Advice
C. Maranci. A Survival Guide for Art History Students (Prentice Hall, 2005).

N.E. Schlatter. Museum Careers: A Practical Guide for Students and Novices (Left Coast Press, 2009).

R. Peters. Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning an M.A. or Ph.D. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1992).

Career Alternatives for Art Historians

Art History in Just a Minute
(also available through iTunes)

Art History Club. Join by registering on the Facebook page.

Lower Division
Art History Resources on the Web
Mother of All Art History Links Resource Page

Upper Division
Voice of the Shuttle
Postmodern Thought
Feminist Theory on the Web
PBS Art21
John Cage Homepage
Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver
The NAMES Aids Quilt
The Varo Registry
The Guerilla Girls
Donald Judd's Marfa Compound
Art in Context
Contemporary African Artists
Links to Film Theory Sites


Ph.D. University of Maryland, College Park, 2000

Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies,
University of Maryland, College Park, 1996

B.A. History of Art, San Francisco State University, 1991

Selected Fellowships & Awards

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and Research Fellowship, Santa Fe, New Mexico
University of Colorado President's Diversity Award

2004 - 2005
J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Research
Fellowship in the History of Art

Smithsonian Institution Research Fellowship,
The Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

1998 - 1999
Smithsonian Institution Predoctoral Fellowship, Smithsonian American Art Museum,
Washington, D.C.

Luce Foundation Dissertation Research Grant

Maverick Scholar Grant,
Attingham Program in the Decorative Arts, London

Phi Beta Kappa

Younger Scholars' Grant,
National Endowment for the Humanities

Courses I Teach

Lower Division
• Art Matters: Reading, Writing & Research
in Art History
• Survey of Modern Art II

Upper Division
• Women, Art and Culture II Art After 1945
• Contemporary Art Theory in Contemporary Art and Visual Culture
• Women in Independent Film, Video and Digital Media
• Senior Seminar in the Practice of Art History
• Material Matters: The History of Fiber and Art from a Global Perspective