Brianne Cohen
Assistant Professor • Contemporary Art
Art History

Brianne Cohen’s research and teaching focuses on contemporary art and visual culture in the public sphere. From participatory art to lens-based activism, she explores artistic practices concerned with global migration, postcolonial histories, political violence, and ecology and environmentalism. Her book project, “Preventive Publics: Contemporary Art and the Idea of Europe,” examines contemporary art that grapples with cross-cultural affiliation in 21st-century Europe.

Her new research addresses questions of ecological devastation and the formation of critical publics in Southeast Asia. Relatedly, she is co-PI for the Mellon Sawyer Seminar, “Deep Horizons: Making Visible an Unseen Spectrum of Ecological Casualties & Prospects” (2020-22), which will bring together diverse, interdisciplinary researchers and makers for a year-long seminar focused on questions of art and visual culture, ecology, indigeneity, and climate justice.

Before coming to Boulder, she taught as a visiting assistant professor at Amherst College and Brown University. After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012, she also held a joint postdoctoral fellowship at the Université Catholique de Louvain and Lieven Gevaert Centre in Belgium. From this research, she co-edited a book, The Photofilmic: Entangled Images in Contemporary Art and Visual Culture (Leuven University Press and Cornell University Press, 2016), and she has also published in journals such as Representations (forthcoming), the Journal of European Studies, Third Text, and Image [&] Narrative. Professor Cohen received her M.A. from the Courtauld Institute of Art and her B.A. from Pomona College.

She enjoys working with students who engage with a diversity of topics in contemporary art and visual culture, although she is particularly interested in working with MA or PhD students who could contribute to the 2020-22 Mellon Sawyer Seminar.

Courses Taught:

  • Contemporary Art
  • Eco-Aesthetics
  • Photography and Political Violence (capstone seminar)
  • Art, Public, Site: Imagining Place and Making Worlds (first-year seminar co-taught with Yumi Roth)
  • Art, Ecology, and Climate Justice (graduate seminar)
  • Art in the Public Sphere (graduate seminar)
  • Theories of Art History/Research and Methodologies (graduate seminar, cross-enrolled with Critical Media Practices