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 ecology and the environment, decolonization, political violence, and global migration. Her book Don’t Look Away: Art, Nonviolence, and Preventive Publics in Contemporary Europe (Duke University Press, 2023) examines contemporary art that grapples with cross-cultural affiliation and the active imagining of nonviolence in 21st-century Europe.

Her new research addresses questions of ecological devastation and the formation of critical publics in Southeast Asia, particularly in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Singapore. In 2022-2023, she is on sabbatical to pursue this research with an American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship and Center for Humanities & the Arts Faculty Fellowship.

Relatedly, she was co-PI for the Mellon Sawyer Seminar, “Deep Horizons: Making Visible an Unseen Spectrum of Ecological Casualties & Prospects” (2020-22), which brought together diverse, interdisciplinary researchers and makers for conversations about environmental futures, as they relate to art and visual culture, ecology, indigeneity, and climate justice. Arising out of this seminar, she co-edited an open-access volume, Deep Horizons: A Multisensory Archive of Ecological Affects and Prospects (with Erin Espelie and Bonnie Etherington, Amherst College Press, forthcoming 2023).

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, 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, Art Journal, Afterimage, 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 M.A. and Ph.D. students who engage with a diversity of topics in contemporary art and visual culture, particularly art activism and ecology.

Courses Taught:

  • Contemporary Art & the Politics of Care (graduate seminar)
  • 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)
  • Contemporary Art
  • Global Contemporary Art Since 1989
  • Contemporary Art and Ecology
  • Photography and Political Violence (capstone seminar)
  • Art, Public, Site: Imagining Place and Making Worlds (first-year seminar co-taught with Yumi Roth)