Dean Sobel
Associate Professor of the Practice of Art History and Museum Studies
2024 Speaker

Dean Sobel is a college professor, former museum executive and a specialist in 20th-century art. He is an associate professor of the practice of art history and museum studies at the University of Denver.  

Before joining the DU faculty in 2020, Sobel enjoyed a 33-year art museum career, creating an entirely new institution from “whole cloth,” the acclaimed Clyfford Still Museum in Denver.  He was also director/chief curator at the Aspen Art Museum (2000–05) and chief curator/curator of contemporary art at the Milwaukee Art Museum (1987–2000).

Sobel has taught, published and lectured extensively. As a curator, he organized and circulated major one-artist and thematic exhibitions featuring a range of modern and contemporary artists and subjects. Those projects include retrospectives of Vito Acconci and Jackie Winsor; one-artist projects with Louise Bourgeois, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Stan Douglas, Thomas Demand and Olafur Eliasson; and the group shows From Figure to Floor: Sculpture in the 20th Century and 25 Americans: Painting in the 90s. Among his many acquisitions were major works by Bill Viola, Kiki Smith, Robert Gober, Glenn Ligon and Felix Gonzalez-Torres.