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Emily Braun

Distinguished Professor, Hunter College and the Graduate Center

Prof. Braun’s research interests are interdisciplinary and focus on the interaction between political ideologies and visual representation. She has written extensively on twentieth century Italian art and Fascist culture, including her book, Mario Sironi and Italian Modernism: Art and Politics under Fascism (Cambridge University Press: 2000). Several of her essays also analyze the construction of gender and otherness in belles-lettres art criticism.  Her essays and reviews have been featured in the Times Literary SupplementModernism/modernity, Journal of Contemporary History, Art in America, Art Journal, Arts Magazine and the Short Oxford History of Italy. She is an active curator and has contributed to numerous museum exhibition catalogues in Great Britain, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Her awards include a Fellowship from the New York Public Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers (2002-2003) and a Senior Research Grant from the Getty Foundation (1993). She has twice received the annual Henry Allen Moe Prize from the New York State Historical Association for the best art catalogue: as a contributing author to Northern Light: Realism and Symbolism in Scandinavian Painting (1982) and co-author of Gardens and Ghettos: The Art of Jewish Life in Italy (1990). The Power of Conversation: Jewish Women and their Salons, for which she was the co-curator and co-author, won a National Jewish Book Award for 2005. Her recent research includes, ““Ornament as Evolution: Gustav Klimt and Berta Zuckerkandl,” which documents the influence of Darwin’s theory of evolutionary biology on the art of Gustav Klimt (in Gustav Klimt The Ronald S. Lauder and Serge Sabarsky Collections. (New York: Neue Galerie and Prestel Verlag, 2007).

Braun’s lectures and seminars at Hunter College and the Graduate Center include: Themes from the fin-de-siècle (Symbolism); Cubism; Futurism; Picasso; Giorgio de Chirico and Metaphysical Art; Art and Totalitarianism; Twentieth Century Italian Art; Post-War Europe: Trauma and Recovery; The Modern Tradition of Portraiture; Theory of the Avant-garde; Art and Commodity; Modernism and Post-Modernism. Braun emphasizes writing skills among her students and M.A. theses candidates and regularly teaches the foundational Research Methods course.  She also organizes seminars around her curatorial and research projects and is currently at work on a cultural history of the fine arts in immediate post-World War II Europe.

Books and Edited Volumes:

The Power of Conversation: Jewish Women and their Salons, co-authored with Emily Bilski (Yale University Press: 2005).

Mario Sironi and Italian Modernism: Art and Politics under Fascism (Cambridge University Press, 2000). (Italian edition: Mario Sironi: Arte e politica in Italia sotto il fascismo [Bollati Boringhieri, Turin, 2003]).

Editor, Giorgio de Chirico and America. (Umberto Allemandi: 1996).

Editor, From Manet to Matisse: The Hillman Family Collection. (Perpetua Press), 1994.

Racemi d'oro: Il mosaico di Sironi nel Palazzo dell'Informazione, (Immobiliare Metanopoli, 1992).

Editor, Italian Art in the 20th Century, (The Royal Academy and Prestel Verlag, 1989).
(Italian Edition: Arte italiana del XX secolo. Pittura e scultura, 1900-1988. [Leonardo Mondadori, 1989]).

Thomas Hart Benton: The America Today Murals, co-authored with Thomas Branchick, (Williams College Museum of Art), 1985.

Selected Publications since 2005: 
 “Bodies from the Crypt and Other Tales of Italian Sculpture between the Wars,” in Choas and Classicism. (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum,New York, 2010).
“I Saluti dell’amico lontano” (“Greetings from a Distant Friend”) in La Natura secondo de Chirico, (Palazzo delle Esposizione, Rome, 2010.) 
“Théâtre d’ombres: Picasso et Chirico,” in Giorgio de Chirico, la fabrique des rêves. (Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2009).

“Skinning the Paint” (Post-war British art) in Paint Made Flesh, (Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, 2009).

“L’Arte dell’Italia fascista: Il totalitarismo fra teoria e practica,” in Emilio Gentile, ed. Modernità totalitaria: Il fascismo italiano. (Rome: Laterza Editore, 2008).

“Mario Merz: Ethnographer of the Everyday,” in Mario Merz: The Magnolia Table. (Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York 2007).

“The Devil Wore Balla” Rett Kopi, (Oslo) (Summer 2007).  Special issue on the Manifesto, edited by Ellef Prestæter and Karin Nygård.

“Carnal Knowledge,” in Modigliani and his Models.  (Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2006).

“Leonardo’s Smile,” Donatello among the Blackshirts: The Visual Culture of Fascist Italy, eds. Claudia Lazzaro and Roger Crum. Cornell:  Cornell University Press, 2005. 

Recent News (Lectures and Conferences):

In 2009 Braun embarked on a collaboration with Performa for performance Biennale centered around the centennial of the Futurist movement. She organized the symposium Shock and Awe: The Troubling Legacy of the Futurist Cult of War at the Kaye Theatre, co-sponsored by The Roosevelt House for Public Policy at Hunter College, Hunter College Department of Art, and Performa 2009, November 11, 2009. The symposium focused on the less studied and controversial aspects of Futurist ideology and the role of military theory in developing their aero-movement of the 1930s. A roster of ten international scholars from across the humanities and social sciences examined how and why modernism in painting, sculpture, literature, photography and film was used to legitimize and celebrate modern warfare, especially dominance from the air. 
Two links to this:

  1. Shock and Awe: The Troubling Legacy of the Futurist Cult of War ...

Program: Shock and Awe: The Futurist Vision of the Air Emily Braun, Distinguished Professor, Hunter College Postal Bombs: Futurist Propaganda Lynda Klich, ... - Cached - Similar

  1. Shock & Awe Symposium – a review

Dec 17, 2009 ... Overall, the symposium “Shock and Awe: The Troubling Legacy of the Futurist Cult of War,” organized by Mimi Braun, was full of enlightening ... - Cached - Similar

Braun was also invited to give a paper, “Making Waves: Giacomo Balla and Emilio Pucci,” forThe 1960s Revisited: Fashion, Cinema, Urban Space, in March 2010. Organized by Eugenia Paulicelli, Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature, at the Graduate Center, the international symposium wasCo-sponsored by Center for Fashion Studies at the University of Stockholm, and Concentration in Fashion Studies, Women’s Studies, Film Studies, and the Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

In April 2010, Professor Braun was an Invited Respondent for the symposium Visual Culture in Italy and Germany after Dictatorship and War organized by historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat for the Casa Italiana, New York University.

This spring she chaired the session on : "Visual Cultures of the Risorgimento,” at the International Symposium, “Mediating the Risorgimento,” Brown University  April 2011.