Professor of Art History
With Pitzer Since: 2006
PhD, American Studies, University of Minnesota
BFA, MA, Art History, University of Colorado, Boulder
Bill Anthes is a professor in the Art Field Group at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. With a background in studio art, art history and the interdisciplinary field of American Studies, he teaches and writes about art in terms of multimedia practice and intercultural exchange. His current research focuses on global indigenous modern and contemporary art in the Americas, Africa, and the Pacific, de-colonial methodologies for art history in settler nations such as the United States, Canada, South African, Australia, and New Zealand, and artistic engagements with animals and nonhuman nature. He is author of the books Native Moderns: American Indian Painting, 1940-1960 (Duke University Press, 2006) and Edgar Heap of Birds (Duke University Press, 2015). He is also contributing author to the textbook Reframing Photography: Theory and Practice, by Rebekah Modrak (Routledge, 2010). He has received fellowships and awards from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center, the Center for the Arts in Society at Carnegie Mellon University, the Rockefeller Foundation/Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and the Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the journal American Indian Quarterly.
The study of the history and theory of art, as part of the Pitzer art major, invites students to understand and develop innovative and interdisciplinary methods, and a global and historical outlook attuned to issues of difference and power as they are expressed by and also formed by works of art, visual, and material culture. Like my research, my teaching reflects a range and an interdisciplinary scope that I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to develop as a faculty member at Pitzer. I currently teach courses in contemporary art history and theory (primarily post-1945), in which I have worked to bring a global perspective into focus. I also teach courses in Native North American art and visual/material culture, including a survey that encompasses pre-contact traditions through the present day, courses in 20th-21st century Native arts, and an object-oriented research seminar focused on the collections of historic material in the Pomona College Museum of Art. I also teach in Pitzer’s First Year Seminar program, offering writing intensive courses on topics such as Writing About Art. In my classes and seminars, I welcome students from all backgrounds and fields of study, because the study of art, visual, and material culture is inherently interdisciplinary. Whether they are enrolled in an introductory level survey class based around slide lectures, or an advanced seminar pursuing their own individual research projects, students develop a facility with the foundational skills of observation, description, and visual analysis, and also learn to find critical and historical frameworks for interpretation, understanding, and argument.