AnnMarie Perl  Lecturer


AnnMarie Perl

LecturerModern and Contemporary


Ph.D., Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, 2014

AnnMarie Perl specializes in the history of 20th-century art, with a particular emphasis on French and American art created after the Second World War. Her research focuses on how modern art relates to the larger culture, including its political and social dimensions, in different national contexts. She is currently completing a book manuscript, entitled The Integration of Showmanship into Modern Art, which demonstrates that over the course of the 1950s, through the competition and collaboration of rival artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Georges Mathieu, and Yves Klein, showmanship became essential to modern art and convincingly avant-garde. This transformation occurred in France, where there were deep artistic traditions of political engagement, social criticism, and interplay with popular culture. Although modern artists were elsewhere also pressured to put their working processes on display and thus to act as performing artists in the early postwar period, only in France did modern artists deliberately adopt modes of popular cultural performance in order to produce artworks of broader cultural, political and social significance. The phenomenon that this book identifies, explains and examines would have major and lasting impact worldwide, including upon contemporary art. 

Prior to coming to Princeton, Perl was a Craig Hugh Smyth Fellow at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She was also a doctoral fellow of the Remarque Institute at the École Normale Supérieure, Paris (fall 2012). Her doctoral research was supported by several fellowships and grants at New York University and was conducted in museums, libraries, and archives throughout Europe and the U.S., as well as through personal interviews in France and the U.S. She has presented her research at international and domestic conferences and was the co-organizer of the Artists at the Institute lecture series at the Institute of Fine Arts. She has written articles on topics ranging from the mutual influence of Ottoman miniatures and Hungarian woodcuts in the 16th century (in Beyond Boundaries: East & West Cross-Cultural Encounters, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011) to the showmanship of Yves Klein’s debut performance of the Anthropometries in 1960 (forthcoming in Thresholds, MIT Department of Architecture).

Teaching Interests

Perl has previously taught the Western Art survey course, spanning the Renaissance and contemporary periods, in the Department of Art History at New York University. At Princeton, she will teach Art 214, a survey of contemporary art from 1950 to the present, in spring 2015. Her courses emphasize the art object in lectures, group visits to nearby and local museums, and assignments that involve close looking. In addition to visual analysis, historical analysis is also stressed, with different types of sources and approaches to the study of the period highlighted.

Current Research

In addition to the above book, Perl is working on three articles: on the postwar avant-garde in Paris and its relation to the historical avant-gardes; on the British artists Gilbert and George, with a focus on the political and social relevance of their work in the 1970s and 1980s; and on the American artist Jeff Koons, and in particular the critique of criticality that he developed in the mid-1980s.