Elisa Schaar specializes in modern and contemporary art history and theory, with a focus on the relation between art and its broader social and political contexts, and particular interests in: art since the 1960s; American and German culture; modern European philosophy; the dismantling of the art medium and the rise of new media; art production under conditions of spectacle culture; and themes of time and history.
Her book project, entitled Sturtevant: Unruly Repetition, is the first book-length study of American artist Elaine Sturtevant’s work that takes into account her recent videos alongside the unsettling one-to-one repetitions of iconic works by artist peers that she started making in New York in the 1960s. By theorizing works from across her career, the manuscript shows that her conceptualist practice was a coherent one concerned with more far-reaching themes than originality and the art system, as is commonly assumed. Elisa has presented excerpts from this research in public lectures in conjunction with Sturtevant’s recent exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery, Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt, and Julia Stoschek Collection. Her most recent research, which she presented at the College Art Association Conference in 2016, continues exploring the legacy of conceptualism through the 1990s and 2000s and concerns Trisha Donnelly’s sound pieces with bell tones.
Elisa Schaar’s articles have appeared in journals including Art History and American Art and in exhibition catalogues for institutions including the Tel Aviv Art Museum and Castelli Gallery. She has also contributed exhibition reviews from London to Artforum and has recently written about Marlie Mul, Peter Coffin, Francesco Vezzoli, Gerhard Richter, and Keren Cytter.
-‘Fred Sandback’s Infrathin’, In Terms of Painting, eds. Eva Ehninger and Antje Krause-Wahl (forthcoming from Revolver Publishing, 2016)
-‘Unrecounted: Historical Amnesia in Germany and Namibia at the Venice Biennale’ ArtMargins Online (November, 2015).
Her research has been supported by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the Ruskin School of Art and a Terra Foundation for American Art Postdoctoral Fellowship at The Courtauld.