Elisa Schaar (AB Harvard, DPhil Oxford) is a Visiting Tutor in History and Theory at the Ruskin.
She specializes in American and European art since the 1960s. Her book project, entitled Sturtevant: Unruly Repetition, is the first book-length study of the American artist Elaine Sturtevant’s work that takes into account her recent videos alongside the repetitions of 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 exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery, Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt, and Julia Stoschek Collection.
Elisa has published articles and exhibition catalogue essays on a range of postwar and contemporary artists, such as Robert Rauschenberg, Sturtevant, Fred Sandback, Fiona Tan, Sabine Moritz, and Ragnar Kjartansson, and on topics, including: American art and mass media; communication and its technologies as medium and theme in recent art; time, history and memory in contemporary video; and the relation between photography and painting in the digital era. She also recently edited a book of conversations with Dia Art Foundation co-founder Heiner Friedrich. Her articles have appeared in journals including Art History and American Art and in exhibition catalogues for institutions including the Pinakothek der Moderne, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Tel Aviv Art Museum, and Castelli Gallery. She also contributes exhibition reviews from London to Artforum.
As independent curator, she recently organized a solo exhibition of Günther Förg that was an official collateral event of the 2019 Venice Biennale promoted by the Dallas Art Museum; a solo exhibition of Tristano di Robilant at the Musinf, Senigallia (co-curated with Nicola Brandt); and a group exhibition of recent and contemporary art at the Heong Gallery, titled ‘Do I Have to Draw You a Picture?’ that included works by Louise Bourgeois, Jasper Johns, John Baldessari, Kay Rosen, Glenn Ligon, Ed Ruscha, Jenny Holzer, Bruce Nauman, Ida Applebroog, Ed Ruscha, Bob and Roberta Smith, Amalia Pica, and Wolfgang Tillmans, among others.
Her research has been supported by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the Ruskin and a Terra Foundation for American Art Postdoctoral Fellowship at The Courtauld.