David Cateforis

Chair, History of Art Department
Professor, American Art, Modern and Contemporary Art
Primary office:
209-B Spencer Museum of Art

David Cateforis teaches courses on modern and contemporary art including surveys of modern sculpture and global art since the 1980s. His research focuses on 20th-century American art and global contemporary art. He has published on artists ranging from Albert Bloch to Andrew Wyeth, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Elizabeth Murray and Wenda Gu. He is co-editor of Hybrid Practices: Art in Collaboration with Science and Technology in the Long 1960s (University of California Press, 2018), editor of Rethinking Andrew Wyeth (University of California Press, 2014), and the author of numerous other publications, including essays and reviews addressing art in the Kansas City region. He is currently writing a new modern art textbook.


1992—Ph.D., Art History, Stanford University
1988—M.A., Art History, Stanford University
1986—B.A., Art History, Swarthmore College

Professional Experience

2009-Present—Professor, University of Kansas
1998-2009—Associate Professor, University of Kansas
1992-1998—Assistant Professor, University of Kansas
1988-1991—Curatorial Intern, The Anderson Collection, Menlo Park, California

Selected Publications

"Here Comes the Sun," in Michael Krueger: (Just Like) Starting Over (Kansas City, Missouri: Haw Contemporary, 2021).

Co-editor, with Steven Duval and Shepherd Steiner, Hybrid Practices: Art in Collaboration with Science and Technology in the Long 1960s (Oakland: University of California Press, 2018).

Albert Bloch – Themes and Variations: Paintings and Watercolors from the Albert Bloch Foundation (Lawrence, Kansas: Lawrence Arts Center, 2015).

“Connections and Disruptions: Warren Rosser’s and James Woodfill’s Early Years in Kansas City,” inRosser/Woodfill - Transmissions/Signals (Kansas City, Missouri: Union Office, 2015), 29-46.

Editor and contributing author, Rethinking Andrew Wyeth (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014). 

 “Surface and Depth: Notes on Painting and Sculpture in the Anderson Collection,” in A Family Affair: Modern and Contemporary American Art from the Anderson Collection at Stanford University (Stanford, California: Anderson Collection at Stanford University, 2014), 44-51.

 “Andrew Wyeth,” American National Biography Online, April 2014.

"Cultural Translation and Creative Misunderstanding in the Art of Wenda Gu," in Cynthia Mills, Lee Glazer, and Amelia A. Goerlitz, eds., East-West Interchanges in American Art: A Long and Tumultuous Relationship (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2012), 204-13.

Editor and contributing author, Oppenheimer Collection (Overland Park, Kansas: Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Johnson County Community College, 2012).

"On the Role of Language in the Art of Wenda Gu/Over de rol van taal in het werk van Wenda Gu ,” in The Hague Under Heaven: Contemporary Sculpture from China/Den Haag onder de Hemel: Hedendaagse beeldhouwkunst uit China (The Hague, Netherlands: Uitgeverij Waanders B.V. and museum Beelden aan Zee, 2011), 99-113. 

"Calligraphy, Poetry, and Paradoxical Power in Wenda Gu's Neon Calligraphy Series," Word & Image 26, no. 1 (January-March 2010): 1-20. 

"Wenda Gu's Metamorphoses," The University of Kansas Spencer Museum of Art Register 7, no. 10 (July 1, 2007 - June 30, 2008): 10-25. 

"'The Work Is Not Finished': Wenda Gu's united nations Series and the Dartmouth Monuments," in Wenda Gu at Dartmouth: The Art of Installation (Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College in association with University Press of New England, 2008), 63-85. 

Essays on Albert Bloch, Die drei Pierrots Nr. 2 (The Three Pierrots, No. 2), 1911,Klagelied (Lamentation), 1912-13, and Winter in the Dead Wood, 1934-38; Stuart Davis, Hotel de France, 1928; Marsden Hartley, Himmel, c. 1914-15, and Mount Katahdin – November Afternoon, 1942; Edward Hopper, Light Battery at Gettysburg, 1940; Georgia O'Keeffe, Apple Blossoms, 1930, in Margaret C. Conrads, ed.,American Paintings to 1945: The Collections of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art(Kansas City, Missouri: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 2007): vol. 1, 140-53, 223-27, 283-92, 324-29, 416-19; vol. 2, 69-73, 100-1, 121-23, 135-36, 179-80.

"Introduction: Modern and Contemporary Sculpture in the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden" and essays on fourteen sculptures in Karen O. Janovy, ed., Sculpture from the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2005).

"Translation as Transformation: Wenda Gu's Forest of Stone Steles: Retranslation and Rewriting of Tang Poetry," in Translating Visuality –Wenda Gu: Forest of Stone Steles, Retranslation and Rewriting of Tang Poetry, exhibition catalogue (Shenzhen, China: OCT-Contemporary Art Terminal of He Xiangning Museum, 2005), 311-21. (Also appears in Chinese translation in the same catalogue, 53-64.) 

Commodities, Celebrities, Death and Disaster: Andy Warhol, Michael Bevilacqua, Yasumasa Morimura, Lucinda Devlin, exhibition brochure (Salina, Kansas: Salina Art Center, 2004). 

"Rosser's Renaissance: Six Years of Painting," in Warren Rosser: To Be Continued…Selected Paintings from 1998-2004, exhibition catalogue (Brookings, South Dakota: South Dakota Art Museum, 2004), 13-21. 

"An Interview with Wenda Gu," in Mark H. C. Bessire, ed., Wenda Gu: Art from Middle Kingdom to Biological Millennium (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2003), 143-61. 

Revising author, "Eighteenth-Century Art in Europe and North America," "Nineteenth-Century Art in Europe and the United States," "The Rise of Modernism in Europe and North America," and "The International Avant-Garde Since 1945," in Marilyn Stokstad in collaboration with David Cateforis, et al., Art History, 2nd ed. (New York: Harry N. Abrams in association with Prentice Hall, 2002), and rev. 2nd ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2005). 

"The Art of Robert Sudlow," in Spiritual Journeys: The Art of Robert Sudlow (Kansas City, Missouri: ExhibitsUSA, 2002), 14-66. 

"Robert Motherwell's Figure Before Blackness," Register of the Spencer Museum of Art 7, no. 3 (2001): 3-11. 

"Elizabeth Murray: A New Way of Painting," in Celebrating Modern Art: The Anderson Collection, exhibition catalogue (San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in association with University of California Press, 2000), 196-97. 

Editor, Decade of Transformation: American Art of the 1960s, exhibition catalogue (Lawrence, Kansas: Spencer Museum of Art, 1999); essay "'All the Great Modern Things': American Pop in the Spencer Museum," 1-15. 

Editor, with Frank Baron and Helmut Arntzen, Albert Bloch: Artistic and Literary Perspectives (Munich: Prestel-Verlag in association with Max Kade Center for German-American Studies, University of Kansas, 1997); essay: "Albert Bloch's Visionary Landscapes," 121-128. 

"'That Our Soil Will Produce the Artist': American Landscape Painting and National Identity, ca. 1890-1950," in Novelene Ross, Toward an American Identity: Selections from the Wichita Art Museum Collection of American Art, exhibition catalogue (Wichita, Kansas: Wichita Art Museum, 1997), 37-59. 

Willem de Kooning, Rizzoli Art Series (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1994).

Selected Honors

2018—Community Engaged Scholarship Award, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Kansas
2004—William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence, University of Kansas
2000—Archie and Nancy Dykes Award for Outstanding Classroom Teaching, University of Kansas
1989-1990—Centennial Teaching Assistant, Stanford University
1986—Phi Beta Kappa, Swarthmore College

Courses Taught

Lecture Classes
Introduction to Western Art History
Western Art History I, Ancient through Medieval Art
Western Art History II, Renaissance to Contemporary Art
Introduction to Modern Art
Modern Sculpture
American Art
American Art, 1860-1900
American Art, 1900-1945
European Art, 1900-1945
Art Since 1945
Art from 1945-1980s: Modernism to Post-modernism
Contemporary Art
The Business of Art

Graduate Seminars
Cubism in Europe and the United States
Modern Sculpture
Abstract Expressionism
American Art of the 1960s
Art of the 1980s
Cultural Hybridity in Contemporary Art
Curatorial Problems: American Paintings in the Wichita Art Museum
Curatorial Problems: American Paintings in the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art
Major Artist: Andrew Wyeth
Recent Scholarship in American Art
Art History, Theory and Practice
Contemporary Asian Art Overseas (Co-taught with Maki Kaneko)
Home/Place (co-taught with Charles Eldredge)
Past Present: The Historical Turn in Contemporary Art
Murphy Seminar: Modern Sculpture: Definitions and Debates (Co-taught with Charles Eldredge and Murphy Professor Michael Brenson)
​Murphy Seminar: American Icons (Co-taught with Charles Eldredge and Murphy Professor Karal Ann Marling)
Murphy Seminar: American Art and Culture between the World Wars (Co-taught with Charles Eldredge and Murphy Professor Wanda M. Corn)
Murphy Seminar: Themes in Contemporary Art (Co-taught with Charles Eldredge and Murphy Professor Roberta Smith)
Murphy Seminar: The Modern Portrait (Co-taught with Marni Kessler and Murphy Professor Tamar Garb)
Murphy Seminar: Contemporary Transnational Artists (Co-taught with Gitti Salami and Murphy Professor Okwui Enwezor)
Murphy Seminar: Reading American Pictures (Co-taught with Charles Eldredge and Murphy Professor David Lubin)
Murphy Seminar: Public Art in Modern America (Co-taught with Charles Eldredge and Murphy Professor Erika Doss)
Murphy Seminar: The Matter of Still Life (Co-taught with Marni Kessler and Murphy Professor Carol Armstrong)

Ph.D. Dissertations Directed

Maggie Vaughn, "Mapping Globalization in the Art of Guillermo Kuitca, Susan Stockwell, and Tiffany Chung.” In progress.

Mary Frances Ivey, "Picturing Age in the Work of Six Contemporary American Women Artists." In progress.

Sara Stepp, “Time, Place, and Identity in the Art of Hung Liu.” In progress.

Laura Minton, “‘I’ve been all over this world four times’: Travel, Place, and Memory in the Art of Joseph E. Yoakum.” Defended September 2021.

Samantha Lyons, "Synaesthetic Dress: Episodes of Sensational Objects in Performance Art, 1955-1975." Defended December 2019.

Eunyoung Park, "Situating Contemporary Korean Art in the Age of Globalization." Defended April 2018.

Mindy A. Besaw, “Re-Framing the American West: Contemporary Artists Engage History.” (Co-directed with Charles Eldredge) Defended November 2015. 

Brittany Lockard, “Size Matters:  Imagery of the Fat Female Body in the Art of Lucian Freud, Jenny Saville, Joel-Peter Witkin, Laurie Toby Edison, Leonard Nimoy, and Laura Aguilar.” Defended April 2012

Emily Stamey, "Pop, Place, and Personal Identity in the Art of Roger Shimomura." Defended April 2009.

Jill Rachelle Chancey, "Elaine de Kooning: Negotiating the Masculinity of Abstract Expressionism." Defended April 2006.

Mark White, "From Dynamism to Objectivity: The Late Career of George Bellows." Defended April 1999.

Leesa Fanning, "Abstract Expressionism and the Body: Philosophical and Cultural Interpretations." Defended March 1998.

Susan Baker, "George Tooker and the Modern Tradition." (Begun under Timothy Mitchell). Defended December 1994.

Kathryn Boyer, "Political Promotion and Institutional Patronage: How New York Displaced Paris as the Center of Contemporary Art, c. 1955-1968." (Begun under Timothy Mitchell). Defended September 1994.

Selected Curatorial Activities

2014-15—Co-curator (with Ben Ahlvers), Albert Bloch – Themes and Variations: Paintings and Watercolors from the Albert Bloch Foundation, Lawrence Arts Center, Lawrence, Kansas.

2014-15—Co-curator (with Raechell Smith), Making Histories, H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri.

2004—Co-curator, Commodities, Celebrities, Death and Disaster: Warhol and Now. Andy Warhol, Michael Bevilacqua, Yasumasa Morimura, Lucinda Devlin, Salina Art Center, Salina, Kansas.

2001-2002—Editor of catalogue of selected works for The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art: A History and Guide to the Collection, Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, Saint Joseph, Missouri.

1999—Co-curator, Decade of Transformation: American Art of the 1960s, Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas.

1995—Co-curator, John Duff, Johnson County Community College Gallery of Art, Overland Park, Kansas.

1991—Co-curator, Jennifer Bartlett and Elizabeth Murray: Works from the Anderson Collection, Mills College Art Gallery and Stanford University Art Gallery.

1990—Curator, Objects of Potential: Five American Sculptors from the Anderson Collection— Phoebe Adams, John Duff, Mark Lere, Martin Puryear, Robert Therrien, Wiegand Gallery, College of Notre Dame, Belmont, California.

Give ButtonAlumni SpotlightsDepartment NewsletterShare Your News

Subscribe on YouTube:

Follow us on Facebook:
Follow us on Instagram:

Apply for the
Eglinski Study Abroad Prize

Countdown to
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
KU Today