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Tenley Bick

Published May 25, 2018

Dr Tenley Bick

Assistant Professor
Global Contemporary Art
PhD University of California, Los Angeles
Curriculum Vitae (she, her)
3020 William Johnston Building
(850) 644-4161

Research Areas

Dr. Tenley Bick (she/her) joined the art history faculty at Florida State University in the fall of 2018. Dr. Bick is an art historian of global contemporary art, with special interests in post-WWII and contemporary European (especially Italian) and African art (continental and diasporic), with a focus on social art history and cultural geopolitics. Her research and teaching are dedicated to the investigation of modern and contemporary art history as a global field, and to the examination of art and social context on a local and global level. Topics of research and teaching include artistic internationalism and its cultural politics after World War II, postcolonial modernisms, diasporic cinemas, historiography and global politics, and artistic labor and process, among others. Her work on Italian art focuses on Arte Povera, internationalism, and politics in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as contemporary art and postcoloniality.

Her current book project, Where There’s Everything: Michelangelo Pistoletto and World-Building in Arte Povera, examines the work of the contemporary Italian artist within the politicized cultural contexts of post-WWII Italy and Europe, and against the broader geopolitical horizon for art of the 1960s. Focusing especially on the artist’s investigation of conventional figuration as a critical model for postwar creative practice, her book offers a counter-narrative to dominant histories of postwar art in and out of Italy, and theorizes a new language of figuration for the broader field of art history. Her research also includes a second book-length project in development on contemporary Italian and East African art that addresses the history of Italian colonialism.

Dr. Bick has been awarded major grants and fellowships from Magazzino Italian Art Foundation (New York, 2019–20), where she was the first American Scholar in Residence, FSU (First Year Assistant Professor Grant), and the Institute for International Education (IIE). Her scholarship and professional activities have also been supported by the University of California, Los Angeles, Florida State University, the Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History, and the Italian Art Society.

Dr. Bick’s writing on contemporary art, race politics, and activism in Italy was recently published in CAA News (August 11, 2020). Other recent publications have appeared in Third Text (2019) and in the edited volume Does “la lutte continue”?: The Global Afterlives of May ’68 (eds. Cloonan, Faulk, Munro, and Weber; Lexington Books, in press). Her translation work (Italian to English) has also been published, appearing in the catalogue for the internationally traveling exhibition, Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974 (eds. M. Kwon and P. Kaiser, organized for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art). She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History from UCLA and a B.A. with Honors in Art History from Stanford University. Prior to joining the faculty at FSU, she was Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History at Washington College.

Dr. Bick is a member of the International Committee for the College Art Association and Chair of the Emerging Scholars Committee for the Italian Art Society. She is a member of the Anti-Racism, Universal Accessibility, and Intersectional Equity Committee and the Undergraduate Studies Committee in the Department of Art History at FSU.


Victoria DeBlasio
Cindy Evans
Julia Kershaw

Graduate Seminars

• Minimalism
• Postwar Italian Art
• The Global Sixties
• Art History Through Artists’ Texts (modern and contemporary focus, Spring 2021)

Undergraduate Seminars

• Contemporary Art and Artistic Labor

Undergraduate Courses

• Contemporary African Art
• Museum Object

Book in Preparation

Where There’s Everything: Michelangelo Pistoletto and World-Building in Arte Povera

Selected Publications

Tenley Bick, “Bochner’s Italian Picture.” In Bochner Boetti Fontana (Cold Spring, NY: Magazzino Italian Art, forthcoming 2020). Exh. cat.

Tenley Bick, “Ghosts for the Present: Countercultural Aesthetics and Postcoloniality for Contemporary Italy. The Work of Wu Ming 2 and Fare Ala,” in Does “la lutte continue”? The Global Afterlives of May ’68, edited by William Cloonan, Barry Faulk, Martin Munro, and Christian Weber. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2020 (in press).

Tenley Bick, “‘My world now is black in color’: Pandemic-Era Programming, Anti-Racist Activism, and Contemporary Art in Italy,” CAA International News (August 11, 2020).

Tenley Bick, “What Goes Around Comes Around: Myth and Male Trauma in Somali Diasporic Cinema,” Third Text 33, no. 2 (2019): 153–177.

Tenley Bick, “Suspensions of Self-Perception: On Vision and Subjectivity in Contemporary Art.” In Theorizing Visual Studies: Writing Through the Discipline, edited by James Elkins and Kristi McGuire, with Maureen Burns, Alicia Chester, and Joel Kuennen. New York: Routledge, 2012.

Tenley Bick, “Horror Histories: Apartheid and the Abject Body in the Work of Jane Alexander,” African Arts 43, no. 4 (Winter 2010): 30–41.


Celant, Germano. Interview by Miwon Kwon and Philipp Kaiser. Translated from the original Italian by Tenley Bick. In Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974, edited by M. Kwon and P. Kaiser, 123–27. Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art, 2012. Previously unpublished contribution. Catalogue published in association with the internationally traveling exhibition of the same title.


Allies & Safe Zones 101, FSU (Fall 2020)
At Risk, Kognito (Fall 2020)