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Tenley Bick

Published May 25, 2018

Dr Tenley Bick

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Assistant Professor
Global modern and contemporary art
Contemporary arts of Africa
(she, her)

PhD University of California, Los Angeles
Curriculum Vitae

Office Hours (Spring 2023): Th 2–4pm and by appointment
3020 William Johnston Building

Research and Teaching Areas

  • Global modern and contemporary art
  • Italian modernism and contemporary art (late 19th century to present; Futurism, Arte povera, Transavanguardia…)
  • Modern and contemporary African art and cinemas (diasporic and continental)
  • Exchanges between Italy and Africa (Italian colonialism, African diasporas in Italy, multi-ethnic Italy, postcolonial Italy, transnational Italian studies, Mediterranean studies)
  • Artistic internationalism and cultural geopolitics after World War II
  • Art of the 1960s and 1970s
  • Artistic labor and process
  • Art, migration, activism, border politics
  • Monuments, interventionist practice, art and urbanism, public art
  • Methods and theory (special interests in social art history; anti-colonial literature, postcolonialism, and decolonial theory)

Dr. Tenley Bick (she/her) is an art historian of global modern and 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, Michelangelo Pistoletto: Figuration and Cultural Politics (Yale University Press, 2025), 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 is also the founder and curator of a digital project, COSTELLAZIONE (CONSTELLATION;, a series of live bilingual conversations (IT/ENG) with contemporary Italian artists (or artists who have lived and worked extensively in Italy) on their work. The project generates new oral histories and testimonies from artists with shared affinities in the exploration of resistance, activism, and identity in Italy and its cultural geographies, past, present, and yet to come.

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 writings on contemporary art, race politics, and activism in Italy and the United States have been published in CAA News (August 11, 2020) and New Art Examiner (March, 2021). Her work has been published in a range of scholarly journals dedicated to Africanist and global contemporary art history, and to verbal and visual inquiry, including Third Text, African Arts, Word & Image, and Portable Gray, and International Yearbook of Futurism Studies (forthcoming). Her recent publications on postwar and contemporary Italian art, countercultural aesthetics, and Italian colonialism have appeared in the edited volumes Global Revolutionary Aesthetics and Politics after Paris ’68 (eds. Cloonan, Faulk, Munro, and Weber; Lantham, MD: Lexington Books, 2021), and Migrating Around Europe: Making Old Worlds New in Spanish, Italian, French (eds. Joos and Solterer; Manchester University Press, 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 President of the Italian Art Society.

Completed Dissertations

Julia Kershaw: “Build Your Own Living Space: Architecture and the Politicized Body in the Work of Lygia Clark.”

Cindy Evans: “Political Playgrounds: The Effekt Group’s activist art in Postwar West Germany and Yugoslavia.”

Graduate Seminars

• Minimalism
• Pop Art (international focus)
• Postwar Italian Art
• The Global Sixties
• Futures and Futurisms
• Art History Through Artists’ Texts (modern and contemporary focus)

Undergraduate Courses

• Art After 1940
• Global Contemporary Art
• Contemporary Arts of Africa and Its Diasporas
• Intro to Modern and Contemporary Art
• Museum Object
• Art History Methods & Media (undergraduate seminar)
• Contemporary Art and Artistic Labor (undergraduate seminar)

In Press

Bick, Tenley. Michelangelo Pistoletto: Figuration and Cultural Politics (Yale University Press, 2025).

In Preparation

Bick, Tenley, ed. “‘Italianicity is not Italy: Questioning Contemporary Italian Art History”/ “‘L’Italianità non è l’Italia’: riesaminando la storia dell’arte contemporanea italiana.” Palinsesti, n. 11 (2023): (special journal edition).

Digital Project

Founder and curator, Costellazione (Constellation), mapping new directions in contemporary Italian art and activism. Project site: October 2020–.
– Adrian R. Duran, “Costellazione,” review of Costellazione, by Tenley Bick (curator), Italica 99, no. 3 (2022): 428–430.

Selected Publications

Bick, Tenley. “A History of Black Diaspora Artists in Italy.” In The Routledge Companion to African Diaspora Art History, edited by Eddie Chambers (London and New York: Routledge) (chapter) (forthcoming 2023).

Bick, Tenley. “‘Un sentimento di libertà’: Toward a Transnational Italian Art History.” Forum Italicum 57, no. 2, Critical Issues in Transnational Italian Studies, edited by Giulia Riccò, Serena Bassi, and Loredana Polezzi (August 2023): 431–442.

Bick, Tenley. “Postcolonial Retrofuturism: Alessandro Ceresoli’s Linea Tagliero Prototypes.” International Yearbook of Futurism Studies 13, Neo-Futurism, eds. Günter Berghaus, Dalila Colucci and Tim Klähn (2023): 315–345.

Bick, Tenley. “Porta di Lampedusa, porta d’Europa: Contemporary Monumentality, Entropy, and Migration at the Gateway to Europe.” In Migrants Shaping Europe, Past and Present: Multilingual Literatures, Arts and Cultures, edited by Helen Solterer and Vincent Joos, 151–192 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2022).

Bick, Tenley. “Where There’s Everything: Pistoletto, the Gruppo d’Arte ‘l’Arlecchino,’ and Localist Internationalism in Presenze.” Word & Image) 38, no.2 (June 2022): 132–164.

Bick, Tenley. “Towards a Transnational Italian Art History: A User’s Guide.” Italian Art Society Newsletter 33, no. 2, The Global Future of Italian Art History, ed. Livia Lupi (Spring 2022): 11–13. Refereed invited essay.

Curran, Alvin and Tenley Bick. “Spontaneous funghi: Musica Elettronica Viva and Lo Zoo in Turin, 1968. An interview with Alvin Curran.” Portable Gray 5, no. 1 (Spring 2022): 118–139.

Bick, Tenley. “Kounellis, Migration, and Graffiti: Note on Arte Povera in Miami.” New Art Examiner (Jan/Feb/Mar 2022). Exhibition review, Arte Povera / Postwar Italian Art from the Margulies Collection (October 20, 2021 – April 30, 2022), cur. Katherine Hinds, The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, Miami, FL. Print forthcoming. Online: Invited review.

Bick, Tenley. “Make It Shine (Extraordinary Things Are Possible Between Beings): The Art of Marinella Senatore” / “Make It Shine (Cose straordinarie sono possibili tra persone): l’Arte di Marinella Senatore.” In Marinella Senatore: Make It Shine, 7–23, Italian translation by Howard Rodger MacLean (Turin: Mazzoleni Gallery, 2022). Invited sole critical essay for the exhibition catalog.

Bick, Tenley. “Other Hues of Blue: A Pandemic-Era Biennial in Atlanta.” New Art Examiner 35, no.3 (January/February/March): 33–37. Exhibition review of the 2021 Atlanta Biennial, Of Care and Destruction, curated by Jordan Amirkhani, Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, Georgia. Invited review.

Bick, Tenley. “Bochner’s Italian Picture.” In Bochner Boetti Fontana,40–47 (Cold Spring, NY: Magazzino Italian Art, 2021). Exh. cat. for Bochner Boetti Fontana, curated by Mel Bochner with Magazzino Italian Art (Magazzino Italian Art, Cold Spring, NY, October 2, 2020–April 5, 2021). Invited essay.

Bick, Tenley. “Ghosts for the Present: Countercultural Aesthetics and Postcoloniality for Contemporary Italy. The Work of Wu Ming 2 and Fare Ala,” in Global Revolutionary Aesthetics and Politics after Paris ‘68, edited by Martin Munro, William J. Cloonan, Barry J. Faulk, and Christian P. Weber, 45–77 (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2021).

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

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

Bick, Tenley. “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.

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


Un sentimento di libertà | A Feeling of Freedom: New Italians in the Works of Luigi Christopher Veggetti Kanku. Museum of Fine Arts, Florida State University, January 18–May 6, 2023.


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.

In the Media

Hagger, Alastair. “The African Art Renaissance: Surge in Interest and Impact on Global Market,” CNBC Africa (November 29, 2023).


Allies & Safe Zones 101, FSU (Fall 2020)
At Risk, Kognito (Fall 2020)
Research Mentor Academy: Humanities, FSU (Summer 2022). Completed FSU mentor training workshop series to learn how to implement evidence-based mentor practices based on the Entering Mentoring series by the Center of the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER).