Noam M. Elcott

Assistant Professor

Modern and Contemporary Art and Media
Ph.D., Princeton University, 2008

Contact Information

On leave
Phone: (212) 854-7968
Office: 907 Schermerhorn Hall
Office Hours: Wednesdays, 1-2:30


Noam M. Elcott specializes in the history of modern art and media in Europe and North America, with an emphasis on interwar art, photography, and film. His research and teaching combine close visual analysis with media archaeology and critical theory. He also writes and teaches on contemporary art. Recent classes include graduate seminars on the Bauhaus, Dada, and Futurism and undergraduate lectures on Art, Media, and the Avant-Garde, and the Histories of Photography, as well as Art Humanities.

Elcott was educated at Columbia University (B.A. summa cum laude 2000) and Princeton University (Ph.D. 2009). He is the recipient of Fulbright, Mellon, DAAD, and other fellowships.

Elcott is currently at work on a book-length study provisionally titled Artificial Darkness: An Art and Media History, 1876-1930. This book is the first to conceive, historicize, and theorize artificial darkness from its tentative introduction in the mid-nineteenth century, through its consolidation in a range of late nineteenth century media technologies, and, finally, to the aesthetic challenges leveled against it by the interbellum avant-garde. In particular, the study re-imagines and unearths new material on the cameraless photographs, films, theatrical productions, and exhibitions of Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy. Elcott is also at work on extended studies of Anthony McCall, Stan Douglas, James Welling, the London Film-Makers' Co-op, and other contemporary artists. In 2009, he curated "Comic — Film — Strips," a film program and installation at the CUNY Graduate Center James Gallery. Elcott has lectured widely, including recent and upcoming talks at Eikones (Basel), UC Berkeley (California), Tate Modern (London), Bauhaus Universität (Weimar), ZKM (Karlsruhe), Light Industry at X-Initiative, Miller Theater at Columbia University, and CUNY Graduate Center (New York).

Selected Publications

"Rooms of Our Time: László Moholy-Nagy and the Stillbirth of Multi-Media Museums." In Screen/Space, edited by Tamara Trodd, 25-52. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011.

"Reflections on Glass Houses." In James Welling: Glass House, 63-92. Bologna: Damiani, 2011.

"On Cinematic Invisibility: Expanded Cinema Between Wagner and Television." In Expanded Cinema: Art, Performance, Film, edited by A.L. Rees, David Curtis, Duncan White and Steven Ball, 39-49. London: Tate Publishing, 2011.

"Untimely Detritus: Christian Marclay's Cyanotypes." In Christian Marclay: Cyanotypes. Zurich: JRP Ringier, 2011.

"Darkened Rooms: A Genealogy of Avant-Garde Filmstrips from Man Ray to the London Film Makers' Co-op and Back Again," Grey Room 30, Winter 2008.

"The Shadow of the World: James Welling's Cameraless and Abstract Photography," Aperture 190,  Spring 2008.