Rachel Silveri

Lecturer in Discipline

Modern and contemporary art
Ph.D., Columbia, 2017

Contact Information

Office: 925 Schermerhorn
Office Hours: Thursdays, 2-4 by appointment only


Rachel Silveri is a Core Lecturer within the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. She specializes in the history of modern art in Europe and North America, with a particular emphasis in early twentieth-century French modernism. Her research interests include theories and historiographies of the avant-gardes; gender and sexuality studies; material culture; and theories of the everyday.  

Silveri’s current book project, The Art of Living in the Historical Avant-Garde, reexamines the avant-garde ambition to unify art and everyday life through a set of experimental life practices established by artists across Dada, simultanisme, and Surrealism. Focusing on Tristan Tzara’s performances of identity, Sonia Delaunay’s fashions and self-branding, and the collective endeavor to work the Surrealist Research Bureau, her research proposes a broader envisioning of avant-garde material culture to examine the ways in which artists creatively produced an “art of living” relative to the normative types of “lifestyle” produced contemporaneously in France during the years 1910-1930. By elaborating these practices, her book expands current definitions of avant-garde politics to include an ethics of self-making.

Educated at the University of Michigan (B.A. History of Art and Women’s Studies, with Highest Honors in History of Art, 2008) and Columbia University (Ph.D. Art History and Archaeology, 2017), Silveri has previously taught at The Museum of Modern Art and Marymount Manhattan College. She is the recipient of grants from The Getty Foundation, The Alliance Program, The Starr Foundation, The Stillman-Lack Foundation, and The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation. From 2014-2015, she was a Mellon-funded Museum Research Consortium Fellow at The Museum of Modern Art where she worked on a retrospective of the artist Francis Picabia. She has been teaching “Art Humanities: Masterpieces of Western Art” within the Core Curriculum at Columbia since 2011.

Selected Publications

 “Être-objets and objet-êtres: Picasso’s Le Verre d’absinthe (1914) and Surrealism.” In Picasso’s Sculpture: Museum Research Consortium Dossier, Volume II, 25-30. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, forthcoming.

 “Pharamousse, Funny Guy, Picabia the Loser: The Life of Francis Picabia.” In Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction, edited by Anne Umland and Cathérine Hug, 301-339. New York: The Museum of Modern Art; Zurich: Kunsthaus Zürich, 2016.