Global Modern Art
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2014
B.A., Kenyon College, 2001
Anneka Lenssen specializes in modern painting and contemporary visual practices, with a focus on the cultural politics of the Middle East. She teaches courses engaging with modern art and global mass culture, abstraction and aniconism, theories of global interconnectedness and tension, translational practices, and historiography as well as special topic courses on Islamic art and visual culture.
Lenssen's research examines problems of artistic representation in relation to the globalizing imaginaries of empire, nationalism, communism, decolonization, non-alignment, and Third World humanism. Her current book, Beautiful Agitation: Modern Painting and Politics in Syria, is a study of avant-garde painting and the making of Syria as a contested territory, 1900 to 1965. It traces emerging ideas about artistic form and vitalist social activation within new regimes of political representation, from French Mandate rule after the first war to the mass mobilizations of youth-oriented ideological parties to Cold War cultural diplomacy.
Lenssen was previously on the board for the Association of Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey (AMCA). She is currently on the Editorial Board of ARTMargins. She is co-editor, with colleagues Nada Shabout and Sarah Rogers, of a volume of art writing from the Arab world in translation: Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents, published by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2018. Her reviews and essays have appeared in Artforum, Bidoun, and Springerin, as well as exhibition catalogs for Darat al-Funun in Amman and the Sharjah Biennial.
Before coming to Berkeley, Lenssen taught at The American University in Cairo, where she directed the Visual Cultures Program (2013-2014). She earned her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art program and the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture.
"Material Support: On Arab Artist Unions and Solidarity," in: Past Disquiet: Artists, International Solidarity and Museums in Exile (Exh. Catalog, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw), eds. Khristine Khouri and Rasha Salti, Warsaw, Poland: Museum of Modern Art, 2018, 140–162.
"The Two-Fold Global Turn," ARTMargins 7, no. 2 (February 2018): 83-99.
"Adham Ismail's Arabesque: The Making of a Radical Arab Painting in Syria," Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World 34 (2017): 223-258.
"Articulating the Contemporary," with Sarah A. Rogers, in: A Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture, eds. Finbarr Barry Flood and Gülru Necipoğlu, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017, 1,314-1,338.
"Inji Efflatoun: White Light," Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry 42 (Autumn/Winter 2016): 84-95.
"Delay, Displacement, Pixelation," Representations 136 (Fall 2016), 153-157. Special Issue “Time Zones: Durational Art and its Contexts,” eds. Julia Bryan-Wilson and Shannon Jackson.
"Exchangeable Realism," in: Postwar: Art between the Pacific and Atlantic, 1945-1965 (Exh. Catalog, Haus der Kunst, Munich), eds. Okwui Enwezor, Katy Siegel, and Ulrich Wilmes, Munich, Germany, Prestel Verlag, 2016, 430-434.
"The Plasticity of the Syrian Avant-Garde, 1964-1970," ARTMargins 2, no. 2 (June 2013): 43–70.
"The Wormholes of Ecology," in: Still Life: Art, Ecology, and the Politics of Change (Sharjah Biennial 8 Catalog), eds. Joseph Wolin and Ismail Al Rifai, Sharjah, UAE: Sharjah Biennial, 2009, 37–44.
"'Muslims to take over Institute for Contemporary Art': The 1976 World of Islam Festival," MESA Bulletin 42, no. 1 & 2 (Summer/Winter 2008): 40–47.
Essay: "'We Painted the Crystal, We Thought About the Crystal,'-- The Crystalist Manifesto (Khartoum, 1976) in Context," for Post: Notes on Modern and Contemporary Art Around the Globe (18 April 2018).
Field Report: "Surviving Fascism? 'Art and Liberty' in Egypt, 1938-1948," for Modernism/modernity, Print Plus platform (8 February 2017).
Review: The Arab Nude: The Artist as Awakener, American University in Beirut, for Ibraaz.org (23 July 2016).
Essay: "The Medium," for Observatory, Beirut (gallery), Cairo, Egypt (19 June 2014).