Rachel Silveri is an Assistant Professor in the School of Art + Art History at the University of Florida. 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; theories of the everyday; feminist thought and queer theory; and artistic responses to the rise of reactionary politics.
Silveri’s current book project, The Art of Living in Avant-Garde Paris, reexamines the avant-garde ambition to unify art and everyday life through a set of experimental life practices established by artists across Dada, Simultanism, 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.
She is in the preliminary stages of a second project, tentatively titled "It Was Yesterday, Dada": Women's Histories of the Avant-Garde, which considers how various women artists, models, and muses contributed to the avant-garde and challenged its dominant narratives through forms of memoir-writing and autobiography.
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 is the recipient of grants from The Getty Foundation, The Alliance Program, The Starr Foundation, The Stillman-Lack Foundation, The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, and CAA Advancing Art & Design. 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 joined the Art History program at the University of Florida in 2018. She is affiliate faculty in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies; the Center for European Studies; and the Center for Arts, Migration + Entrepreneurship; and she is a 2023 Global Fellow at the University of Florida International Center. Working with a team of graduate students, she is the curator of the exhibition Surrealism at the Harn: A Centennial Celebration, scheduled to open at the Harn Museum of Art (December 9, 2023–June 2, 2024).
In 2022–2023, she was named the College of the Arts Undergraduate Teacher of the Year.
Peer-Reviewed Edited Volumes
“Reactionary Art Histories,” edited by Rachel Silveri and Trevor Stark, special issue, Selva: A Journal of the History of Art 2 (Fall 2020). Collection of thirteen newly-commissioned essays and translations. https://selvajournal.org/issue/two
"Sonia Delaunay, 'Living Profoundly.'" Art History 45, no. 1 (February 2022): 36–65. http://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8365.12620
“Reactionary Art Histories.” Selva: A Journal of the History of Art 2, special issue “Reactionary Art Histories,” edited by Rachel Silveri and Trevor Stark (Fall 2020). Co-authored with Trevor Stark. https://selvajournal.org/article/reactionary-art-histories/
“‘The Chaos of Total Decay’: Hans Sedlmayr’s Diagnosis.” Selva: A Journal of the History of Art 2, special issue “Reactionary Art Histories,” edited by Rachel Silveri and Trevor Stark (Fall 2020). Co-authored with Trevor Stark. https://selvajournal.org/article/chaos-of-total-decay/
"Surrealism's Publics." In The Routledge Companion to Surrealism, edited by Kirsten Strom, 146–154. New York: Routledge, 2022.
“From the Marvelous to the Managerial: Life at the Surrealist Research Bureau.” In Historical Modernisms: Time, History, and Modernist Aesthetics, edited by Jean-Michel Rabaté and Angeliki Spiropoulou, 197–214. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2021.
Exhibition Catalogue Essays & Museum Scholarship
"Sonia Delaunay's Avant-Gardism." In Sonia Delaunay: Living Art, edited by Waleria Dorogova, 46–61. New York: Bard Graduate Center, 2024. (forthcoming)
"No Modernism without Marie Laurencin: Picturing Queer Femininity." In Marie Laurencin: Sapphic Paris, edited by Simonetta Fraquelli and Cindy Kang, 120–135. Philadelphia: The Barnes Foundation, 2023. (forthcoming)
“Eva Sulzer’s Documentary Surrealism.” In Surrealism Beyond Borders, edited by Stephanie D’Alessandro and Matthew Gale, 142–147, 344. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art; London: Tate Modern, 2021.
“Arlene Shechet: History Matters.” In Arlene Shechet: Skirts, 17–82. New York: Pace Gallery, 2021.
“Être-objets and objets-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, 2017. https://www.moma.org/research-and-learning/mrc#dossiers
“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. Available in French and German translation.
Courses Taught at UF
Introduction to the Principles & History of Art II, Renaissance to the Present
The Beginnings of Modernism
Early Twentieth-Century Art
Gender & Sexuality in the Avant-Garde
Living Creatively (undergraduate senior seminar)
Fascism & The Avant-Gardes (graduate seminar)
Feminist Art Histories (graduate seminar)
Primitivism, Ethnography, & (Anti-)Colonialism in the Avant-Garde (graduate seminar)
Sapphic Modernities (graduate seminar)