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.
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, 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, 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 joined the Art History program at the University of Florida in 2018. She is affiliate faculty in the Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women's Studies Research, as well as the Center for Arts, Migration + Entrepreneurship.
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
“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. (forthcoming)
“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/
Exhibition Catalogue Essays & Museum Scholarship
“Eva Sulzer’s Documentary Surrealism: Colonial Violence and Native Resilience.” In Surrealism Beyond Borders, edited by Stephanie D’Alessandro and Matthew Gale, 146–149. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art; London: Tate Modern, 2021. (forthcoming)
“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
Fascism & The Avant-Gardes (graduate seminar)
Feminist Art Histories (graduate seminar)