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David Levi Strauss Appointed Chair of the MFA Art Criticism and Writing Department
David Levi Strauss. Photograph by Sterrett Smith.

NEW YORK CITY.-The School of Visual Arts (SVA), New York City, has appointed David Levi Strauss as chair of the MFA Art Criticism and Writing Department. A writer and critic whose essays and reviews appear regularly in Artforum and Aperture, Strauss has been widely praised for work of intellectual daring, rigor and clarity, particularly on the subject of photography. He comes to SVA from Bard College, where he was on the faculty since 2001.

"SVA is exceedingly fortunate to have David joining the College as chair of the MFA Art Criticism and Writing program. I have every confidence he will build upon the program's early successes and will help the program realize its fullest potential," said SVA Provost Dr. Christopher Cyphers.

Strauss is the author of Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography and Politics, with an introduction by John Berger (Aperture, 2003; Postmedia, 2007); Between Dog & Wolf: Essays on Art and Politics (Autonomedia/Semiotext(e), 1999); The Fighting Is a Dance, Too: Leon Golub and Nancy Spero (2000); Broken Wings: The Legacy of Landmines (1998); The Book of 101 Books: Seminal Photography Books of the Twentieth Century (PPP Editions/DAP, 2001); and Let There Be Light: The Rwanda Project (Actar, 1998). He is a contributing editor at Aperture and the Brooklyn Rail, and has written on art, film and photography for The Nation, Artforum, Art in America, Art Journal and Cabinet. Strauss has contributed essays to catalogues and monographs on Miguel Rio Branco, Tim Davis, Robert Frank, Leon Golub, Martin Puryear, Carolee Schneeman, Ursula von Rydingsvard and Francesca Woodman. He has also lectured and written frequently a bout the images from Abu Ghraib.

Strauss has taught and lectured at Yale, Columbia, New York University, University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Southern California, San Francisco Art Institute, Art Center College of Design and Tyler School of Art. He joined the faculty of the MFA Art Criticism and Writing Department at SVA in 2006.

Strauss was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 for Image & Belief, an inquiry into how and why we believe photographic images the way we do, inspired in part by the events of 9/11. He is a recipient of the Infinity Award for Writing from the International Center of Photography, New York, and a Visiting Scholar Research Fellowship from the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona.

Strauss is also the author of Manoeuvres: Poems 1977-1979 (Aleph Press/Eidolon Editions, 1980), and was the founding editor of ACTS: A Journal of New Writing (1982-1990), which published experimental fiction and poetry.

Strauss studied history, philosophy and political science at Kansas State University and received a BA from Goddard College in 1976. He subsequently studied photography at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, and poetics at New College of California in San Francisco.

The MFA Art Criticism and Writing Department at SVA prepares students to apply critical thinking to the image in all its manifestations to better understand how we are subject to them. The two-year, 60-credit program includes coursework in art theory, criticism and writing, and a thesis. An underlying principle of the program is that the image should occupy a place in the understanding of life comparable to that of the humanities and sciences. At a time when images have inordinate power over us--to influence public opinion, and to create and direct desire--the need for criticism is greater than ever. Focusing on the essay and shorter forms of review, the curriculum provides a broad foundation in art history and aesthetics, and encourages a wide-ranging knowledge and curiosity about contemporary culture.

School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City is an established leader and innovator in the education of artists. From its inception in 1947, the faculty has been comprised of professionals working in the arts and art-related fields. SVA provides an environment that nurtures creativity, inventiveness and experimentation, enabling students to develop a strong sense of identity and a clear direction of purpose.

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