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Peter Barr

Peter Barr
Professor of Art History
Art Department Chair
PhD Boston University

Peter Barr teaches eight different subjects in the history of Western art from Ancient Egypt to Postmodern America. His specialization is the history of photography. He also teaches the Art Department’s Junior Portfolio and Senior Exhibition seminars, and team teaches two Freshmen Foundations courses. Peter recently collaborated with Professor of Art Christine Reising to present a lecture on "How to Produce Articulate Artists" at the Mid-American College Art Association Conference 2012.

Click here to see his award-winning website about historic architecture in Adrian, Michigan featuring essays by several of Barr's students.




Teaching Statement 
The discipline of art history more closely resembles detective work than a lecture. The former is much more mysterious, fun, engaging and intellectual. I want students to come to understand the challenges and pleasures of researching and writing about art. When I develop courses or revise them, I am constantly experimenting with new methods of instruction that provide opportunities for students of various skill-levels, learning styles and interests to find out about both the history of art and the discipline of art history.

While I do spend the majority of my time preparing and presenting slide lectures, I attempt as much as possible to devise courses that ask students to participate in discussions about works of art; to visit regional museums; to act out works of art physically, for example: stand as a figure stands in Polykleitos's Doryphorus; to search for information about works of art and then to connect disparate bits of information into a written whole; to collaborate with each other, to read challenging essays by some of the key scholars in the field; to consider the subjectivity inherent in historical pursuits; to debate significant issues within the discipline of art history; and to think for themselves.

In these ways, my students not only learn about historical art, artists and their time periods, but also about the challenges and rewards of art historical research.

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