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Kuspit, Donald

    Full Name: Kuspit, Donald

    Other Names:

    • Donald Kuspit

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 26 March 1935

    Place Born: New York, NY, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States


    A.D. White Professor at Large, Cornell University and art critic. Kuspit’s parents were Morris Kuspit, employed as a manager, and Celia Kuspit. Kuspit graduated from Columbia University, in 1955 with a B.A., continuing to Yale University for his 1958. He moved to Germany, studying at the University of Frankfurt, lecturing in English at the school, 1957-1959, and receiving his Ph.D. in philosophy at Frankfurt in 1960. He returned to the United States to teach at the Pennsylvania State University as an assistant professor of philosophy in 1960, marrying a Judith Clements Price, a literature scholar (and later psychologist) in 1962. Kuspit became increasingly interested in art history and pursued a second M.A. in art history at Pennsylvania, granted in 1964. He secured a Fulbright lectureship in philosophy and American studies to teach at the University of Saarland, Saarbruecken, Germany, 1964-1965 before teaching at the University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, as associate professor of philosophy, between 1966 and 1970. During this time he worked on a Ph.D. in art history at the University of Michigan. Awarded in 1971, his dissertation topic, written under Clifton C. Olds, focused on the critical reception of Albrecth Dürer. He joined the department of art history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, as professor of art history in 1970, contributing criticsm for Artforum and Arts Magazine. Kuspit researched as a National Endowment for the Humanities younger humanist fellowship for the 1973-1974 year and a Guggenheim fellowship for 1977-1978. In 1978 Kuspit was recruited by the State University of New York at Stony Brook (Long Island) as professor of art history and chair of department, which he held until 1983. At Stony Brook, he and felllow Stony Brook professor Lawrence Alloway co-founded the magazine Art Criticism. Kuspit received a Frank Jewett Mather, Jr., Award for Distinction in Art Criticism from the College Art Association in 1983. In 1991 he became A. D. White Professor at Large, Cornell University, 1991, remaining until 1997. Kuspit’s art writing has always been highly impued with philosophical underpinnings. His interest in the philosophy of art historiography (his article on Meyer Schapiro) and the theory of perception were early works in the field.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] Dürer and the Northern Critics, 1502-1572. University of Michigan, 1971; “Dewey’s Critique of Art for Art’s Sake.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 27 no. 1 (Fall 1968):. 93-8; “Phenomenological approach to artistic intention.” Artforum 12 (January 1974): 46-53; Critical Notes on Adorno’s Sociology of Music and Art.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 33 no. 3 (Spring 1975): 321-7; “Meyer Schapiro’s Marxism.” Arts Magazine 53 (November 1978): 142-4; “Two Critics: Thomas B. Hess and Harold Rosenberg.” Artforum 17 (September 1978): 32-3; Clement Greenberg, Art Critic. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1979; The Critic is Artist: The Intentionality of Art. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1984; The Dialectic of Decadence. New York: Stux Press, 1993.


    Directory of American Scholars 8th ed (1982): 425; Halasz, Piri. “Art Criticism (and Art History) in New York: the 1940s vs the 1980s–Part Three: Clement Greenberg.” Arts Magazine 57 (April 1983): 80-89.

    Contributors: Lee Sorensen


    Lee Sorensen. "Kuspit, Donald." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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