Brendan Fay

office232 Ford
office hours

Winter, 2018: 

Mondays & Wednesdays 12:00-3:00 (open) 

Mondays & Wednesdays by appointment only - please email to arrange meeting times ( Thanks!


Brendan Fay teaches courses in modern and contemporary art history. He joined the School of Art and Design in 2015, and his recent seminars have studied the Bauhaus and its legacy in the United States, the emergence of performance art, and the evolution of Detroit’s contemporary art scene. 

A Michigan native and University of Michigan alumnus, Dr. Fay completed his dissertation on photography and abstraction at Harvard University, and subsequently held a postdoctoral Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities at Stanford University. His primary research examines issues related to modernism and photographic education in the United States; additional research interests include problems of abstraction and materiality in contemporary photography, along with aspects of performance, sound and new media. His writing has appeared in History of Photography, Artforum, Exposure and the online publication Infinite Mile.

In cooperation with the Moholy-Nagy Foundation, based in Ann Arbor, MI, Dr. Fay is currently working on a catalogue raisonné of color photographs by László Moholy-Nagy. He also serves as a member of the Minor White Project Committee at the Princeton University Art Museum, an advisory group dedicated to the legacy and archives of the founding editor of Aperture magazine. He received a 2016 Minor White Research Grant to support ongoing work on White’s teaching and writing, and previously received a 2014 Ansel Adams Research Fellowship at the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.


Review of Beautiful Terrible Ruins: Detroit and the Anxiety of Decline, by Dora Apel, Exposure 49:2 (Fall 2016).

“A Picture is No Substitute for Anyone,” in Pictures of Me, by Millee Tibbs, Blue Sky Book 68 (Portland, OR: Blue Sky Gallery, 2016).

“Woman in A-minor: Ragnar Kjartansson at MOCAD,” Infinite Mile: a journal of art + culture(s) in Detroit, Issue 28 (May 2016).

“How to Hold a Camera: Harry Callahan’s Early Abstractions,” History of Photography, vol. 39, no. 2 (May 2015).

“Lapsed Calamities,” in Kathrin Sonntag: Green Doesn’t Matter When You’re Blue (Aspen Art Museum, 2013).

“Openings: Miriam Böhm,” Artforum, vol. 49, no. 5 (January 2011).

Courses taught

ARTH 165 Postmodern and Contemporary Art

ARTH 264 Survey of Western Art III

ARTH 475/565 Seminar in Modern and Contemporary Art (rotating topics)

ARTS 695 Theory of Art

ARTS 696 Seminar in Contemporary Art