URBANA — University of Illinois art history Professor Emeritus Jonathan Fineberg has been appointed the Visiting Presidential Professor at the University of Nebraska.
Fineberg's appointment will span the 2012-13 academic year and include four weeklong visits — beginning last week. During each visit, Fineberg will present public lectures and participate in other activities with the university and Lincoln and Omaha communities.
"Presidential Professors serve as public scholars who enrich the cultural and educational life of the university and the state," University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken said in a news release. "We are extraordinarily fortunate to have a scholar of Jonathan Fineberg's caliber partner with the University of Nebraska for the coming year. His visits to our campuses and communities will create unique educational, research and creative opportunities for our students, faculty and Nebraskans."
Fineberg, who lives in Urbana, will visit the university twice during the fall semester and twice in the spring. In addition to his illustrated public lectures in Lincoln and Omaha, he will give lectures in advanced-level seminars in art history on the Lincoln campus.
He also will spend time in the studio with university art students in Lincoln and potentially at Omaha. Given his interest in psychoanalysis, Fineberg also is exploring opportunities to work with researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center to test hypotheses he has proposed about the relationship between art and the brain.
After his professorship, Fineberg will write his formal lectures as a book, which will be published as the University of Nebraska Presidential Lectures.
"With this visiting professorship at the University of Nebraska, President Milliken has given me the opportunity to find my feet between the chairs of several disciplines and write something I've long wanted to write about why a society needs works of art and how visual thinking affects our creativity and perhaps the very structure of our minds," Fineberg said in a news release. "I'm excited to be able to investigate the problems and build a sustained argument over four lectures, and I look forward, in the process, to learning from students and faculty at the university in art, art history and in neuroscience."
Fineberg is the Gutgsell Professor of Art History Emeritus at the UI and adjunct curator of the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, N.Y. His textbook, "Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being" (third edition), is used in modern art history classes in universities nationwide.
In addition to his positions at Illinois and The Parrish, Fineberg is a trustee emeritus of The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. He earned his bachelor's degree and Ph.D. from Harvard University and a master's from the Courtauld Institute in London. He also studied psychoanalysis at the Boston and Western New England Psychoanalytic Institutes.
He has taught at Yale, Harvard and Columbia universities, and his awards include the Pulitzer Fellowship in Critical Writing, the National Endowment for the Arts Critic's Fellowship, senior fellowships from the Dedalus Foundation and the Japan Foundation, and the College Art Association's Award for Distinguished Teaching in the History of Art.
He has published several books and with John Carlin the book and PBS television documentary "Imagining America: Icons of 20th Century American Art."