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At a time when issues of form have been deemphasized because of the postmodern emphasis on open-ended readings, form continues to be important. The lecture will look in particular at Kant's, Mallarme's, and the Russian Formalists' uses of form and will demonstrate why they continue to be timely.

Art historian Dr. Robert Hobbs has held the Rhoda Thalhimer Endowed Chair at Virginia Commonwealth University since 1991 and has been a visiting professor at Yale University since 2004. Before coming to VCU, he served as a lecturer at Yale and an associate professor at Cornell University.

Hobbs specializes in both late modern and post-modern art. His work joins social history with literary criticism and aesthetics; it also relies on feminist and postcolonial theory. He has published widely and has curated dozens of exhibitions, many of which have been shown at important institutions in the U.S. and abroad. His specific research areas span the twentieth- and twentieth-first centuries, and his publications include monographs on Milton Avery, Alice Aycock, Edward Hopper, Lee Krasner, Mark Lombardi, Robert Smithson, and Kara Walker. In addition he has written on such mainstream modern and post-modern artists as Hernan Bas, Duane Hanson, Keith Haring, Jonathan Lasker, Mark Lindquist, Malcolm Morley, Robert Motherwell, Beverly Pepper, Richard Pousette-Dart, Neo Rauch, Andres Serrano, Yinka Shonibare, James Siena, Meredyth Sparks, Frank Stella, Frank Thiel, Kelley Walker, John Wesley, and Kehinde Wiley, among others. His published research also includes in-depth studies of regional, self-taught, African-American, and American Indian artists, as well as investigations of contemporary craft media.

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