Edward Vazquez

Department Chair

 work(802) 443-5764
 Spring Term 2022- Monday 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m., Thursday 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m., and by appointment
 Mahaney Arts Center 212

B.A., New College of Florida, 2001

M.A., University of Chicago, 2002

Ph.D., Stanford University, 2009

Edward Vazquez studies modern and contemporary art with particular research interests in the history of abstraction; legacies of conceptualism; relationships between art practice, art history and philosophy; and the aesthetics of everydayness.

His first book, Aspects: Fred Sandback’s Sculpture was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2017. The first scholarly monograph on Sandback, it explores the full range of his art, which not only disrupts traditional conceptions of material presence, but also stages an ethics of interaction between object and observer. The text argues that the artist’s work—with all its physical slightness and attentiveness to place, as well as its relationship to minimal and conceptual art of the 1960s—creates a link between viewers and space that is best understood as sculptural even as it almost surpasses physical form. Vazquez claims that Sandback’s art aims for nothing less than a total recalibration of the senses, with the spectator caught on neither one side nor the other of an object or space, but powerfully within it.

Current research interests include the materiality of blankness in art historical argument and contemporary art practice; Wittgensteinian approaches to art history in general and his influence on conceptualism in particular; strategies of aesthetic absence in the art of the Americas; and formal analysis and visual description as a narrative device in (and as) fiction.

In addition to various grants and awards from Middlebury, this work and research has been supported by fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Henry Moore Institute.

At Middlebury, where he has taught since the fall of 2009, his courses range from lectures on the arts of Europe and the Americas that span the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, to more focused seminars on minimalism, conceptual art, art historical methods and historiography, and rotating topics in contemporary art.



Aspects: Fred Sandback’s Sculpture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017)

Selected Articles and Essays

“The Dwan Gallery’s Silent Spaces” in Anne Kovach, ed., Forking Paths: The Dwan Gallery 1959-1971 (Forthcoming, MIT Press)

“Es geht um die Wurst: On Fischli and Weiss’s Wurstserie” in Silvia Bottinelli and Margherita d’Ayala Valva, eds, The Taste of Art: Cooking, Food and Counterculture in Contemporary Practices (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, Food and Foodways Series, 2017), pp. 159-172

 “Antimatter: On The Surfaces of Fred Sandback’s Early Sculpture,” RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 65/66 (Autumn 2014/Winter 2015), pp. 316-331

“A Nomadicized Existence: Fred Sandback in Europe” in Uwe Fleckner, Maike Steinkamp and Hendrik Ziegler, eds., Der Künstler in der Fremde. Wanderschaft - Migration – Exil. Vorträge aus dem Warburg-Haus, (Hamburg: Akademie Verlag, 2015), pp. 171-187

 “The Draw of Space: Fred Sandback’s Shadow Rooms” in Dieter Schwarz, ed. Fred Sandback: Drawings (Ex. Cat. Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Josef Albers Museum, and Museum Wiesbaden; Winterthur: Kunstmuseum Winterthur/Düsseldorf: Richter/Fey Verlag, 2014), pp. 174-181 [German Edition published as Fred Sandback: Zeichnungen]

“Fred Sandback’s Perspectives,” Art Journal Vol. 71, no. 3 (Fall 2012), pp. 98-116

Review of The Last Art College: Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1968–1978 (MIT, 2012) by Garry Neill Kennedy, caareviews.org (Fall, 2012)

Last Updated: January 2018



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1379 - Art and the Environment      

Art and the Environment
“The land is not the setting for the work but a part of the work.” So did the artist Walter de Maria describe The Lightning Field (1980), a site-specific, environmental work of art built in an isolated part of western New Mexico. In this seminar we will discuss the different ways that recent artists have used, commented upon, and at times altered their surrounding environment. We will take an expansive view of the term "environmental" in our seminar as we explore natural, urban, media-based, and conceptual artistic environments. 3 hrs. sem. AMR ART CW

Fall 2021

More Information »

HARC 0100 - Intro to Global Visual Culture      

An Introduction to Global Visual Culture
This course is an introduction to the visual cultures of the world, with an emphasis on how images, objects, and monuments are made, experienced, exchanged, and used by groups of people with diverse religious, socio-economic, and cultural backgrounds. We will focus on themes that have been taken up by different cultures and adapted over time, such as monumentality, the sacred, embodiment, science, and technology. Through a close study of these themes, we will consider how materials, cultures, and histories are transformed and negotiated through making and viewing works of art. In the process, we will challenge the art historical canon by shedding light on marginalized periods, regions, and artworks. 2 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. ART CMP

Spring 2019, Spring 2022

More Information »

HARC 0260 - ContemporaryArt (1960-Present)      

Contemporary Art (1960-Present)
In what ways can artworks help us see our world and ourselves anew? How does the art of our time open the present for us to explore and critique, just as it offers glimmers of possible futures? In attempting to answer these questions, in this course we will survey major developments in international art practice from 1960 to the present. Throughout we will consider the diverse formal strategies of contemporary art alongside the radical upheavals of the recent past and present, from the world-wide protests of the 1960s to the global crisis of climate change and the connectivity (and isolation) of the digital world. ART CMP HIS

Fall 2022

More Information »

HARC 0285 - Mapping Conceptualism      

Mapping Conceptualism: Art and Idea in International Context
In this course we will explore the impact of conceptualism—the notion that an ‘idea’ takes priority over an artwork’s physical form—in a range of historical and geographic contexts from the 1960s forward. Beginning with foundational texts and objects, we will then explore the reach of conceptualist practices through close readings of art and artists in the context of specific artistic milieux and exhibitions from the Americas to Asia. Classes will be a mixture of lecture and more focused discussion. No prerequisites, but some exposure to modern and/or contemporary art is desirable. ART CMP HIS

Fall 2021

More Information »

HARC 0301 - Ways of Seeing      

Ways of Seeing
In this course we will focus on the various methods and theories that can enrich and deepen our understanding of art, architecture, and visual culture. Students will hone their analytical skills, both verbal and written, often with recourse to objects from the College Museum and the campus at large. In general, this seminar will develop students’ awareness of objects of culture broadly construed, and sharpen their understanding of the scope and intellectual history of the field. To be taken during the sophomore or junior year as a prerequisite for HARC 0710 and HARC 0711. 3 hrs. sem. ART CW

Fall 2018, Spring 2021, Fall 2022

More Information »

HARC 0351 - Hysterical Objects      

Hysterical Documents: Fiction, History, and the Art Object
In 1827, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe mused: “But what else is a novel but an unheard-of event?” Goethe’s provocative staging of the unknown through narrative interlaces the plausible and the historical in a manner equally appropriate to much historical writing and broad swaths of the visual arts. In this course we will consider the different roles interpretation and imagination—fact, fiction, and the porous space between—play in our engagement with works of art.
We will read recent fiction, history, poetry and criticism as well as writing that purposefully sidesteps these categories not only to engage the limits of the archive and its objects but also to explore the critical and aesthetic possibilities of writing beyond the binary of fiction and nonfiction. Seminar; no prerequisites, though some exposure to art history would be useful. ART LIT non-standard grade WTR

Winter 2019, Spring 2022

More Information »

HARC 0510 - Advanced Studies      

Advanced Studies
Supervised independent work in art history, museum studies, or architectural studies. (Approval Required)

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

More Information »

HARC 0540 - Independent Museum Studies      

Supervised Independent Work in Museum Studies
This practicum builds upon the Museum Assistants Program (MAP), the hands-on museum education program at the Middlebury College Museum of Art. In MAP, the Curator of Education trains students to conduct tours of the Museum’s permanent collection and of special exhibitions for audiences of peers, school groups, and the general public. Combining service learning with the opportunity to both support and learn more about the arts, students gain expertise in public speaking, art history, and public programming. HARC 0540 should be taken concurrently with the second semester of MAP. The class will culminate with a public presentation on a museum-related topic evaluated by a faculty member of the Department of History of Art & Architecture. (Approval required)

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

More Information »

HARC 0710 - Senior Thesis Research Seminar      

Senior Thesis Research Seminar
In this course students will conceive, undertake research, and plan the organization of their senior thesis in art history or senior museum studies projects. Seminar discussions and workshops will focus on research strategies, conventions in art historical writing, project design, and public presentation skills. (HARC 0301; Approval Required) 3 hr. sem.

Fall 2020

More Information »

INTD 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Approval Required

Winter 2019, Winter 2020

More Information »

Department of History of Art & Architecture

Edward Vazquez, Chair

Michaela Davico, Department Coordinator

Mahaney Center for the Arts
72 Porter Field Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753