Matthew Nicholas Biro

Matthew Biro is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art in the Department of the History of Art, where he also served as department chair between 2010 and 2016. He is an expert in modern and contemporary art and the history of photography; and the philosophical questions he investigates have to do with the relationships between art (in a wide variety of media), technology, and identity. He is the author of Anselm Kiefer and the Philosophy of Martin Heidegger (Cambridge University Press, 1998), The Dada Cyborg: Visions of the New Human in Weimar Berlin (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), and Anselm Kiefer (Phaidon Press, 2013). In addition to publishing frequently in academic journals on a wide variety of subjects, he has also written essays and reviews on contemporary art, film, and photography for a variety of magazines, including Artforum, Art in America, The Brooklyn Rail, Contemporary, Art Papers, and The New Art Examiner. He is currently writing a book on the photographer Robert Heinecken; and since 2015, he has been Co-Director of the Michigan-Mellon Project on Egalitarianism and the Metropolis, a four-and-a-half-year series of symposia, courses, exhibitions, and publications, which is funded by $1.3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Nick Cave: Forothermore

A discussion with artist and messenger Nick Cave: “Nick Cave: Forothermore,” a conversation between Matthew Biro and Nick Cave, New Social Environment #634, hosted by The Brooklyn Rail, August 26, 2022.

Cave’s art blends community building with vibrant works of art across disciplines, including immersive installations, textural
sculptures, impeccably crafted fashion, and dynamic videos and performances.


As suggested by Medium of Exchange, the latest project by Iranian-American artist Sheida Soleimani, Krauss’s distinction between the Dadaist and Surrealist approach to photography—viewer alienation (and the concomitant emphasis on the conceptual nature of the image) ormystery and uncanniness (with its stress on the polysemy of the world and the people within it)—no longer makes much sense; at least, when used to examine the work of radical artists like Soleimani.

Drones / Time Magazine

“If you think about traditional art and Renaissance perspective, the ideal viewer was on the ground with a stable horizon line,” says Matthew Biro, a professor of modern and contemporary art at the University of Michigan. “And the drone takes us off that. It takes us out of our body in a certain way, kind of giving us an overlaid perspective.” .… The aerial perspective is liberating precisely because it’s destabilizing, Biro says. “Drone vision allows us to see that there are multiple ways of seeing ourselves and seeing the rest of the world. We step out of ourselves to some extent. That’s its positive potential.”

ALEX WEBB La Calle, Photographs from Mexico

My take on the new show by Alex Webb. Now traveling across the United States. Link below.


Alex Webb, Boquillas del Carmen, Coahuila, 1979

© Alex Webb / Magnum Photos


Alex Webb, Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas, 1983

© Alex Webb / Magnum Photos


Alex Webb, Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, 1985

© Alex Webb / Magnum Photos


Alex Webb, Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, 1996

© Alex Webb / Magnum Photos


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