H. Alexander Rich, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Art HistoryDirector of Galleries & ExhibitionsArt History Program Director
“My primary goal as a teacher of art history is to provide students with the tools they need to study art critically. I have three overarching objectives for them: that they learn how to look at art, how to talk about art, and how to write about art. By honing their innate skills of observation, I want students to understand why the history of the art we study is as essential as the art itself.”
Dr. Rich is Assistant Professor of Art History, Director of Galleries & Exhibitions, and lead coordinator of the Art History Program at Florida Southern College. He is also Director of the Melvin and Burks Galleries on campus and Curator and Director of Galleries & Exhibitions at the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College. Dr. Rich is a specialist in Modern and Contemporary art history, with a particular focus on European and American art of the 19th and 20th centuries. He earned his Ph.D. in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and his A.B. from Dartmouth College. His dissertation, entitled “Artist or Critic?: Guy Pène du Bois & the Search for Artistic Identity,” examined the under-recognized legacy of the artist and art critic Guy Pène du Bois, who was a key figure in the advent of modern art in America but is virtually unknown today.
A native of New York City, Dr. Rich is the curator of far-ranging museum exhibitions, including most recently Masters of Spain: Goya and Picasso, Renoir: Les Études, Rembrandt’s Academy, and Chagall: Stories into Dreams at the Polk Museum of Art. Before moving to Florida in 2014, Dr. Rich taught previously in both the History of Art Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York and in the City University of New York system. Prior to joining the staff of the Polk Museum in 2017, he has also worked in both curatorial and education capacities at museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Hood Museum of Art in Hanover, NH.
Ph.D., Art History, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, New York, NY
M.A., Art History, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, New York, NY
A.B., English / Art History, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
Honors and Awards
Florida Southern College
- Faculty Summer Research Stipend: 2016.
Institute Of Fine Arts, New York University
- Lila Acheson Wallace Fellowship: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.
- Samuel F.B. Morse Fellowship: 2006.
- Director’s Fellowship: 2004, 2005.
- Leo and Karen Gutmann Foundation Grant: 2004, 2005, 2006.
- Leon and Shelby Levy Fellowship: 2003.
- Arthur Feinstein 1955 Memorial Award in English Honors. Dartmouth English Department award for outstanding Honors Thesis.
- B. William Hochman 1955 Memorial Award in American Literature. Dartmouth English Department award recognizing academic excellence in American literature courses over previous four years.
- Class of 1962 Award for Excellence in Writing Assistance. Award for outstanding performance as a Writing/Teaching Assistant.
Publications and Exhibitions
“A Nightmare Experience: Henry Fuseli’s The Nightmare, Bram Stoker’s Dracula & the Experiential Role of the Viewer/Reader in Two Gothic Masterworks,” Journal of Florida Studies (2018): 150-162.
“Interpreters of Nature: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Frank Lloyd Wright, and the ‘Sense of Place,’” Journal of Florida Literature 24 (2016): 33-48.
Robert Vickrey: Master of Magic Realism, editor and contributor, exhibition catalogue, Lakeland: Melvin Art Gallery, Florida Southern College, 2015.
“Otherness, The Expatriate Tradition & the Search For Identity in 1990s Art,” in Shades of Time: An Exhibition from the Archive of Korean-American Artists, 1989-2001, exhibition catalogue, ed. Kyunghee Pyun, New York: AHL Foundation, 2014: 23-31.
“Rediscovering Florine (Again),” Woman’s Art Journal, (Fall/Winter 2012): 22-29.
“Dorothy Norman,” “Paul Pfeiffer,” “Kenny Scharf,” and “Esteban Vicente,” entries in The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art, ed. Joan Marter, New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
“Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party,” Brooklyn Museum of Art website, place settings/heritage tiles entries, fifty plus articles on historical women for comprehensive searchable online database, 2006.
“Mel Kendrick: Seeing the Sculpture in the Tree,” Valley News, March 7, 2002
Staff Arts Writer, The Dartmouth newspaper, Fall 1999 to Spring 2003.
“Whose Academic Museum?: Transforming a Community Museum into an Academic Museum for All,” Roundtable Panel Leader, 2018 Association of Academic Museums and Galleries Annual Conference, Miami, FL: June 21-24 2018 [forthcoming]
"Goya, Picasso, and the Symbolism of the Bull,” Moderator and Panelist, Goya, Picasso & the Heritage of Spain, Florida Humanities Council Grant-Funded Panel, Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, FL: April 3, 2018.
“Childhood Visual Literacy: Seeing the World Through Art and Museums ,” Keynote Address, Fifth Annual Visionaries of the Visual Arts Awards, Naples, FL: January 9, 2018.
“New Perspectives: Reconsidering Renoir and ‘American’ Art,” Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, FL: December 22, 2017. (https://polkmuseumofart.org/press-content/2018/1/10/watch-renoir-les-tudes-lecture)
“A Brief-ish History of Photography,” Jerry Uelsmann Exhibition Lecture, Florida Southern College, Lakeland, FL: October 26, 2017.
“Faces in the Crowd: The Individual and Communal Experience of Seeing & Being Seen in the Museum,” Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, FL: October 6, 2017. (https://vimeo.com/244839605)
“The Museum as Academy: Or What We Learn When We Look at Art,” Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, FL: June 9, 2017.
“From Paris to Cos Cob: An American Impressionism,” Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, FL: January 20, 2017.
“The Art of Subversion,” Honors Program Supper Seminar, Florida Southern College, Lakeland, FL: November 7, 2016.
“A Nightmare Experience: Henry Fuseli’s The Nightmare, Bram Stoker’s Dracula & the Experiential Role of the Viewer/Reader in Two Gothic Masterworks,” Florida College English Association Conference, St. Petersburg, Florida: October 2016.
“Picasso, Zao Wou-ki, Whanki Kim in Paris: The ‘Other’ at Home,” AHL Foundation Public Lecture Series, Korean Cultural Service NY, New York, NY: October 2015.
“Robert Frank’s Florida: Rediscovering 1950s Florida from within the Pages of Frank’s Masterwork The Americans,” Florida College English Association Conference, St. Petersburg, Florida: October 2015.
“Interpreters of Nature: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Frank Lloyd Wright, and the ‘Sense of Place,’” 28th Annual Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society Conference, Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida: March 2015.