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Kaja Silverman



Kaja Silverman is the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, and the author of nine books: The Miracle of Analogy, or The History of Photography, Part 1 (2015); Flesh of My Flesh (2009); James Coleman (2002); World Spectators (2000); Speaking About Godard (1998); The Threshold of the Visible World (1996); Male Subjectivity at the Margins (1992); The Acoustic Mirror: The Female Voice in Psychoanalysis and Cinema (1988); and The Subject of Semiotics (1983). 

Silverman’s recent  book, The Miracle of Analogy, which was published by Stanford University Press in March, 2015, is the first volume in a three-volume reconceptualization of photography. The Miracle of Analogy is primarily concerned with the nineteenth century and some of its contemporary progeny. The second volume, A Three-Personed Picture, which Silverman hopes to complete by December 2017, addresses the relationship between photography and painting in the period extending from 1839 to 1940, and the shifting status of the "pictorial." The Promise of Social Happiness,  which is half-written,  is focused on the re-emergence of pictorial photography in the second half of the twentieth century, and the first decades of the twenty-first, through two closely-related forms:  photo-painting, and large-format photography. 

Before joining the History of Art Department at Penn, Silverman taught at Berkeley for many years. Earlier in her career, she taught at the University of Rochester, Brown University, Simon Fraser University, Trinity College, and Yale University.

Several years ago, Silverman was awarded a Distinguished Achievement Award by the Mellon Foundation, which she has been using  to fund a series of conferences, lectures, public conversations and artist residencies,  a Knut Asdam exhibition, that included a commissioned work, and a Victor Burgin exhibition, which she co-curated with Homay King currently on view at the Slought Foundation.  All of these events have taken place at the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration either with the ICA, the Slought Foundation,the Penn Museum, or the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and are listed in the "Event Archive."

Berkeley, 1998.

Berkeley, 1998.


Silverman wrote Speaking About Godard—a book about couples--with Harun Farocki, her life partner from 1992-1999. She and Farocki also collaborated on a number of other projects,  including four seminars at the University of California, Berkeley.