Michael Amy Headshot

Michael Amy

Professor

School of Art
College of Art and Design

585-475-7921
Office Location
Office Mailing Address
Michael Amy, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of the History of Art, School of Art, College of Art and Design, R

Michael Amy

Professor

School of Art
College of Art and Design

Education

BA, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium); MA, Ph.D., New York University

Bio

Michaël J. Amy is an art historian, critic, writer, public speaker, and curator with a B.A. from the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. He is a Distinguished Professor of Art History in the College of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Michaël Amy, the leading authority on Michelangelo's commission for Apostle statues for the Cathedral of Florence, is an expert on 15th and 16th century Renaissance art and architecture, as well as 20th and 21st century art. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Burlington Magazine, Art in America, Viator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the Encyclopedia of the Renaissance (Grendler, P. F. ed., New York, 1999), the acts of the international symposium Santa Maria del Fiore: The Cathedral and its Sculpture (Haines, M. ed., Fiesole, 2001), the Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, Art & Antiques, the Nieuw Tijdschrift van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel, DITS: Violence, Art China, Sculpture, tema celeste, and Blasphèmes et Libertés. His fifty essays on contemporary art have appeared in monographs, exhibition catalogues, and brochures.

Michaël Amy’s numerous exhibition reviews have appeared in Art in America, Sculpture, tema celeste, Apollo, Art News, Art on Paper, The New York Sun, Art & Culture, and Kunst & Cultuur, and his book reviews have been published in CAA.Reviews. His interviews with the jazz musicians Warne Marsh and Max Roach were broadcast by the cultural program of the Flemish Radio BRT III, and his interviews with the artists James Rosenquist, Guillaume Bijl, Pierre Huyghe, Jon Kessler, Julian Schnabel, Tony Oursler, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Wim Delvoye, Carol Penelope Lambert, Johan Creten, Li Hongwei, Alisa Baremboym, David Altmejd, Mathilde Roussel, Folkert de Jong, Diana Al-Hadid, Peter Buggenhout, Meeson Pae Yang, Edward Burtynsky, Sofi Zezmer, Kim Joon, Dustin Yellin, Kristen Morgin, Andre Woodward, Michelle Segre, Eunsuh Choi, Ricardo Brey, Herman van Bergen, Golnaz Fathi, and Jan Fabre, have appeared in Art in America, Sculpture, tema celeste, Afterimage, The Art Section, De Financieel-Economische Tijd, and exhibition catalogues.

Michaël Amy’s book One to One, Conversation avec Tony Oursler, appeared in 2006 (Brussels, Facteur Humain), his book Michaël Borremans: Whistling a Happy Tune appeared in 2008 (Ghent, Ludion), and his book Hiroshi Senju, co-authored with Rachel Baum, was published in 2009 (Milan, Skira). The exhibition and panel he organized on contemporary abstract painting on disc-shaped supports were featured at Wooster Arts Space in New York City in February 2006, and his exhibition on quirkiness in contemporary abstract painting and sculpture was featured at the Westport Arts Center in Westport, CT, in November and December 2007.

Michaël Amy has read papers at the international symposium Santa Maria del Fiore: The Cathedral and its Sculpture held at The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Villa I Tatti, Settignano, and (virtually, via Zoom) at the University of Rochester, NY, as well as at meetings of the Renaissance Society of America, the Provo / Athens Renaissance Sculpture Conference, the Central Renaissance Conference, the International Congress on Medieval Studies (at Kalamazoo), the New College Conference on Medieval-Renaissance Studies, the Art History Symposium at SUNY Geneseo, the Yeongwol International Museum Forum (South Korea)and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels. He has given guest lectures at schools, colleges and universities, including Oberlin College, Bowdoin College, Gettysburg College, Colgate University, Hofstra University, Rochester Institute of Technology, the Harley School, Brighton, NY, (virtually, via Zoom) at the University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, the University of Northern Iowa, Western Illinois University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Westport Arts Center, CT, the Università degli Studi di Ferrara, the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, Florence, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Sint-Jozefscollege, Aarschot, Belgium, and in Radda, Chianti, on behalf of the University of California, San Diego, and in Florence, on behalf of Vassar College. 

Michaël Amy has taught the history of art at Oberlin College, The Cooper Union, the Metropolitan Museum of Art on behalf of the 92nd Street Y, New York University, Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York, Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY, Montclair State University, NJ, and the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst (now SMAK), Ghent, Belgium. 

Michaël Amy was awarded numerous fellowships and grants over the years, including from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the Belgian American Educational Foundation. In May 2006, he was awarded the Gitner Family Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Communication by Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences (now the College of Art and Design), in May 2007, he was awarded a Trustees Scholarship Award by RIT, and in February 2024, he became a RIT Distinguished Professor. In 2007, 2008 and 2010, he was nominated for an Eisenhart Outstanding Teaching Award, and in 2009 and 2010, he was nominated once more for the Gitner Family Prize.

Michaël Amy is a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) and is a Contributing Editor at Sculpture (Washington, DC).

585-475-7921

Personal Links
Areas of Expertise

Select Scholarship

Published Review
Amy, Michael. "Pepón Osorio." Rev. of Pepón Osorio, by N/A. Sculpture 14 Sep. 2023: /. Web.
Amy, Michael. "Mire Lee." Rev. of Mire Lee, by Michael Amy. Sculpture 29 Aug. 2023: /. Web.
Amy, Michael. "Anita Molinero." Rev. of Anita Molinero, by Michael Amy. Sculpture 24 Jan. 2023: /. Web.
AMY, MICHAEL. "Rachel Harrison." Rev. of Rachel Harrison, by Michael Amy. Sculpture Jul. 2020: 90-91. Print.
Amy, Michaël. "Review of: Florentiner Malerei: Alte Pinakothek: Die Gemälde des 14. bis 16. Jahrhunderts." Rev. of Florentiner Malerei: Alte Pinakothek: Die Gemälde des 14. bis 16. Jahrhunderts, eds. Andreas Schumacher, Annette Kranz, and Annette Hojer. Renaissance Quarterly 15 Jul. 2019: 602-604. Print.
Invited Article/Publication
Amy, Michael. "Spiritual Labyrinth: A Conversation with Herman van Bergen." Sculpture. (2023). Print.
Amy, Michael. "Memory Is a Weapon: A Conversation with Ricardo Brey." Sculpture. (2023). Print.
Amy, Michael. "Destructive Forces: A Conversation with Jon Kessler." Sculpture. (2023). Print.
Amy, Michael. "Tony Oursler." The Art Section, An Online Journal of Art and Cultural Commentary. (2023). Web.
Amy, Michael. "Wonderment and Reflection: A Conversation with Coral Penelope Lambert." Sculpture. (2023). Print.
AMY, MICHAEL. "Bruce Nauman: Endurance Act." Sculpture. (2020). Web.
AMY, MICHAEL. "Sarah Lucas: Naked Honesty." Sculpture. (2020). Print.
Amy, Michaël. "Cathy Wilkes: Ugly Archetypes." Sculpture. (2019). Print.
Amy, Michaël. "Cultivating Dualities: A Conversation with Li Hongwei." Sculpture. (2019). Web.
Amy, Michaël. "Double-Takes: A Conversation with Alisa Baremboym." Sculpture. (2018). Print.
Amy, Michaël. "Forms of Proliferation: A Conversation with Sofi Żezmer." Sculpture. (2018). Print.
Amy, Michaël. "Critical Thinking in Art." Critical Thinking to Making, 2018 Fram Signature Event, RIT College of Art and Design. (2018). Print.
Amy, Michael. "The Dance of Beauty and Failure: A Conversation with Michelle Segre." Sculpture. (2017). Print.
Amy, Michael. "Gravity's Pull: A Conversation with Mathilde Roussel." Sculpture. (2017). Print.
Amy, Michael. "The Meat of Sculpture: Paul Thek." Sculpture. (2014). Print.
Amy, Michael. "Paul McCarthy: Rotten to the Core." Sculpture. (2014). Print.
Amy, Michael. "The Abandoned House Project." Abandoned house. (2014). Web.
Amy, Michael. "Making Connections." Robert Devriendt: Broken Stories. (2014). Print.
Amy, Michael. "Unicorn." Michaël Borremans, As Sweet As It Gets. (2014). Print.
Amy, Michael. "Antwerp Feasts." Jan Fabre. Tribute to Hieronymus Bosch in Congo. (2014). Print.
Amy, Michael. "Edward Burtynsky, Water." Sundaram Tagore Gallery. (2014). Web.
Invited Keynote/Presentation
Amy, Michael. "Cimabue's Altarpiece of the Crucifixion in the Upper Church of San Francesco at Assisi." Art History Symposium. SUNY Geneseo. Geneseo, NY. 28 Apr. 2023. Keynote Speech.
Amy, Michael. "Alice Neel: Four Paintings of Seated Figures." /. School of Visual Arts & Design, University of Central Florida. Orlando, FL. 11 Oct. 2023. Lecture.
Journal Paper
Amy, Michaël. "The Illusionist: A Conversation with Guillaume Bijl." Afterimage 49. 3 (2022): 4-22. Web.
Amy, Michael. "Bernini: Sculpting in Clay." CAA.Reviews. (2013): 1-3. Web.
Amy, Michael. "Ghosts of Things: A Conversation with Diana Al-Hadid." Sculpture 32. 3 (2013): 20-27. Print.
Amy, Michael. "Myths of Fantastical Life: A Conversation with Meeson Pae Yang." Sculpture 32. 5 (2013): 24-31. Print.
Amy, Michael. "Concentrated Form: A Conversation with Johan Creten." Sculpture 32. 7 (2013): 30-37. Print.
Amy, Michael. "Lee Bul, Phantasmic Morphologies." Sculpture 30. 4 (2011): 20-27. Print.
Book Chapter
Amy, Michaël and Mark Gisbourne. "The Missing Are Presumed Dead." Olivier Masmonteil. s.l., s.l.: Blurb, 2018. pp.5-12. Print.
Amy, Michaël. "An Architecture of Light." Michael Taylor: Traversing Parallels. Seattle, Washington: University of Washington Press, 2018. pp.99-105. Print.
Amy, Michaël. "Horror and Hope." Lee Bul. Ed. Stephanie Rosenthal. London, Great Britain: Hayward Gallery Publishing, 2018. pp.137-140. Print.
Amy, Michaël and Alex Miokovic. "Interiors." Nostalgia: A Guide to Collective Melancholie. Ed. Pavel Romaniko. Boston, MA: Pavel Romaniko, 2018. pp.5-10. Print.
Amy, Michaël. "Li Hongwei: Tradition and Change." Beyond Reflection: The Art of Li Hongwei. Boston, Mass.: Pucker Art Publications, 2018. 49-56. Print.
Amy, Michael. "Lorenzo il Magnifico's Facade for the Cathedral of Florence and Michelangelo's Apostle Statues, with an Addendum on the St. Matthew in 1515." Michelangelo Buonarroti: Leben, Werk und Wirkung. Positionen und Perspektiven der Forschung / Michelangelo Buonarroti: Vita, Opere, Ricezione. Approdi e prospettive della ricerca contemporanea. Ed. Grazia Dolores Folliero-Metz and Susanne Gramatzki. Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Peter Lang Verlag, 2013. 667-731. Print.
Published Article
Amy, Michael. “Boston Light: Daguerreotypes by Southworth & Hawes Convey Mid-19th-century America Through its Luminaries and Ordinary Citizens.” Johan Swinnen and LucDeneulin eds. The Weight of Photography: Photography: History, Theory andCriticism: Introductory Readings, (2010): 67-72. Print.
Amy, Michael. “The Call of the Wild.” Jan Fabre, ChaptersI-XVIII, Waxes & Bronze, (2010): 140-141. Print.
Amy, Michael. “Art as a Disappearing Act: A Conversation with Dustin Yellin.” Sculpture, 29.5 (2010): 40-47. Print.
Amy, Michael. “NothingOutlives Mortality: A Conversation with Kristen Morgin.” Sculpture, 29.3(2010): 46-51. Print.

Currently Teaching

ARTH-135
3 Credits
In this course students will examine the forms, styles, functions, and meanings of important objects and monuments dating from prehistory through the Middle Ages, and consider these works of art in their social, historical and cultural contexts. The primary goals of this course are to learn how to look, how to describe and analyze what we see, and how to use these skills to understand and explain how art visually expresses meaning. At the end of the term, students will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of the discipline of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors.
ARTH-136
3 Credits
In this course students will examine the forms, styles, functions, and meanings of important objects and monuments dating from the Renaissance through the beginning of the twentieth century, and consider these works of art in their social, historical and cultural contexts. The primary goals of this course are to learn how to look and how to describe and analyze what we see, and to use these skills to understand and explain how art visually expresses meaning. At the end of the term, students will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of the discipline of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors.
ARTH-311
3 Credits
The subject of this course is painting, sculpture and architecture of the second half of the Dugento and the Trecento in Italy and its aim is to provide insight into the ways in which society and culture expressed its values through art; 1250 marks the death of the last Hohenstaufen Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and 1401 is considered by many to mark the beginning of the Early Renaissance, with the competition for the second set of bronze doors for the Baptistery of Florence. Artists students will study will include Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, Arnolfo di Cambio, Cimabue, Pietro Cavallini, Giotto, Duccio, Simone Martini, Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Tino da Camaino, Andrea Pisano, Orcagna, Andrea Bonaiuti, Giusto de’ Menabuoi, Altichiero, and Paolo Veneziano. The works students will study will include altarpieces, private devotional images, mural cycles, tombs, churches, chapels, town halls, palazzi and piazze. Questions for consideration will include: the nature and meaning of this proto-Renaissance, the importance of antique and medieval precedents, the increasing attention to the effects of nature, the role of the patron, and the relevance of documents, literary sources and visual precedents for our interpretation of images.
ARTH-312
3 Credits
This course will focus on Italian artists working in Italy from circa 1600 to circa 1750 and to provide insight into the ways in which society and culture expressed its values through art. Students will explore painting, sculpture, and architecture, and more or less chronologically in each major artistic center of Italy. Students will also have the opportunity to explore how these different media coalesce to create an overwhelming visual experience. Students will pay particular attention to major commissions given to Annibale Carracci, Michelangelo da Caravaggio, Gianlorenzo Bernini, Alessandro Algardi, Francesco Borromini, Pietro da Cortona, Guarino Guarini, Filippo Juvarra and Giambattista Tiepolo, as we seek to define the nature and meaning of the Italian Baroque and Rococo.
ARTH-317
3 Credits
The subject of this course is 15th century painting, sculpture and architecture in Florence and Rome and its aim is to provide insight into the ways in which society and culture expressed its values through art between 1401, the year when the Calimala Guild announced a competition for a second set of bronze doors for the Baptistery of Florence, and 1500 the year when Michelangelo completed work on the Roman Pietà. Artists students will study include Filippo Brunelleschi, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello, Nanni di Banco, Luca della Robbia, Michelozzo, Leon Battista Alberti, Lorenzo Monaco, Gentile da Fabriano, Masaccio, Fra Angelico, Fra Filippo Lippi, Paolo Uccello, Bernardo and Antonio Rossellino, Andrea del Verrocchio, Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico del Ghirlandaio, Leonardo da Vinci, Filippino Lippi and Michelangelo. The works students will study will include altarpieces, private devotional images, portraits, mural cycles, paintings and sculpture of mythological subjects, allegories, ceilings, doors, tombs, churches, chapels, palazzi, villas and piazze. Questions for consideration will include: the nature and meaning of the Early Renaissance, developments in artistic theory and practice, the importance of Antique and Medieval precedents, the increasing attention to the effects of nature, the role of the patron, and the relevance of documents, literary sources and visual precedents for our interpretation of images.
ARTH-318
3 Credits
The subject of this course is 16th century painting, sculpture and architecture in Florence and Rome and its aim is to provide insight into the ways in which society and culture expressed its values through art between 1501, the year when Michelangelo returned from Rome to Florence to begin carving the colossal marble David, and 1600 which marks the emergence of the Baroque style in Rome. Artists students will study include Leonardo da Vinci, Bramante, Michelangelo, Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo, Jacopo Sansovino, Baccio Bandinelli, Jacopo Pontormo, Agnolo Bronzino, Benvenuto Cellini, Bartolomeo Ammannati, Giorgio Vasari, and Giovanni Bologna. The works students will study will include altarpieces, private devotional images, portraits, mural cycles, paintings and sculpture of mythological subjects, allegories, ceilings, tombs, churches, chapels, palazzi, villas, piazze, fountains and equestrian monuments. Questions for consideration will include: the nature and meaning of the High Renaissance, Mannerism, and the late Renaissance, developments in artistic theory and practice, the importance of antique and medieval precedents, the increasing attention to the effects of nature, the role of the patron, and the relevance of documents, literary sources and visual precedents for our interpretation of images.
ARTH-379
3 Credits
The course explores the history of Renaissance painting in the Southern Netherlands from the beginning of the 15th century to the end of the 16th century with specific focus on women, gender, and illness and the birth of Early Modern Europe. We will consider the meaning of the Renaissance in Flanders, the observation and recording of natural appearances, “hidden symbolism” and sacramental themes in Early Netherlandish painting, the connections between Flemish, German, and Italian art, the development of new genres in the 16th century, and “originality” and artistic progress.