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Art and Visual Culture Faculty and Staff

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Administrative Staff

Academic Advisor

Graduate Coordinator



Associate Professor

April Eisman

Associate Professor, Art and Visual Culture (Contemporary Art History)

Mailing Address

Art and Visual Culture Department
158 College of Design
Ames, IA, 50011

Contact Information

Phone: (515) 294-8513
Office: 383 Design

Research Interests

"Der Prophet im eigenen Land" (Sächsische Zeitung)
"Culture in the Cold War: East German Art, Music & Film" -
     NEH Summer Institute, project team member (press)
Interview at the Museum of Modern Art (video)
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (press)


PhD, History of Art & Architecture, University of Pittsburgh
MA, History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
BA, English & Art History, Lawrence University

Contemporary art and theory
East German (GDR) painting and reception
Post-colonialism, post-socialism, feminism, and Marxism

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (press)
Amer. Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship, AAUW (press)
Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities
Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies
German Academic Exchange Service / DAAD
Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship
Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowship
Arts and Sciences Fellowship, Pittsburgh University

Bernhard Heisig and the Fight for Modern Art in East Germany (Camden House, forthcoming)

"Whose East German Art is This? The Politics of Reception After 1989" in New Research on East Germany, ed. Marc Silberman, Imaginations Journal of Cross-Cultural Visual Studies, 8:1 (2017) (online)

“Re-examining the Staatskünstler Myth: B. Heisig and the Post-Wall Reception of East German Painting,” in Virtual Walls? Balancing Political Unity & Cultural Difference in Contemporary Germany, eds. F. Lys and M. Dreyer (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2017), 117-30

"From Double Burden to Double Vision: The Doppelgaenger in Doris Ziegler's Paintings of Women in East Germany," in The Doppelgaenger (German Visual Culture 3), ed. Deborah Ascher Barnstone (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2016), 45-66

"East German Art and the Permeability of the Berlin Wall," in German Studies Review 38, no. 3 (2015): 597-616 (toc)

"From Economic Equality to 'Mommy Politics': Women Artists and the Challenges of Gender in East German Painting," in International Journal for History, Culture and Modernity 2, no. 2 (2014): 175-203 (pdf)

“Heidrun Hegewald and the Cold War Politics of the Family in East German Painting,” in Elize Bisanz and Marlene Heidel, eds. Bildgespenster. Künstlerische Archive aus der DDR und ihre Rolle heute (Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Verlag, 2014), 205-229

"Painting the East German Experience: Neo Rauch in the Late 1990s," in Oxford Art Journal 35, no. 2 (2012): 233-250 (pdf)

"Denying Difference in the Post-Socialist Other: Bernhard Heisig and the Changing Reception of an East German Artist," in Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture, no. 2 (2012): 45-73 (pdf)

"In the Crucible: Bernhard Heisig and the Hotel Deutschland Murals," in Amy Wlodarski and Elaine Kelly, eds., Art Outside the Lines: New Perspectives on GDR Art Culture. (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2011), 21-39 (docs)

"In Memoriam - Bernhard Heisig (1925-2011)," German Studies Association Newsletter 36, no. 2 (2011): 97-100 (docs)

"Painting the Berlin Wall in Leipzig: The Politics of Art in 1960s East Germany," in Sabine Hake and Philip Broadbent, eds., Berlin. Divided City, 1949-1989. (New York & Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2010), 83-9 (googlebooks)(docs - galley version)

"Heisigs Geisterbahn," in Ruediger Kuettner, ed. Bernhard Heisig, Eine unendliche Geschichte. (Berlin: Galerie Berlin, 2010), 126-7

Review of the 2009 LACMA exhibition catalog, Art of Two Germanys / Cold War Cultures. Published in German History 27, no. 4 (2009): 628-630 (docs)

“Playing with the Political: Feng Mengbo’s Streetfighter IV,” Yishu, Journal for Contemporary Chinese Art 5, no. 1 (Spring 2006): 101-7 (docs)

“Eine ‘US-Amerikanische’ Sicht auf Bernhard Heisig,” Gestern und in dieser Zeit – Bernhard Heisig zum Achzigsten (Leipzig: Faber & Faber, 2005), 42-5

“The Media of Manipulation: Mainstream News in the U.S. in the Weeks Following 9/11” Critical Quarterly 45, no. 1/2 (Spring/Summer 2003): 55-72

Interview for the C-Map Project at the Museum of Modern Art (video)

Co-organizer (with Sonja Klocke) of the "GDR and Socialisms Network" (German Studies Association, 2018-21)
     - 2018, Forever Young? Marx at 200

Co-founder of the Transatlantic Institute for East German Art (TIEGA) and co-organizer of its triennial conference
     - 2017, Transatlantic Workshop on East German Art (Dresden)
     - 2014, Reassessing East German Art (Ames, USA)

Co-organizer (with Ben Robinson & Eli Rubin) of the "German Socialisms Network" (German Studies Association, 2014-16)
     - 2016, Ecologies of Socialism
     - 2015, Alterity, Resistance, and Social Change:
                    Marxist and Postmarxist Approaches
     - 2014, The Commons: Communism, Public
                    Space, Open Access

Co-organizer of the Berlin Program Summer Workshop (Freie Universitaet Berlin, 2013-15):
     - 2015, Violence, Oppression, and Civil Disobedience
     - 2014, Virtual Germans
     - 2013, Germany Looks East

Current Projects

Angela Hampel: A Contemporary Artist in East Germany

Women Painters in East Germany

Art H 280: History of Art I

Art H 388: Modern Art & Theory to 1945
Art H 395: Art & Theory After 1945

Art H 498: Art & Dictatorships
Art H 498: Art of Communist East Germany
Art H 498: Art of the Americas Before Columbus

Art H 501: Issues in Visual & Material Culture (grad theory)
Art H 595: Contemporary Art (graduate seminar)
Art H 598: The Art World After 1989 (graduate seminar)