University of Calgary

Trevor Stark

  • Assistant Professor

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Trevor Stark is Assistant Professor of Art History in the Department of Art. He completed his PhD in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. His teaching and research focuses on the emergence and development of the “avant-garde” in twentieth-century art, as a social formation and an aesthetic ideology.

His book titled Total Expansion of the Letter: Avant-Garde Art and Language after Mallarmé is forthcoming in 2020 from the MIT Press, as part of the October Books series ( It is a study of how language became both a visual medium and a metaphorical structure for certain artists of the European avant-gardes, from cubism to Dada. Stark traces the genealogy of this first “linguistic turn” to the poetics of Stéphane Mallarmé, who developed a critique of instrumental communication that was devoted to the contingency of the word and the world.

Stark’s research has been supported by fellowships from Columbia University, the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Harvard University. His writing has appeared in journals including Art History, October, Texte zur Kunst, and The Burlington Magazine. Stark was co-chair (with Rachel Silveri) of two panels on “Avant-Gardes and Varieties of Fascism” at the 2016 College Art Association Conference.

Current research topics include the legacies of serialism and Fascism in the cinema of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub; Marcel Broodthaers’ encounter with the theory of reification; and a long-term project on Dada’s relation to the norms and forms of social rationalization, including the rise of finance capital and of administrative bureaucracy.


Book Chapter


  • PhD - History of Art and Architecture
    Harvard University, 2016
  • AM - History of Art and Architecture
    Harvard University, 2012
  • MA - Art History & Communication Studies
    McGill University, 2009
  • BA (Hons) - Art History and Arts & Science Program
    McMaster University, 2006
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