Bärbel Küster is professor and chair of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Institute of Art History, University of Zurich. Previously she had been visiting professor at the Technical University of Berlin from 2014 to 2017, after teaching at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design and the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart. Her writing focuses on transnational aspects and artistic appropriations in modern art, as well as museum history, ethnographic and colonial exhibitions, and artistic relations between Africa and Europe.
Orality and Photography. Dialogues in Bamako, Dakar and elsewhere, an oral history research project with photographers from Mali and Senegal (in cooperation with students from Karlsruhe and Stuttgart) was accompanied by a touring exhibition on show in Ulm, Dakar, St. Louis and Bamako (2014 – 15) and finally published as a website (edited together with Clara Pacquet) with contributions from various researchers, curators and artists.
Her research about artistic representations in colonial contexts of World Fairs and Museum history led to the publications about ‘French Art for All! Museum projects in Africa 1912-1931 between avant-garde and colonialism’, in The Museum is Open. Transnational History of Museums 1750 to 1945 edited by Bénédicte Savoy and Andrea Meyer (Berlin 2013), ‘Zwischen Ästhetik, Politik und Ethnographie: Die Präsentation des Belgischen Kongo auf der Weltausstellung Brüssel-Tervuren 1897’, in Die Schau des Fremden. Ausstellungskonzepte zwischen Kunst, Kommerz und Wissenschaft, edited by Cordula Grewe (Stuttgart 2006), as well as ‘The first colonial art museum and transnationalism in the visual arts. Saint Denis, La Réunion 1912’ in Locating transnational ideals, edited by Saskia Schabio and Walter Göbel (London 2010), and ’ “Weltkunst” und “Globalkunst” – Widersprüche eines kunsttheoretischen und künstlerischen Handlungsraums als Utopie von Entgrenzung’ in Wissen in Bewegung. Theoriebildung unter dem Fokus von Entgrenzung und Grenzziehung, edited by Gérard Raulet and Sarah Schmidt (Stuttgart 2014).