Brendan Fay

A photo of Brendan Fay

Associate Professor

Art History; Foundations

232 - Ford


[email protected]


PhD, History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University


Brendan Fay teaches courses in modern and contemporary art history. He joined the School of Art and Design in 2015, and his recent seminars have studied the Bauhaus and its legacy in the United States, the emergence of performance art, and the evolution of Detroit’s contemporary art scene. 

A Michigan native and University of Michigan alumnus, Dr. Fay completed his dissertation on photography and abstraction at Harvard University, and subsequently held a postdoctoral Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities at Stanford University. His primary research examines issues related to modernism and photographic education in the United States; additional research interests include problems of abstraction and materiality in contemporary photography, along with aspects of performance, sound and new media. His writing has appeared in History of PhotographyArtforumExposure and the online publication Infinite Mile.

In cooperation with the Moholy-Nagy Foundation, based in Ann Arbor, MI, Dr. Fay is currently working on a catalogue raisonné of color photographs by László Moholy-Nagy. He also serves as a member of the Minor White Project Committee at the Princeton University Art Museum, an advisory group dedicated to the legacy and archives of the founding editor of Aperture magazine. He received a 2016 Minor White Research Grant to support ongoing work on White’s teaching and writing, and previously received a 2014 Ansel Adams Research Fellowship at the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.