Tina Rivers Ryan
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Tina Rivers Ryan

Fee Range1: $ 2500 - $5000

Art Historian and Critic




New York


Tina Rivers Ryan

Tina Rivers RyanArt Historian and Critic

An art historian by training, Dr. Tina Rivers Ryan is currently Assistant Curator of contemporary art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. She holds a BA from Harvard, three Master’s Degrees, and a PhD from Columbia, and has taught classes on art at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Pratt Institute, and Columbia, where she was one of the top-ranked instructors of the introduction to art history, “Art Humanities: Masterpieces of Western Art.” A regular critic for Artforum, her writing has also appeared in periodicals such as Art in America and Art Journal, and in catalogs published by museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Tate. As a public speaker and scholar, Dr. Ryan has delivered lectures on topics ranging from Michelangelo to Warhol in more than 50 cities internationally.


Four Paintings Every Art Lover Should See

If you had to name the four most important paintings in Western art—the ones that most influenced the course of art, or history, or both—what would they be? (Mona Lisa, anybody?) While a fun exercise, when it comes to understanding art, ranking paintings in this way doesn’t help us answer the more profound question of why art, and especially painting, has been so important to Western culture for hundreds of years. In other words, instead of trying to identify the four “most important” paintings—an impossible task, to be sure—what if we picked four paintings that helped us understand the different ways that painting can be used as a meaningful form of communication? These paintings would come from different time periods, genres, and nations, and would outline the different ways that painting has played an important role in Western culture.

These, therefore, are four paintings every art lover should see if they want to understand more about the history and significance of painting—and its continued relevance to our lives.

The Genius of Michelangelo

A leader of the High Renaissance of the early sixteenth century, Michelangelo Buonarroti was legendary even in his own time for his inventiveness as an artist: Giorgio Vasari, the godfather of art history, wrote that he had been endowed by God with “universal ability in every art and every
profession…to the end that the world might choose him and admire him as its highest exemplar in the life, works, saintliness of character, and every action of human creatures, and that he might be acclaimed by us as a being rather divine than human.”

In this talk, we will trace the arc of Michelangelo’s storied life, from his upbringing by the powerful Medici family, to his glory days as architect and artist to the Popes, and his spiritual re-awakening late in life. Along the way, we will look closely at his paintings and sculptures, including the Pietà, and the David, Sistine Chapel ceiling, the Last Judgment, in order to understand the importance of his unique artistic vision. Through his works, we will come to better understand the man behind the legend—a passionate artist and competitive rival to the likes of Raphael and Bramante—whose outstanding achievements and temperament gave rise to the modern notion of the artistic “genius.”

Picasso and the Birth of Modern Art

Pablo Picasso was probably the most prolific visual artist of all time; he’s also probably the most misunderstood. As Picasso’s sales records and biographies keep piling up, the myth of Picasso—to which the artist himself contributed—only continues to grow. As a consequence, the actual works of art seem to recede into the background, and we lose sense of why Picasso has become one of the most influential artists in the history of Western civilization.

In order to bring his works back into the spotlight, this talk will focus on the development of Picasso’s art in its early years. Picasso once explained that Cubism—the revolutionary artistic style that he helped develop at the dawn of the twentieth century, foreshadowing the birth of abstract art—was “an art dealing primarily with forms.” Taking the artist at his word, we will examine the development of Picasso’s signature style by looking closely at the works themselves, moving past his storied life to better appreciate his stunning achievement.

What’s the Deal with Contemporary Art?

No matter how you look at it, the art world has never been hotter: auction records are continually broken, art fairs are proliferating around the globe, and people will wait hours in line at museums for blockbuster shows. It’s a simple fact that more people are seeing more art in more places than ever before. But in the midst of these crowds, a feeling of confusion often reigns: most of the art that garners all this attention falls under the category of so-called “contemporary art.” But what is contemporary art? How is it different from “modern” art? Is it really “art”? Why is it so expensive? And given that it seems like “anything goes,” how are we supposed to look at it, talk about it, or judge its value?

Instead of brushing these questions aside, this talk will put them front and center. Whether or not you like contemporary art, this talk will help you understand what it is, how it relates to what came before it, what role it plays in our economy, and most importantly, why it should be a meaningful part of our lives.

To book this speaker please visit www.cassidyandfishman.com or call 508.485.8996