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Richard Meyer

Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor in Art History
B.A., Yale University, 1988
M.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1991
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1996

Photo by Do Pham / Stanford University

Richard Meyer is Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor in Art History at Stanford University.  He is the author of Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art and What was Contemporary Art?, the former of which was awarded the Charles C. Eldredge  Prize for Outstanding Scholarship from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  IWith Peggy Phelan, he co-edited Contact Warhol: Photography Without End and co-organized the exhibition of the same title. With Catherine Lord, he cowrote Art and Queer Culture, a survey of art and alternative sexuality since 1885. He recently submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court for a case regarding Andy Warhol and fair use.

Meyer’s book Master of the Two Left Feet: Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered (MIT Press: 2022) is a study of a Brooklyn tailor and slipper-maker who, against all odds, achieved international recognition as a self-taught painter in the 1940s.  The New Yorker named Master of the Two Left Feet one of the “Best Books of 2022,” Hyperallergic cited it as one of the ten best books of the year, and the Times Literary Supplement (TLS) called it “superb.”  The book received the 2023 Dedalus Foundation Award for “an outstanding exhibition catalogue that makes a significant contribution to the scholarship of modern art or modernism.” 

Coinciding with the book’s publication, Meyer curated “Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered,” a retrospective at the American Folk Art Museum in New York on display from September 2022 – January 2023.  A review in the New York Times described the show as “one of the season’s best” and the Wall Street Journal told readers “Don’t miss it.”   An expanded version of the show including paintings by Piet Mondrian, Yves Tanguy, and Joan Miro (all of whom were in conversation with Hirshfield’s art in the 1940s), was on display at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford from September 2023-January 2024. 

In June of 2023, Meyer submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court for a case regarding whether Andy Warhol’s appropriation of a photograph of the rock star Prince was fair use or copyright infringement.  Meyer argued for fair use. A majority of the Court decided in favor copyright infringement.  In response, Meyer wrote an op-ed for The New York Times titled “The Supreme Court is Wrong about Andy Warhol.”

During the 2025 academic year, Prof. Meyer will be in residence as a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center to work on a book titled Andy Warhol’s Guide to Everyday Life and to develop an exhibition in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art in New York titled Self-Taught Modern

The University recently named Meyer the incoming director of the American Studies program, an interdisciplinary hub and undergraduate major focused on the United States in all its complexity and diversity.  Meyer’s three-year term will begin in Fall 2025.


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