Faculty portfolios

Buzz Spector

Professor of Art


Walker 004

Campus Box 1031

An internationally recognized artist and critical writer, Buzz Spector works in a wide range of mediums including sculpture, photography, printmaking, book arts, and installation. His work makes frequent use of the book, both as subject and as object, and is concerned with the relationships among public history, individual memory, and perception.

Spector has issued a number of artists' books and editions since the mid-1970s, including Buzzwords, a book of interviews with Spector plus new page art, published by Chicago-based Sara Ranchouse Publishing in 2012. Other titles include The Book Maker's Desire, a 1994 volume of Spector's essays on topics in art and artists' books. Spector's work has been shown in numerous exhibits in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe, and Asia, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Huntington Museum of Art (Huntington, West Virginia), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), Mattress Factory Art Museum (Pittsburgh), and the Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art (Prato, Italy). His poetry and experimental writing have been published in various journals and reviews, including Benzene, River Styx, and WhiteWalls, and his critical essays on art and visual culture have been published in American Craft, Artforum, and Art Issues, among other magazines.

The recipient of several awards and fellowships, Spector was honored with the College Art Association's Distinguished Teaching of Art Award in 2013. He has also received a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (1991) and three fellowship awards from the National Endowment for the Arts (1991, 1985, and 1982).

Spector completed his five-year term as dean of the Sam Fox School's College & Graduate School of Art in 2014. Before coming to Washington University in July 2009, Spector was professor and former chair of the Department of Art at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He joined the Department of Art in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University in 2001 and served as chair of the department until 2007. Prior, he taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, joining the faculty as professor of art in 1994 and serving as head of the painting program from 1997-2001.

A native of Chicago, Spector earned a bachelor's degree in art from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1972 and a master of fine arts degree from the Committee of Art and Design at the University of Chicago in 1978, combining studies in art and philosophy.