Student Spotlight

Matthew Teti, PhD Candidate in Art History and Archaeology

Matthew Teti

Where did you grow up? 
Outside Cleveland, OH.

What drew you to your field? 
An early exposure to fine art and parents who encouraged me to follow my heart when it came time for post-secondary education. I continue to be enthralled by art that speaks as much of the human condition as it does of everyday realities.

How would you explain your current research to someone outside of your field? 
I am a social art historian who focuses on how political, social, and cultural factors affected the work of American artists in the 1960s and 1970s. In particular, I study artists who worked in Southern California, because their work has largely been marginalized as “provincial” in relation to the work of New York artists. In them, I see echoes of the student protest movement, various civil rights struggles, popular culture, and the Cold War economy, among other things.

What is your favorite thing about being a student at Columbia GSAS?
The vast resources available through Columbia’s libraries and library consortia.

What resources or opportunities that Columbia provides have been most valuable to you?
Teaching in the Core Curriculum for four years has given me the opportunity to learn and grow as an educator, which is invaluable experience for someone who is looking forward to a career in academia.

Who are your favorite writers?
Thomas Pynchon, Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg, and Steve Martin.

Who is your hero of fiction?
Philip Marlowe.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Chris Burden, Frank Zappa, Mike Kelley, and John Zorn: artists who pushed the limits of their form and redefined genres.

Who in your field do you consider to be a role model?
Anna Chave, for her social readings of otherwise formalist works of art, which expose the hypocrisy and narrowmindedness of accepted interpretations.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A less intelligent form of life.

What music have you been listening to lately?
Minimalism and improv.

What is your favorite blog or website?
Honestly, the Columbia University Libraries homepage. I’m a nerd—what can I say?

Where is your favorite place to eat on/around campus?
Sweetgreen.