Bohrer, Frederick N. 1956-
Bohrer, Frederick N. 1956-
Born March 27, 1956. Education: St. Johns College, B.A., 1978; University of Chicago, M.A., 1982, Ph.D., 1989.
Office—Hood College, Art and Archaeology Department, 401 Rosemont Ave., Frederick, MD 21701. E-mail—[email protected]
Academic. Hood College, Frederick, MD, associate professor of art and archaeology and department chair. Samuel H. Kress predoctoral fellow at National Gallery of Art, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, 1985-87; Getty Grant Program postdoctoral fellow in the history of art and the humanities, 1992-93; Clark Art Institute fellow, 2002.
(Editor) Sevruguin and the Persian Image: Photographs of Iran, 1870-1930, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Washington, DC), 1999.
Contributor to periodicals and journals, including History and Anthropology, Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, and Art Bulletin.
Frederick N. Bohrer is an academic. Bohrer earned his graduate degrees from the University of Chicago in the 1980s and remained in academia after completing his studies, eventually becoming an associate professor of art and archaeology and the department chair at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. He is the recipient of numerous research grants and has held a number of fellowships in art history.
In 1999, Bohrer edited his first book, Sevruguin and the Persian Image: Photographs of Iran, 1870-1930. The book serves as a history of the life and works of the famed photographer Antonin Sevruguin. Born in Tehran's Russian Embassy, Sevruguin set up his photography studio in the Iranian capital and quickly gained the trust of regional princes. A contributor to Fravahr.org found the book to be "generously illustrated." The same reviewer called Bohrer a "distinguished" scholar along with the other contributors to the book.
In 2003, Bohrer published his second book, Orientalism and Visual Culture: Imagining Mesopotamia in Nineteenth-Century Europe. The book was written from ten years of research about the reception of antiques from the Ancient Near East in nineteenth-century France, Germany, and England. This study of Orientalism of that period looks specifically at English and French archaeological findings in ancient Assyria as well as in the Sumerian, Persian, and Babylonian cultures.
Writing in the Art Bulletin, Zeynep Celik observed that "the main contribution of Bohrer's book is its exposure of the range and complexity with which Europeans responded to Mesopotamian art." That said, Celik noted that although the book "makes a few nods to the ‘locals’ … these fall short of opening a window onto Mesopotamia at the time. Bohrer's claims to the interconnected nature of art and imperialism remain incomplete, as he fails to look into the specificities of the shifting relations between the Ottoman Empire and Britain, France, and Germany." Celik lamented: "While it is not fair to expect a scholar of European art to explore late Ottoman history in detail, the total omission of this context bounces Orientalism and Visual Culture back to Orientalist scholarship. Bohrer could have avoided the problem by acknowledging the dynamic presence of the ‘other’ empire and asking some questions." Celik mentioned that "Bohrer's charging of Assyrian art with an internal dynamic that turns it into an active site of ‘resistance to the classical ideal, a style through which the West had defined itself for centuries’ (p. 40) and ‘a deliberately oppositional act’ (p. 167) may not be entirely convincing, but his analysis of its coverage in printed media in England is extensive and meticulous." Celik concluded that "despite these reservations and a certain repetitiveness and convolution in the writing, I consider Orientalism and Visual Culture an important book: it is based on careful and thorough research and offers courageous arguments, as well as ambitious theoretical and methodological agendas." Celik also said of Bohrer, personally, that he is a "sympathetic [reader] of postcolonial literature" and shares "a genuine commitment to shed light on the intersection of art and politics."
Gary Sampson, writing in Victorian Studies, noted that "Bohrer's research, rich with illustrations, will be of importance for those pursuing the complexities of nineteenth-century imaginings of world geographies and cultural pasts." Sampson, commented, however, that "the title of the book is misleading: exoticism, and not Orientalism, is the book's guiding principle. And, for all it achieves, it does not fully explore the visual culture of its title: photography, for instance, while touched upon, remains a tantalizing area for further attention with respect to Bohrer's topic." Sampson concluded that Bohrer's study of European culture and Mesopotamian art "is a fine example of such work."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Art Bulletin, March, 2006, Zeynep Celik, review of Orientalism and Visual Culture: Imagining Mesopotamia in Nineteenth-Century Europe, p. 191.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, July 1, 2000, U.U. Bates, review of Sevruguin and the Persian Image: Photographs of Iran, 1870-1930, p. 1971; April, 2004, J.O. Caswell, review of Orientalism and Visual Culture, p. 1458.
Middle East Journal, autumn, 2001, review of Sevruguin and the Persian Image, p. 708.
Victorian Studies, autumn, 2005, Gary Sampson, review of Orientalism and Visual Culture, p. 159.
Fravahr.org,http://www.fravahr.org/ (January 12, 2007), review of Sevruguin and the Persian Image.
Hood College Web site,http://www.hood.edu/ (March 8, 2008), faculty profile.