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Dive Deep. The Department of Art boasts multiple spaces throughout campus in which to showcase the exceptional creative work of our students, our faculty, and accomplished outside artists. Multiple exhibit spaces allow the Vanderbilt community—and beyond—to powerfully share the experience of visual art in all its formats, media, and expressions.

Faculty Highlights

María Magdalena Campos-Pons

Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Art

María Magdalena Campos-Pons was born in the province of Matanzas, in the town of La Vega, Cuba. She grew up on a sugar plantation in a family with Nigerian, Hispanic and Chinese roots. Her Nigerian ancestors were brought to Cuba as slaves in the 19th century and passed on traditions, rituals, and beliefs. Her polyglot heritage profoundly influences her artistic practice, which combines diverse media including photography, performance, painting, sculpture, film, and video. Her work is autobiographical, investigating themes of history, memory, gender and religion and how they inform identity. Through deeply poetic and haunting imagery, Campos-Pons evokes stories of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, indigo, and sugar plantations, Catholic and Santeria religious practices, and revolutionary uprisings.

Campos-Pons’, a 2023 MacArthur Fellow, has works in more than 30 museum collections including the Smithsonian Institution, The Whitney, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Canada, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Perez Art Museum, Miami and the Fogg Art Museum.

Raheleh Filsoofi

Assistant Professor of Art
S Family Dean’s Faculty Fellow in Race, Racial Justice, and Social Justice

Raheleh Filsoofi is collector of soil and sound, an itinerant artist, and a feminist curator. Her geographical, disciplinary, and conceptual practice take on critical narratives about movement, immigration, and social activism. Clay and sound are the nexus of her practice and act as expressive mediums, with their cryptic and architectural qualities engendering new narratives through diverse aesthetic strategies such as multimedia installations and immersive sound performances. Her art disrupts the borders that exist between us and seeks a more inclusive world, illuminating and challenging policies and politics.

Her current and recent exhibitions include Imagined Boundaries, an interactive multimedia installation at Gibbes Museum in Charleston, SC (2023-2024), and Only Sound Remains, an interactive multimedia installation at the Sharjah Biennial 15, Thinking Historically in the Present in Sharjah, UAE (2023).

Vesna Pavlović

Professor of Art

Vesna Pavlović has exhibited widely, including solo shows at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Museum of History of Yugoslavia in Belgrade, and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. She has been featured with a solo presentation at the Untitled, 12th Istanbul Biennial, 2011, and in group exhibitions at the City Art Gallery, in Ljubljana, Slovenia (Inside Out – Not So White Cube), the New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall, UK (Found), the Bucharest Biennale 5, in Bucharest, Romania (Tactics for Here and Now), Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago (Spectator Sports), Le Quartier Center for Contemporary Art in Quimper, France (From Closed World to the Infinite Universe), NGBK in Berlin, Germany (Spaceship Yugoslavia, The Suspension of Time), Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade (Conversations), Serbia, Tennis Palace Art Museum in Helsinki, Finland (Situated Self, Confused, Compassionate, Conflictual), Photographers’ Gallery in London (Mediterranean, Between Reality and Utopia), Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, UK (Rear View Mirror), and FRAC Center for Contemporary Art in Dunkuerqe, France (De-Collecting).

In the nineties, in Belgrade, she worked closely with the feminist pacifist group Women in Black. She is the recipient of the Robert Penn Warren Fellowship at Vanderbilt University in 2010, City of Copenhagen Artist-in-Residence grant in 2011, and Contemporary Foundation for the Arts Emergency Grants in 2011 and 2014. She has received 2012 Art Matters Foundation grant.

Her work is included in major private and public art collections, Phillips Collection and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia, among others.