Trevor Stark Photograph

Dr. Trevor Stark

Pronouns: he/him


Undergraduate Program Director

Faculty of Arts, Department of Art and Art History


Educational Background

PhD History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University, 2016

A.M. History of Art and Architecture , Harvard University, 2012

M.A. Art History & Communication Studies, McGill University, 2009

B.A. Hons Art History and Arts & Science Program, McMaster University, 2006


Trevor Stark is Associate Professor of Art History and Undergraduate Program Director in the Department of Art and Art History. He completed his PhD in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University (2016). His teaching and research focuses on the emergence and development of the “avant-garde” in twentieth-century art, as a social formation and an aesthetic ideology.

His book titled Total Expansion of the Letter: Avant-Garde Art and Language after Mallarmé was published in 2020 by the MIT Press, as part of the October Books series ( It is a study of how language became both a visual medium and a metaphorical structure for certain artists of the European avant-gardes, from cubism to Dada. Stark traces the genealogy of this first “linguistic turn” to the poetics of Stéphane Mallarmé, who developed a critique of instrumental communication that was devoted to the contingency of the word and the world.

Download a PDF of the Introduction to Total Expansion of the Letter: Avant-Garde Art and Language. 

Stark’s research has been supported by fellowships from Columbia University, the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harvard University, and the Calgary Institute for the Humanities. His writing has appeared in journals including Critical Inquiry, Art History, October, Texte zur Kunst, and The Burlington Magazine. Stark was co-chair with Rachel Silveri of two panels on “Avant-Gardes and Varieties of Fascism” at the 2016 College Art Association Conference. Stark is also the co-editor with Rachel Silveri of the second issue of Selva: A Journal of the History of Art devoted to "Reactionary Art Histories," for which they co-authored two essays. 

Stark is currently at work on two books: the first, tentatively titled "Weak Politics: Marcel Broodthaers between Poetry and Reification," is a study of the relationship between the history of modern poetry and the critique of capitalism in the art of Marcel Broodthaers. The second, supported by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant and titled "The Treason of the Clerks: Dada Rationalization," is a study of Dada’s relation to the norms and forms of social rationalization, including the rise of finance capital and of administrative bureaucracy.

Other current research topics include the legacies of serialism and Fascism in the cinema of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub; James Ensor; the scores of Cornelius Cardew; and the relationship between field recording and improvisation in contemporary electroacoustic music.


Course number Course title Semester
ARHI 51122 LEC 01 01 Capstone in the History of Art 2020
ART 609 LEC 01 01 Art Theory and Criticism 2020
ARHI 331 LEC 01 01 Modern Art and Architecture 2021