Art history professor talks Warhol

The office of Anthony Grudin, assistant professor of art history, could be mistaken for a library.

Shelves of books line the wall of his office, the collection includes artists such as Willem de Kooning, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol.

“There’s more at home,” Grudin said, who can be found practicing yoga downtown at Tapna Yoga and visiting Burlington’s swimming holes during the summer.

The books provide a backdrop for the world of art that Grudin began studying at Reed College in Portland, Oregon during his undergraduate career.

Grudin attributes his initial interest in art history to his former professor of Renaissance art, Peter Parshall.

“His classes were just so exciting and so full of lively discussion that they really kind of won me over,” Grudin said. “I realized quickly that that’s what I wanted to continue to study.”

Grudin studied art history at the University of California, Berkeley, where he transitioned from studying Renaissance art, to Cezanne and, finally, Warhol.

Studying Warhol wasn’t what he originally intended.

“A lot of times, professors get to work on the artist or person that they find most interesting,” he said.

“That’s actually not the case for me in Warhol. He’s not in any way my favorite artist or the person whose work I find the most interesting,” he said.

Instead, he said he found Warhol’s work as a medium that contributed to a larger conversation in society.

“What made him such a good topic for me is that I found things to say about him that hadn’t been said before and that I felt were really important to understanding not just his work, but understanding American history,” Grudin said.

Grudin said he has two book projects in development. The first focuses on Warhol’s career as an advertiser and advertising illustrator and how social class influenced this work.

He anticipates that this book will come out within the next year. The second project Grudin characterizes as “a bit unusual.”

While researching for his first project, Grudin said he had to read several of Warhol’s diaries.

“Reading through his diaries, I started to notice how often he talked about animals,” Grudin said. “And for fun, I was reading this new field in animal philosophy.”

Grudin said his passion for art comes across “most clearly” in his teachings.

“It is evident that Grudin loves what  he does, without a doubt,” sophomore Hannah Schaefer said.

“Although he is so knowledgeable already, he is always willing to learn, not just from research but also from his students,” she said.

Grudin said his most exciting moments come during his conversations with students.

“It happens to me at least once per semester that those conversations build into things that I’ve never heard anybody say about the artworks before,” he said.

Junior Lydia Horne said she “loves” Grudin’s classes because he poses “challenging” and “thought-provoking questions about various works to his students and genuinely wants to hear our responses.”

As for work, Grudin said, “the most incredible thing is to find a job where you wake up in the morning and you’re excited to get to work,” he said.

Grudin said that despite the cold months, he has certainly found that job here at UVM.