Doctorate in art history from the University of Chicago,

Dr. Woodman Taylor is an art historian, curator and musician whose scholarship and curatorial practice explicate visual cultures of both West and South Asia. As a curator, Dr. Taylor trained at Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum and later was recruited to be curator for South Asian and Islamic Art at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts where his new initiatives included exhibiting contemporary Asian artists.

With a doctorate in art history from the University of Chicago, Woodman subsequetnly taught at the University of Illinois Chicago where he developed curricula for Asian art and architecture, as a Fulbright Visiting Professor in the Department of Art and Aesthetics at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and, most recently, at the American University in Dubai (AUD) where he was Professor of Art History and Chair of the Department of Visual Communication. At AUD, Dr. Taylor founded and co-curated the Visual Cultures Forum, was an organizing partner with Zayed University for the International Symposium on Electronic Arts held in Dubai (ISEA2015) for which he was a co-editor of the Proceedings and was an organizing director of the international conference Re-locating Middle East Studies: New Geographies of Discourse (AUD, 2015).

Dr. Taylor has published on a wide variety of topics, from the early uses of objects in Buddhist ritual, the performative uses of paintings in a Hindu community to the visual poetics of Bollywood films. As a founding editor of Tribe: Photography and New Media from the Arab World, currently Woodman researches contemporary photography in the UAE. Last fall, he was co-curataor with Zayed University faculty member Janet Bellotto of the acclaimed exhibition Contemporary Photography from the Arab World held at the American University Museum in Washington, D.C. which included work by 55 artists, half of whom were women. His first art installation, Cycling the City, was commissioned by Dubai Culture for the 2014 Sikka Art Fair.

Dr. Taylor has a B.A. in both Asian History and Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT, USA); a M.L.I.S. from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College (Boston, USA) and both a M.A.and Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Chicago.


Dubai Academic City, A - L2 - 022

Teaching Areas

Art History, Asian Art, Islamic Art and Architecture, Curatorial Studies, Cultural Memory, World Musics

Research and Professional Activities


Photographic practices in the Arab world, with an additional focus on both historic and contemporary photography in the United Arab Emirates.

Performative uses of paintings where meanings are audience generated.  This includes histories of paintings’ reception, as well as the formation of poetic and musical memories that create relationships between text and image, between textuality and visuality.

The role of popular Indian cinema in the creation of contemporary South Asian cultural memory, in India as well as in communities of the diaspora.

The formation of both private and public visual identities within communities of the Asian diaspora - from drawing room designs, interiors of business places and taxicabs, to the cultural scripting of city streetscapes - from commercial signage to the performed uses of street spaces by individuals and community organisations.

The conceptual art movement in the United Arab Emirates, from its founding by Hassan Sharif through its second and third generation of artists, including Mohammed Kazem and Ebtisam Abdulaziz.

Professional Activities:

Bibliographer, American Council on South Asian Art

Nominator, Salama  bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship (SEAF)

Nominating Committee, College Art Association, USA

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