University at Buffalo
Department of


Art & Design

Art History

Visual Studies

Elizabeth Otto

Associate Professor

2017-18 Fellow at the National Humanities Center


Professor Otto teaches courses on European and American art and visual culture from the nineteenth-century to the present, issues of gender and theory, and the history of photography.


  • AHI 251 Introduction to Modern Art
  • AHI 411 Dada, Surrealism, and Gender
  • AHI 588 Displaying Gender: Queering Museums and Exhibitions
  • AHI 592 Bauhaus
  • VS 590 Theories of Montage


Ph.D., the History of Art (with a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies), the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
M.A., Art History, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
B.A., Art History, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio


Otto has published widely on topics relating to gender and media culture in early twentieth-century Europe. She is currently working on a book titled Haunted Bauhaus, which challenges conventional understandings of the Bauhaus, interwar Europe’s most influential art institution. This is the first sustained investigation of the Bauhaus’s ongoing engagement with the body in relation to spiritualism and the occult, gender and figuration, and the Surreal in order to explain the embrace of the irrational which lurks beneath the sleek surfaces and cold structures most commonly associated with the school.



Libby Otto

Global Bauhaus Women. Coauthored with Patrick Rössler. London: Palazzo Editions; German version with Knesebeck Verlag, Munich. Forthcoming in 2019.

Passages Of Exile

Passages of Exile. Co-edited with Burcu Dogramaci. Munich: Edition Text + Kritik, 2017.

New Woman International

The New Woman International: Photographic Representations, from the 1870s through the 1960s. Co-edited with Vanessa Rocco and with a foreword by Linda Nochlin. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011.

Tempo Tempo

Tempo, Tempo! The Bauhaus Photomontages of Marianne Brandt. Berlin: the Bauhaus-Archiv and Jovis Verlag, 2005.

Articles (Selected)

“Leni Riefenstahl’s Fascist Sublime: Body as Mass Spectacle in Triumph of the Will and Olympia,” A Modernist Cinema. Eds. Scott W. Klein and Michael Valdez Moses. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2018.

“Teaching Bauhaus to the Children of Theresienstadt Concentration Camp: Friedl Dicker Brandeis,” Passages of Exile. Eds. Burcu Dogramaci and Elizabeth Otto. Munich: Edition Text + Kritik, 2017.

“Fragments of the World Seen Like this: Photocollage at the Bauhaus,” catalogue essay for The Photocollages of Joseph Albers, Sarah Meister, ed. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2016, 110-121.

“A Sociology of Art, A Gendered Exile: Hanna Deinhard in Mid-Century New York,” Kunst und Gesellschaft zwischen den Kulturen: Die Kunsthistorikerin Hanna Levy-Deinhard im Exil und ihre Aktualität heute, Ed. Irene Below and Burcu Dogramaci, Munich: Edition Text + Kritik, 2016, 264-279.

“Representation in the Age of Mediumistic Reproduction, from Symbolism to the Bauhaus.” Coauthored with Allison Morehead (Queen’s University, Canada). The Symbolist Roots of Modernism. Ed. Michelle Facos and Thor Mednick. London:  Ashgate, 2015, 155-168.

“‘Good Luck, Bauhaus and Berlin Comrades, and See You After the Revolution,’ on Ivana Tomljenović, 1930/1980,” The BrooklynRail, critics page on “Art and Politics,” June 2015, 76.

“Bauhaus Spectacles, Bauhaus Specters.” German Visual Culture: Spectacle. Eds Deborah Ascher Barnstone, Jennifer Creech, and Thomas O. Haakenson. Oxford: Peter Lang Oxford, 2015, 41-73.

“Neue Frau oder weibliche Konstrukteur? Marianne Brandts Suche nach einer Bauhausidentität” [New Woman or Female Constructor? Marianne Brandt’s Search for a Bauhaus Identity]. Gespiegeltes Ich: Fotografische Selbstbildnisse von Frauen in den 1920er Jahren. Ed. Gerda Breuer and Elina Knorp. Berlin: Nicolai, 2013, 116-29.

Marianne Brandt’s Experimental Landscapes in Painting and Photography during the National Socialist Period.” History of Photography 37:2 (May 2013): 167-81.

 “Real Men Wear Uniforms: Photomontage, Postcards, and Military Visual Culture in Early Twentieth-Century Germany.” Contemporaneity 2 (2012), 26 pp. 

“Siegfried Kracauer’s Two Art Histories.” Culture in the Anteroom: The Legacies of Siegfried Kracauer. Eds. Gerd Gemünden and Johannes von Moltke. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2012, 128-48.

“Image as Investigation: Sciences of the Otherworldly at the Bauhaus.” The Environmentalist 32 (May, 2012).

“Paris—Dessau: Marianne Brandt’s New Women in Photomontage and Photography, from Garçonne to Bauhaus Constructivist.” The New Woman International (see above), 153-171.

“Introduction: Imagining and Embodying New Womanhood” (co-author with Vanessa Rocco). The New Woman International: Representations in Photography and Film, 1870s-1930s. Eds. Elizabeth Otto and Vanessa Rocco. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, Feb. 2011, 1-17.

“The Secret History of Photomontage: On the Origins of the Composite Form and the Weimar Photomontages of Marianne Brandt.” Weimar Publics/Weimar Subjects: Rethinking the Political Culture of Germany in the 1920s. Eds. Kerstin Barndt, Kathleen Canning, and Kristin McGuire. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2010, 66-92.

Schaulust: Sexuality and Trauma in Conrad Veidt’s Masculine Masquerades.” The Many Faces of Weimar Cinema: Rediscovering Germany’s Filmic Legacy. Ed. Christian Rogowski. Suffolk, U.K.: Camden House, 2010, 135-152.

“A ‘Schooling of the Senses’: Post-Dada Visual Experiments in the Bauhaus Photomontages of László Moholy-Nagy and Marianne Brandt.” New German Critique 107: Summer, 2009, 89-131.

“Designing Men: New Visions of Masculinity in the Photomontages of Herbert Bayer, Marcel Breuer, and László Moholy-Nagy.” Bauhaus Construct: the Object of Discourse. Eds. Robin Schuldenfrei and Jeffrey Saletnik. New York: Routledge: 2009, 183-204.

“On the ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Strong’ Sexes at the Bauhaus: Marianne Brandt, Gender, and Photomontage,” The Bauhaus: a Conceptual Model [German version: “Über das ‘schöne’ und das ‘ starke’ Geschlecht am Bauhaus: Marianne Brandt, Gender und Fotomotage,” Modell Bauhaus]. Eds. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin, Klassik Stiftung Weimar, and Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2009, 291-294.

“Montage and Message: the Photography-Based Works of Alice Lex-Nerlinger in Publications of the Weimar Republic.” Printed Matter: Fotografie im/und Buch. Ed. Barbara Lange. Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag: 2004, 57-77.

“Memories of Bilitis: Marie Laurencin beyond the Cubist Context.” Genders 36 (Fall 2002).


“Bauhaus Mädels,” with Patrick Rössler, Angermuseum, Erfurt Germany, summer 2019.

“Tempo, Tempo! The Bauhaus Photomontages of Marianne Brandt,” shown at the Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin, Germany; the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University; and the International Center of Photography, New York. 2005-06.


Otto is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the American Association of University Women, the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Getty, and the University of Pittsburgh’s Humanities Center. At the University at Buffalo, her awards include a Faculty Fellowship from the Humanities Institute and a Research Award from the Gender Institute. Her 2011 “International New Woman” Conference was funded in part by a SUNY Conversations in the Disciplines grant.

During the 2017-18 academic year she is completing her Haunted Bauhaus book project as the Frank H. Kenan Fellow at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina.

202 Center for the Arts, North Campus
Buffalo, New York 14260-6010
(716) 645-6878
(716) 645-6970 fax