Department of Art and Art History People

Dr. Linda Dalrymple Henderson

David Bruton, Jr. Centennial Professor in Art History

Distinguished Teaching Professor

Art History: 20th Century European and American Art


Linda Henderson

Linda Henderson earned her Ph.D. at Yale University and has taught 20th-century European and American art in the Department of Art and Art History since 1978. Before coming to the University of Texas, she served from 1974 through 1977 as Curator of Modern Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Professor Henderson's research and teaching focus on the interdisciplinary study of modernism, including the relation of modern art to fields such as geometry, science and technology, and mystical and occult philosophies. In addition to periodical articles and catalog essays, she is the author of The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art (Princeton University Press, 1983; new ed., MIT Press, 2012), which received the Vasari Award from the Dallas Museum of Art. Her second book, Duchamp in Context: Science and Technology in the Large Glass and Related Works (Princeton, 1998), won first prize in the University's Robert W. Hamilton Author Awards competition in 1999.

During the past decade Professor Henderson has continued to work in the area of art and science while also expanding her study of the cultural history of the “fourth dimension” to the entire 20th century. In 2002 she published an interdisciplinary anthology co-edited with literature scholar Bruce Clarke, From Energy to Information: Representation in Science and Technology, Art, and Literature (Stanford University Press). That volume is based on a symposium of the same title organized at the University of Texas in 1997, which brought together panels of historians of science, literature, and art to discuss the cultural impact of a series of scientific and technological developments, ranging from thermodynamics and ether/electromagnetism to cybernetics and virtual reality. In 2004 she guest-edited a special issue of Science in Context on modern art and science, featuring an Editor's Introduction addressing methodological and historiographic questions around this topic.

In January 2013 MIT Press will publish a reprint edition of her 1983 Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art, with a 100-page “Reintroduction” that both augments the original book's scientific context and expands its coverage through the century. The new text thus ranges from the ether physics still dominant in the pre-World War I and wartime periods to the initial reemergence of the spatial fourth dimension in popular culture in the 1950s/1960s and its full-blown resurgence in the context of computer graphics and string theory in physics beginning in the 1980s. It was in the context of this research that she discovered the importance of the multivalent fourth dimension for the artists of the Park Place Gallery (1963-67) and organized the 2008 exhibition Reimagining Space: The Park Place Gallery Group in 1960s New York for UT's Blanton Museum. Drawing on the past decade's research, Professor Henderson is currently completing a sequel volume to the Fourth Dimension book, which chronicles the concept as a leitmotif throughout the century that attracted a surprising number of artists in Europe and the United States as well as Canada and Latin America. She is also beginning a book project entitled “The Energies of Modernism: Art, Science, and Occultism in the Early 20th Century.”

A Guggenheim Fellow in 1988-89, Professor Henderson is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers and in 2009 received a Regents Outstanding Teaching Award. During late spring-summer 2010 and 2011 she was a Senior Fellow at the IKKM [International Research Institute for Cultural Technologies and Media Philosophy] at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, where she now a member of the Board.