Julia Friedman is a Russian-born art historian, writer and curator. She received her Ph.D. in Art History from Brown University in 2005, and has since researched and taught in the US, UK and Japan. Her trans-disciplinary work on European Modernism, Russian emigration and book art resulted in the illustrated monograph Beyond Symbolism and Surrealism: Alexei Remizov’s Synthetic Art  published by Northwestern University Press in January 2011. While in Tokyo, she became a regular contributor to Artforum, and wrote a blog column in The Huffington Post. In 2017 she began writing for The New Criterion magazine. 

Friedman’s most recent publications are on Wayne Thiebaud’s clown series that has been the focus of her research since the Spring of 2018. “Hour of the Clown,” the initial introduction of the series’s cultural context, came out in June of 2019, and was followed by December 2019 article “There ought to be clowns” about the genesis of the series. Another, longer, essay “Nothing is Unimportant” is now out in Thiebaud’s centennial exhibition catalogue published in conjunction with the multi-venue show that opened in October of 2020 at Sacramento Crocker Museum of Art. She is presently working on Wayne Thiebaud’s figure paintings.


• American painting after 1945

• Critical Theory: word and image studies

• Art Criticism in context

• Artist biographies, art in exile and artistic identities

• Contemporary art in global perspective

• European modernism

• Russian, Soviet, Russian émigré and Post-Soviet art

• Romanticism and its legacy