Concordia University

Loren Lerner, PhD

Professor, Art History

Office: S-EV 3768 
Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex,
1515 St. Catherine W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4698
Availability: Office hours (Fall 2015): Tuesday, 1:00-3:00, by appointment

Loren Lerner brings to the Department a cross-disciplinary formation in art history (MA, University of Michigan), library science (MLS, McGill University), and communication studies (PhD, Université de Montréal). Nineteenth- and twentieth-century European and North American art are the main areas of her undergraduate teaching, with an emphasis on avant-gardism and topics ranging from identity development, gender and class to the modern experience of otherness, nature, and sexuality. In her graduate teaching she has concentrated on ethnic, diasporic and ethical consciousness in North American art-making and the curatorial practices relating to Canadian art. Lerner was editor for Afterimage: Evocations of the Holocaust in Contemporary Canadian Arts and Literature/Rémanences: Evocations de l'Holocauste dans les arts et littérature canadiens contemporains (Montreal: Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies, Concordia University, 2002) and guest curator of Memories and Testimonies/Memoires et Témoignages (Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University, April 2002, travelling exhibition). In 2005, Lerner curated the Sam Borenstein retrospective exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Picturing Her: Images of Girlhood / Salut les filles ! La jeune fille en images at the McCord Museum. She was the editor of Depicting Canada's Children published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press in 2009. Most recently, in 2012, she was guest editor of a special issue on contemporary art and religion in Canada for the Journal of Canadian Art History/Annales d'histoire de l'art canadien.

Areas of Expertise

  • Drawing
  • Portraiture
  • Curatorial Practices
  • Images of Children and Youth
  • Canadian Print Culture
  • Travel Art

Distinctions & Awards


  • The Joseph and Faye Tannenbaum Prize in Scholarship on a Jewish Subject, Canadian Jewish Book Awards, for Afterimage
  • Melva Dwyer Award honouring outstanding reference works devoted to the history of the visual arts in Canada, for Canadian Film and Video
  • Melva Dwyer Award honouring outstanding reference works devoted to the history of the visual arts in Canada, for Art and Architecture in Canada
  • Janet Braide Award, presented for an outstanding contribution to scholarship in the field of Canadian art history
  • Thirteenth George Wittenborn Memorial Award, presented for publishing excellence to University of Toronto Press

Research activities

Current Research

Loren Lerner's current research interests are quite diverse. She is attentive to digital culture and its effects on the role of the curator in offering new environments for the presentation and analysis of visual media. Travel art during the 19th and early 20th centuries is a new field of exploration with an emphasis on gender, cultural politics, and perspectives of travel that take into account the imaginary transformations of lived experiences. The convergence of contemporary art and religion continues to be a focal interest, in particular the responses of artists to religious issues in the Middle East. Analyzing the visual representations of Canadian children and youth remains a long term research commitment.


Editor, Family Works, A Website Produced in Partnership with Concordia University and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts,

" 'What This Picture of a Girl Means to Me': The Place of Girlhood Images in the Art History University Classroom."Girlhood and the Politics of Place .Carrie Rentschler and Claudia Mitchell, eds. Berghahn Press, 2016, 175-194.

"William Notman’s Home Library :Discovering Underlying Meaning in the Portrait Photograph." À la recherche du savoir : nouveaux échanges sur les collections du Musée McCord / Collecting Knowledge: New Dialogues on McCord Museum Collections. Joanne Burgess, Cynthia Cooper, Céline Widmer and Natasha Zwarich, eds.Montreal: Editions MultiMondes, 2016,85-109.

Editor. Jerusalem Art History Journal: An Undergraduate eJournal /Histoire de l’art à Jérusalem : cyberrevue étudiante de premier cycle. 


2015 5

Editor. Global Engagements in Contemporary Canadian Art: Thirty-Nine Exhibition Essays and Fifty-Five Artists/ Art contemporain canadien et mobilisation universelle : trente-neuf textes d'exposition; cinquante-cinq artistes. CCCA Academy, 2014.

Editor. Envisioning Virtual Exhibitions.  CCCA Academy, 2013.

Editor. Canadian Portraits. 2012.

and Suzanne Rackover. "Jews in Canadian Art." Canada's Jews: In Time, Space and Spirit, ed. Ira Robinson. Academic Studies Press, 2013, 422-450. 

Guest Editor. Contemporary Art and Religion. Religion and the Arts 17 (2013).

"Introduction: Special Section on Contemporary Art and Religion," Religion and the Arts 17 (2013),1-19.

"William Notman's Photographic Selections (1863)." Journal of Canadian Art History/Annales d'histoire de l'art canadien 33 no.1 (2012), 16-45.

Guest Editorial.  Journal of Canadian Art History/Annalesd'histoire de l'art canadien 33 no. 2 (2012), 10-20.

"Rejection and Renewal: Art and Religion in Canada (1926-2010)." Journal of Canadian ArtHistory/Annales d'histoire de l'art canadien 33 no.2 (2012), 21-52.

"Wassily Kandinsky's Concerning the Spiritual in Art and the Video Works of Sylvia Safdie, Marisa Portolese, Marielle Nitoslawska and Sarindar Dhaliwal." Journal of Canadian ArtHistory/Annales d'histoire de l'art canadien 33 no.2 (2012), 101-128.

"Picturing Her: Seeing Again and Again."Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures 3 no. 2 (Winter 2011), 100-117.

"Kathleen Daly's Images of Inuit People: Professional Art and the Practice of Ethnography." Rethinking Professionalism: Essays on Women and Art in Canada, 1850-1970. Kristina Huneault and Janice Anderson, eds. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2012,. 225-258.

Editor. Picturing Children and Youth: A Canadian Perspective.  2010.

"Dr. Norman Bethune: Biographical Objects and Exhibitions." Material Culture Review/Revue de la culture matérielle no. 72 (Fall 2010), 51-61.

Contributing Editor. Canada's Got Treasures. 2010. A project developed for the Experimental Lab in the Virtual Museum of Canada, with national heritage institutions, Young Cuts and Concordia MA Art History students in a Museum Practice seminar. 

"Photographs of the Child in Canadian Pictorial from 1906 to 1916: A Reflection of the Ideas and Values of English Canadians about Themselves and 'Other' Canadians." Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 3.2 (2010), 233-263.

"The Unmasking of Norman Bethune."The Journal of Canadian Art History/Annales d'histoire de l'art canadien (Winter 2010), 99-113.

Editor. Depicting Canada's Children.  Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2009.

"William Notman's Portrait Photographs of the Wealthy English-speaking Girls of Montreal: Representations of Informal Female Education in Relation to John Ruskin's 'Of Queens' Gardens' and Writings by and for Canadians from the 1850s to 1890s." Historical Studies in Education 21.2 (Fall 2009), 65-87.

"George Reid's Paintings as Narratives of a Child Nation." Depicting Canada's Children. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2009, 325-346.

Introduction, Blessings, Art and Essays on Jewish Blessings Gathered for Two Exhibitions and a Symposium at Montreal's Temple Emanu-El Beth Sholom, May 10-14, 2007. Montreal: Centre for Canadian Jewish Studies, Concordia University, 2009, 6-9.

"William Notman's Portrait Photographs of Girls Reading from the 1860s to 1880s: A Pictorial Analysis based on Contemporary Writings." Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada/Cahiers de la Société bibliographique du Canada 47 no.1 (2009), 45-73.

"Sam Borenstein and Marius Barbeau: Ethnography, Modern Art and the Meeting of Two Worlds." Around and About Marius Barbeau: Modelling Twentieth-Century Culture, eds. Lynda Jessup,Andrew Nurse and Gordon E. Smith. Mercury Series, Culture Studies Paper 83.Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2008, 119-136.

"When the Children Are Sick, So Is Society: Dr Norman Bethune and the Montreal Circle of Artists." Healing the World's Children: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Child Health in the Twentieth Century, Cynthia Comacchio, Janet Golden, and George Weisz, ed.McGill Queen's University Press, 2008, 253-281.

"Adolescent Girls, Adult Women: Coming of Age Images by Five Canadian Women Artists." Girlhood Studies 1no. 2 (Winter 2008), 1-28.  

"Canada Receiving the Homage of Her Children: George Reid's Ave Canada and Gustav Hahn's Hail Dominion: A Proposalof Murals for the Entrance Hall of Canada's Parliament Buildings." The Journal of Canadian Art History/Annales d'histoire de l'art canadien 29 (2008), 50-89.

"Innocence." Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia, eds .Claudia Mitchell and Jacqueline Reid Walsh. Westport: Greenwood, 2008, vol. 2, 365-368.

Review of Imagining Childhood. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006. H-Net Reviews in the Humanities & Social Sciences,1-4.

"From Victorian Girl Reader to Modern Woman Artist: Reading and Seeing in the Paintings of the Canadian Girl by William Brymner, Emily Coonan, and Prudence Heward." Canadian Children's Literature/ Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse 33.2 (Autumn 2007), 19-50.

"Performing Katja." Katja MacLeod Kessin, Memorial Exhibition, February 7, 1959-April 1, 2006.Montreal: FOFA Gallery, Concordia University, 2007, 29-38.

Editor. Metro Borduas: The Underground Landscape of Abstract Art in Montréal. 2006.

Sam Borenstein. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts/Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal,2005.

"The Aron Museum at Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom in Montreal." Material Culture Review/Revue de la culturematérielle 64 (Fall 2004), 8-19.

"Sam Borenstein, Artist and Dealer:The Polemics of Post-Holocaust Jewish Cultural Identity." Canadian Jewish Studies/Etudes juives canadiennes 12 (2004), 31-44.  

Editor. Visual & Textual Documents on Art and Architecture in Canada, 2004. 

Editor. Afterimage: Evocations of the Holocaust in Contemporary Canadian Arts and Literature  / Rémanences:Evocations de l'Holocauste dans les arts et littérature canadiens contemporains. Montreal: Centre for Canadian Jewish Studies, Concordia University, 2002.

Memories and Testimonies/Mémoires et Témoignages. Montreal: Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University/Galerie d'art Leonard et Bina Ellen, Université Concordia, 2002.

Contributing Editor. Public Art as Social Intervention, 1999.

Editor. Canadian Artists of Eastern European Origin. 1999.

"Looking Back, Looking Forward: Canadian Women Artists and Postmodern Rememberings of  Eastern Europe." Canadian Ethnic Studies 12 no. 3 (1999): 44-71.

"Liliana Berezowsky: Mythical Echoes in a Journey of Phantasma." Etc Montréal 47 (1999): 38-41.

Editor. Canadian Film and Video: A Bibliography and Guide to the Literature/Film et vidéo canadiens: bibliographie et guide dela documentation.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997. (website available through Concordia Library, on-line database).

Co-editor. Art and Architecture in Canada: A Bibliography and Guide to the Literature/Art et architecture au Canada: une bibliographie et guide de la documentation. and Mary Williamson. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991. (website available through Concordia Library, on-line data base).

Teaching activities

Undergraduate Courses

Since 2000

  • ARTH 366 Aspects of 19th Century Western Art and Architecture - Topic: The Changing Idea of the Avant-Garde in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Painting
  • ARTH 369 Studies in Near Eastern Art &Architecture -Topic: The City of Jerusalem
  • ARTH 262 Studies in Drawing - Topic: The Creative Drawing from the 19th Century to the Present Day
  • ARTH 298 Special Topics in Genre Studies: The Human Face
  • ARTH 450H/2 Advanced Seminar - Topic: "Here's Looking at you Kid": Picturing Children, Envisioning Childhood

Graduate Courses

  • ARTH 610G Re-Visioning The Twentieth Century: Political Theorists and North American Art from 1970-2000
  • ARTH 610G  Hate, Violence and Genocide Effects in Twentieth Century North American Art and Theory
  • ARTH 649  Aspects of Curatorial Practice

Thesis Supervision

Maya Hajdu, MA
Fragmented Memories in the Graphic Novel
Convocation: Spring 2012

Olivia Pipe, MA
Girl Words: The female language and politicized body in Jana Sterbak's drawings
Convocation: Fall 2011

Pohanna Pyne Feinberg
Making the Invisible Visible: Documenting the Creative Process: A Case Study of the Archive From the Skol-CEDA Co-Creative Collaboration
Convocation: Spring 2011

Marie Péron, MA
Contemporary Representation of Aboriginal Art in the National Museum: New Frameworks for Change in Canada and Australia
Convocation: Fall 2010

Amber Berson, MA
Image and Memory: Art About Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women
Convocation: Spring 2010

Laura Endacott, MA (SIP)
The Mother Image
Convocation: Spring 2010

Doug Pope, MA
Multiple Velocities: A Study of Motion in the Work of Rita Letendre, Serge Lemoyne and Claude Tousignant
Convocation: Fall 2007

Alice Dind, MA
Frederick H. Varley's Self-Portraits Unmasked by his Autobiographical Writings: A Reflection of the Effects of War, Religious/Spiritual Influences and Communion with Nature
Convocation: Spring 2005

Ilga Leimanis, MA (SIP)
Archiving the Self: George Legrady's Immigration Story in 'An Anecdoted Archive from the Cold War
Convocation: Fall 2004

Loretta Flegel, MA
Parts in Play: the Rosalyne Osborne Stearn Collection at McGill University
Convocation: Fall 2003

Suzanne B. Rackover, MA
The Holocaust Art of Gershon Iskowitz, Isaac Applebaum, and Yebouda Chaki: A Critical Approach in Relation to the Philosophical Writings of Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt, and Julia Kristeva
Convocation: Spring 2003

Martin Kapustianyk, MA
Dialogues of Death-in-Life: The Photographic Works of Sandra Semchuk and the Exhibition Coming to Death's Door: A Daughter/Father Collaboration
Convocation: Spring 2003

Arshi Dewan, MA (SIP)
Weaving as Art: An Examination of the Revival of Weaving in the Chittagong Hill Tracts Convocation: Fall 2002

Nicolas ChampRoux, MA
Les Relations incestueuses entre la photographie et l'architecture moderne ou la representation photographique de la Place Ville Marie entre Septembre 1962 et Février 1963
Convocation: Fall 2001

Mikaela Victoria Bobiy, MA
Painting the zone: Chernobyl and the "Art of Witness"
Convocation: Fall 2000

Shannon Anderson, MA
Probing the Surface: The Family Archive Revisited in Installations by Wyn Geleynse, Mindy Yan Miller and Yvonne Singer
Convocation: Spring 2000

Lori-Ann Beaudoin, MA
A Cultural Illness: Women, Identity, and Eating Problems in Faith Ringgold's Change Series
Convocation: Fall 1999


Katja Kessin MacLeod, Humanities (Co-Supervisor)
To Lend the Dead a Voice: Second-Generation German Visual Art
Convocation: Fall 2003

Participation activities


-Co-chair, Faces of Israel at Expo 67, Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies, Concordia University (May 23 and 24, 2017)

-The Israeli Visual Narrative of Nationhood at World Fairs, Faces of Israel at Expo 67, Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies, Concordia University (May 23 and 24, 2017)


-Chair, Visual Representations of the “Holy Land” as Religious Belief, Cultural Memory and Socio-Political Reality, UAAC Conference, UQAM (October 28, 2016)
-Family Works: A Multiplicity of Meanings and Contexts, UAAC Conference, UQAM (October 29, 2016)
-Lessons from the Library: Web Publishing as a forum for student empowerment and engagement,  Networked Art Histories Conference, Concordia University (October 21, 2016)
-City of Jerusalem, Ideas and Images: Art History, Visual Literacy and the Sensorial Imagination, Engaging the Senses: 48th International Visual
Literacy Association Conference, Concordia University (October 8, 2016)

-Anna Dawson Harrington’s Drawings and Letters:Visual and Textual Elements of an Autobiography. CWAHI Conference, Queen's University (May 9, 2015) see also:
-Knafo Klimor Architects' "The Fields of Tomorrow" Israel Pavilion at Milano Expo, 2015: The Challenges of Embodying Agricultural Sustainability in an Architectural Concept. Association for Israel Studies Conference, Azrieli Institute of Israeli Studies, Concordia University (June 1, 2015)

-Chair and speaker, Afternoons at the Institute: Launch of the CCCA Academy. Gail & Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art (October 16, 2014).
-Chair and speaker, Jerusalem Art History Journal; An Undergraduate eJournal: The Process and Product.  Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies Student-Faculty Seminar (November 26, 2014).


-Art and Religion in Canada. Christian  Jewish Dialogue of Montreal, 20 November 2012.
-'What this picture of a girl means to me':The Vicarious Place of Self-Representation for Female University Students in the Art History Classroom." Girlhood Studies and the Politics of Place:New Paradigms of Research, Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (IGSF), McGill University (17 October 2012).
-Aging-Related Images: A Case Study of MarionWagschal's Figurative Self-Portraits. Imagining History: A Canadian Women ArtistsHistory Initiative Conference, Concordia University, Montreal (May3-5 2012).

see also:

-Spirituality and Home in the Video Works of Sylvia Safdie, Marisa Portolese, Marielle Nitoslawska and Sarindar Dhaliwal. UAAC (Universities Art Association of Canada), Carleton University, Ottawa (October27-29, 2011).
-Sam Borenstein and the Jewish Painters of Montreal. Yeshiva University Museum, New York City (27 April 2011).
-William Notman's Photographic Selections (1863): A Scottish Legacy in an Art History Book Published in Canada. Bibliographical Society of Canada and Canadian Association for the Study of Book Culture, Congress, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton (31 May 2011).
-Picturing Her: Methods of Art History and Images of Girlhood, Roundtable on Theorizing Young People.  Association for Research in Cultures of Young  People (ARCYP), Congress, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton (31 May 2011).
-Chair and discussant of double-session, Educating Children about War from the late 19th Century into the 1960s. Society for the History of Children and Youth, Teachers College and Columbia University, New York City (24 June 2011).


-Co-Chair with Zoë Tousignant, Canadian Print Culture. Universities Art Association of Canada, Guelph (16 October 2010)
-William Notman's Photographic Selections (1863). Universities Art Association of Canada, Guelph (16 October 2010).
-Coordinator, ART RELIGION symposium, the fourth Max and Iris Stern International Symposium. With Concordia faculty (Tim Clark and Jeremy Stolow) and François LeTourneux from the Musée d’artcontemporain de Montréal (April 15-17, 2010).
-Photographs of Canadian Children in the Early 1900s: An Analysis of Image Types and English Ideals of a Good Society. Imagining the Child conference, Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas, McGill University (11 March 2010). 


-Girlhood Innocence and Sexuality: How Canadian Artists Marisa Portolese, Angela Grossmann and Fiona Smyth Resist and Contest New Media and Technology. ARCYP (Association of Research in Cultures of Young People), Congress, Carleton University, Ottawa (May 26, 2009).
-Coming of Age on the Road: The Social Construction of Female Adolescence. The Society for the History of Children and Youth biannual conference, University of California (July 11, 2009).

Kathleen Daly's Images of Inuit People: The Public Record versus the Private Practice. Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Conference, Concordia University (October 3, 2008).
-Norman Bethune in Canada: Museum, Monument,Artifact and Memory.  Norman Bethune and Visual Cultures: A Symposium, Concordia University (18 October 2008).
-Magazine Photography, the Canadian Family and the World: A Case Study of Canadian Pictorial, 1909-1914. Canadian Communication Association conference,Vancouver (June 5, 2008).
-The Canadian Girl Reader: A Bibliographical Study and Intellectual History on the Ideal Formation of the Canadian Girl through Reading. Bibliographical Society of Canada conference, Vancouver (June 5, 2008).

Norman Bethune in Museum and Monument: The Massaging of a Canadian Memory. The Golden Mountain: Canada and China, Interconnected,Colloquium, McCord Museum, Montreal (November 2, 2007).
-Depicting Canada's Children. The Society for the History of Children and Youth biannual conference. Norrkoping, Sweden(July 27, 2007).
-The Holocaust in Contemporary Canadian Art: The Discontinuities of Memory and Narrative Discourse, Alternative Endings: Narration and Contemporary Canadian Art, Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art (January 25,2007).

-Moderator, Antoine Plamondon: The Full Portrait Symposium. McCord Museum, Montreal (November 30, 2006).
-The 'Amygdala' Effect: Holocaust Sensations in Recent Canadian Art." Markers and Memory, Places and Ghosts.Panel and open discussion, Susan Hiller, The J. Street Project. Galerie Liane and DannyTaran Gallery, Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts (November 2, 2006).
-The Image of the Female Reader in Canadian Painting: Representations of the Creative Female from the Victorian Girl at Home to the Modern Urban Artist. Canadian Women's Studies Association (May 31,2006).
-Moderator of Round Table, Mediations on Hyphenated Identities with artists in the exhibition Reflections: Canada-Hungary. La Galerie d'art Stewart Hall Art Gallery (April 2, 2006).

-Picturing Canada: Allegorical Images of the Canadian Girl and Family." Picturing Her symposium, McCord Museum,Montreal (December 1, 2005).
-Picturing Her: A Foretaste of the McCord Museum's Exhibition on Canadian Girlhood, Lunch and Learn seminar, McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (November 23, 2005).
-Around Sam Borenstein. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (August 17 and 24, 2005).
-Canada Receiving the Homage of Her Children: An Analysis of a Mural Decoration -Proposal for Canada's Parliament Building(1904-6) in Relation to Nineteenth Century Images of Canada. 26thAnnual Conference Nineteenth Century Studies Association, Augusta, Georgia (March 11, 2005). 

-Russia in Montreal - Russian Jewish Contributions in Art, Literature and Science. Canadian Jewish Congress National Archives, Concordia University (October 27, 2004).
-Dr. Norman Bethune and His Circle of Artists: The Image of the Child in Art, Medicine and Society. McCord/AMSColloquium, Comparative and Interdisciplinary Approaches to Child Health in the20thCentury (October 30, 2004). 
-Love, Loss and Memories: Ripples of the Holocaust.7th Annual Holocaust Education Series. The Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre (April 10, 2004).

-Keynote speaker: The Holocaust in Contemporary Canadian Art: The Incongruities of  Narrative Reasoning and Traumatic Memory. Memory, Conflict and Memory symposium, Memorial University Art Gallery (28 November, 2003).

-Blessings, Art and Essays on Jewish Blessings Gathered for Two Exhibitions and a Symposium at Montreal’s Temple Emanu-El Beth Sholom, May 10-14, 2007. Montreal: Centre for Canadian Jewish Studies,Concordia University, 2009. Coordinator of exhibitions, symposium and related events.
-Guest Curator. Picturing Her - Images of Girlhood, Montreal, McCord Museum, November 2005 - April, 2006.
-Guest Curator. Sam Borenstein. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts /Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, July-August, 2005. Travelling exhibition,2005-06.
-Guest Curator. Memories and Testimonies / Memoires et Témoignages. Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University, April 2002. Travelling exhibition, 2002-2004. 

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