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Department of

Art, Architecture + Art History

Ariel Plotek, PhD

Lecturer, Art History

Ariel Plotek is an Assistant Curator at the San Diego Museum of Art. His main field of expertise is Modern European art, particularly French art of the 19th century. At the San Diego Museum of Art, Dr. Plotek has organized a wide variety of loan exhibitions and focused presentations of the permanent collection, from photojournalism to plein air painting. Notably, he was the curator of Toulouse-Lautrec’s Paris: Selections from the Baldwin M. Baldwin Collection at the San Diego Museum of Art. He has taught seminars at USD on 20th century Art as well as the history of Realism.


Dr. Plotek received his undergraduate degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and his PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. His doctoral dissertation was completed under the aegis of the Institut national d’histoire de l’art in Paris.


Scholarly and Creative Work

The focus of Dr. Plotek’s research is 19th century French Realism. His doctoral dissertation explored the intersection of allegory and Realism in the realm of monumental sculpturestate-sponsored propaganda subjects commissioned mainly for Parisand chronicled the life of the capital from the July Monarchy to the Second Empire. Dr. Plotek has contributed to numerous publications including The Burlington Magazine and the second revised edition of Robert Rosenblum and H.W. Janson’s Nineteenth-Century Art.


Teaching Interests

Dr. Plotek has taught the history of Modern art and architecture. His seminars at USD are designed to encourage collaboration with the San Diego Museum of Art. Object oriented courses are taught in conjunction with exhibitions organized at the Museum, and are designed to educate students in the history of art and the duties of a museum curator.