Jeffrey Abt is a Professor in the James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History of Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. He has a BFA degree from Drake University and he studied at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem before completing an MFA at Drake. Abt pursued curatorial and exhibitions work at the Wichita Art Museum, the Special Collections Research Center of the University of Chicago, and the University’s Smart Museum of Art, before coming to Wayne State.
An artist and writer, Jeffrey Abt’s artwork is in museum and corporate collections throughout the United States, and he has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions in America and abroad. Abt’s writings include A Museum on the Verge: A Socioeconomic History of the Detroit Institute of Arts, 1882-2000, published by Wayne State University Press in 2001 and the essay, “The Origins of the Public Museum” included in A Companion to Museum Studies, issued by Blackwell Publishing in 2006, American Egyptologist: The Life of James Henry Breasted and the Creation of His Oriental Institute was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2012.
Other publications include: Valuing Detroit’s Art Museum, 2017 and Museum History Journal, which Abt is co-editor.
In September 2018, a one person exhibition in the galleries of the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia featured two bodies of Abt’s artwork that reflects his interest in museums. Titled Museums as Viewing Machines: Work by Jeffrey Abt, the exhibition focuses on the mechanics of presenting work in a museum, and the visual culture of museums. Abt is intrigued by environments created to foster contemplation, whether for the purposes of studying artworks or for spiritual introspection.