Michael Aurbach, Professor of Art, Emeritus, retired from Vanderbilt University in 2016. For the last three decades his socially inspired sculpture addressed issues associated with identity, death, institutional power, and contemporary forms of scholarship. He has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards. Among the institutions and foundations that have provided support for his work are the National Endowment for the Arts, the Southern Arts Federation, the Tennessee Arts Commission, Art Matters Inc., the Puffin Foundation, the Beren Foundation, and Vanderbilt University. Following a national competition, Aurbach was awarded the inaugural show of contemporary art at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville in 2001.
In 2015, the Southeastern College Art Conference recognized Aurbach with their Award for Exemplary Achievement, their highest honor. In 2011, he received the SECAC Award for Outstanding Exhibition and Catalogue of Contemporary Materials, and in 1995, their Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement.
Since 1986 Aurbach has exhibited his sculpture in more than 80 solo shows and lectured about his work at more than 250 universities and cultural institutions. His work has been reviewed in such publications as Sculpture, Leonardo, World Sculpture News, Metalsmith, and Art Papers.
At the University of Kansas he earned baccalaureate degrees in Biology (1974), Journalism (1976), and Studio Art (1981) plus the M.A. in Art History (1979). He completed his M.F.A. in Sculpture at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX (1983). Immediately following his graduate studies in sculpture he taught for one year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY and for two years as an Assistant Professor at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
Aurbach is a native of Wichita, Kansas. His 1970 high school graduating class in Wichita included such noted artists as David Salle (painter), Tom Otterness (sculptor), and Keith Sanborn (filmmaker/ videographer).
He is a past president of the College Art Association, the world’s largest organization of visual arts professionals.