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Assistant Professor

PhD – History of Art, University of Arizona
MA – Art History and Theory, Arizona State University
BA – Philosophy, Arizona State University


Dr. Robert Edward Gordon is an Assistant Professor in the area of General Studies at the Fred Fox School of Music, a Fellow at the UA Center for Buddhist Studies, and Managing Director of the Voices of Culture Forum. He facilitates cross-college interdisciplinary partnerships that includes teaching, course development, grant writing, and scholarly research. Trained as a philosopher and an art historian, his work encompasses a broad range of interests: Eastern art and philosophy, art and economics, freedom and aesthetics, art and poverty, and humanistic geography. With an emphasis on the epistemologies of contemporary life, his writings investigate how the meanings and ideas embedded in the world (artworks, architecture, nature) are experienced in terms of the attitudes, perceptions, and values of the individual. 

“There is something about human beings as we get older that make us want to share what we know, to help the young and others by imparting our knowledge and wisdom in order to make a better society. At root we want to share our hearts. This is also the core of both humanistic geography and art: as spaces that center human experience as the fulcrum of meaning vis-à-vis environment, and places where feelings and sentiments can find corporeal existence and privilege.” ~Robert E. Gordon

Dr. Gordon has taught art history and philosophy at various colleges and universities over the last ten years. He has lectured at large corporations and museums, and worked in Chicago as a corporate art consultant and gallery manager. Elements of his research are incorporated in the Japanese American National Museum’s Traveling Exhibition.

Professor Gordon is presently working with local museums and religious organizations on an exhibition that highlights the importance of Tibetan stupas located throughout the American Southwest. His current book project, Reality is Here: The Appearance of Buddhist Architecture in America, investigates the scriptural foundation for Buddhist architecture and its development in an American setting.


Select Publications

"The Philosophy of Freedom and the History of Art: An Interdisciplinary View." Philosophies 5, no.18 (Sept 2020)

"Binaries, Buddhism, and the Art of Reminders in the Work of Jacob Hashimoto." Athenaeum Review 3 (Winter 2020): 213-24.

“Special Places, Sacred Spaces: Two Traditional Buddhist Temples in Nihonmachi Los Angeles.” Space and Culture (September 2019).

“A Multi-Layered Drama” The Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2018, p. C14.

“Kim Ki-chang: The Korean Caravaggio? Empathy and Intuition in the Life of Jesus Series,” Catholic Arts Today (Benedict XVI Institute: March 2018)

“Gateway to the Top of the World: Nishi Hongwanji Los Angeles,” Japanese American National Museum Traveling Exhibit, Los Angeles, CA., 2015

“Borobudur and the Concept of Path in Buddhism,” Smarthistory – Khan Academy (online), 2014.

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1 day ago
Arizona Arts

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3 days ago
Arizona Arts

May the Fourth Be With You.

No one captured the thrill of space exploration quite like artist Robert McCall, a major figure in the University of Arizona Museum of Art collection.

For more than 60 years, McCall chronicled the history of aviation, science and space flight and shared his vision with the world. His 35-year relationship with NASA gave Americans a view of its presence in space in ways never before imagined.

In addition to being a visual historian for NASA, McCall served as a conceptual artist for the entertainment industry. He painted the poster art for Stanley Kubrick's classic, "2001: A Space Odyssey."

He has been an inspiration to generations of astronomers, engineers, and astronauts and a model for young artists, designers and illustrators.

In 2007, McCall made the founding donation of 200 original paintings and drawings to UAMA, which helped establish UAMA’s Archive of Visual Arts.

1. Robert T. McCall, Rendezvous (from The Apollo Story portfolio), 1973, Lithograph on paper, Gift of Dr. Byron C. Butler
2. From sketchbook #304, page 7, Oct. 1994. Cactus in space?
3. From sketchbook #307, page 11, Aug. 1999.
4. Mars Metropolis
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