Arnold Aronson is Professor Emeritus of Theatre in the MFA Theatre Program at the Columbia University School of the Arts in New York City where he taught from 1991 to 2019. He served as Chair of the program from 1991-98 and 2008-2012. He also co-created and taught in the Theatre PhD Program. Prior to Columbia he taught at the University of Virginia, Cornell University, University of Michigan, and the City University of New York. He has a BA from Rutgers University and MA/PhD from New York University.
He writes primarily about scenography and about avant-garde theatre. He edited The Routledge Companion to Scenography and is the author of Ming Cho Lee: A Life in Design; Fifty Key Theatre Designers, The History and Theory of Environmental Scenography; American Set Design; American Avant-Garde Theatre: A History; Architect of Dreams: The Theatrical Vision of Joseph Urban; Looking into the Abyss: Essays on Scenography; Exhibition on the Stage: Reflections on the 2007 Prague Quadrennial (ed.), and The Disappearing Stage: Reflections on the 2011 Prague Quadrennial (ed.). Professor Aronson has also contributed essays to The Cambridge Companion to Modern American Theatre Since 1945; Architecture, Theater, and Fantasy: Bibiena Drawings from the Jules Fisher Collection (Morgan Library); Setting the Scene: Perspectives on Twentieth-Century Theatre Architecture; The Cambridge Companion to Chekhov; Approaching the Millennium: Essays on Tony Kushner’s Angels in America; Arthur Miller’s America: Theater & Culture in a Time of Change; Pleasure: The Architecture and Design of Rockwell Group; Against Theatre: Creative Destructions on the Modernist Stage; and Performance Design. He wrote the Forward to Scenography Expanded: An Introduction to Contemporary Performance Design, and contributed to the Forward of Drama by David Rockwell. He has also contributed to The Cambridge History of American Theatre, Vol. 3; The Cambridge Guide to American Theatre; and The Cambridge Guide to World Theatre. His articles have appeared in The Drama Review, American Theatre, Theatre Forum, Bühnentechnische Rundschau, Performance Research, Theatre Research International, Theatre Design & Technology, and The New York Times, among others. His articles and books have been translated into Mandarin, Korean, Czech, and Germa
Professor Aronson was a founding Co-Editor of the journal Theatre and Performance Design (Routledge), serving as co-editor through 2020, and was editor of Theatre Design & Technology from 1978-88. He has been the recipient of fellowships from The Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, Italy, and The Bogliasco Foundation, Italy, and has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Estonia, Korea, and Italy. He also served for many years as the chair of the History and Theory Commission of the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects, and Technicians (OISTAT). He has a long association with the Prague Quadrennial of Stage Design and Theatre Architecture having served as President of the International Jury in 1991 and 1999, curator of the U.S. exhibit in 1995, and General Commissioner in 2007.