Avinoam Shalem studied history of art at the universities of Tel Aviv, Munich (LMU) and Edinburgh where he earned his PhD degree in the field of Islamic art. Prior to his appointment as the Riggio Professor of the Arts of Islam at Columbia University, Shalem held the professorship of the history of Islamic art at the University of Munich and taught at the universities of Tel Avi, Edinburgh, Heidelberg (Hochschule für jüdische Studien), Bamberg, Luzern and Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. He was Andrew Mellon Senior Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2006 and Guest Scholar at the Getty Research Center in 2009. Since 2007, he is the Max-Planck Fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence.
Shalem’s main field of interest concerns artistic interactions in the Mediterranean basin, migration of objects, and medieval aesthetics. He has published extensively on medieval Islamic, as well as Jewish and Christian art. Professor Shalem is the author and editor of nine books, including Islam Chistianized (Peter Lang, second ed. 1998); The Oliphant (Brill, 2004); Facing the Wall: The Palestinian-Israeli Barriers (Walter-König, 2011); and After One Hundred Years: The 1910 Exhibition >>Meisterwerke muhammedanischer Kunst<< Reconsidered (Brill, 2010). He has recently edited the book Constructing the Image of Muhammad in Europe (Walter de Gruyter, 2013), which introduces readers to the complex history of the conceptualisation and pictorialisation of the Prophet Muhammad in the West, from early medieval times to the 19th century.