Marsha Olson portrait

Marsha Olson

Adjunct Instructor
B.A. & M.A. in Religious Studies, University of Minnesota
M.A. & Ph.D. in Art History, University of Minnesota
44 N. Cleveland Ave.
(651) 962-5560

Specialization: South Asian Art

Marsha Olson is an art historian with a focus on the art and religions of South Asia. Her research focuses on Indo-Portuguese ivory statuettes created in Goa, India, in the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries.  She is especially interested in the study of iconography, devotional practice, and how artworks represent the coming together of cultures in their forms.

Select Professional Papers and Presentations

“Mary on the Moon: Ivory Statuettes of the Virgin Mary from Goa and Sri Lanka.” The Bodhi Tree and the Orchid: A Symposium in Honor of Catherine B. Asher and Frederick M. Asher.  February 15, 2014 in Chicago, IL.

“Introduction” to Ivory Objects from India, Sri Lanka, The Philippines and Southeast Asia. Gallery Exhibition Catalogue for Joost van den Bergh Ltd.  Asian Art in London, 2013.  (Invited Essay)

“Voodoo Lilies and Devils’ Tongues: A Visit to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory.” Online essay for Quodlibetica, “Constellation 18 – The Icy Issue,” posted February 2012.

Architectural Negotiations: Monuments, Audience and Reception in Pre-Modern and Early Modern India.  39th Annual Conference on South Asia, October 16, 2010.  Madison, Wisconsin. (Panel Chair and Organizer)

“God is in the Details: The Flora and Fauna of Goan Ivory Statuettes.” 38th Annual Conference on South Asia.  October 24, 2009. Madison, Wisconsin.

Seeing Time, Seeing Space: Visual Cultures in South Asia. 38th Annual Conference on South Asia.  October 24, 2009.  Madison, Wisconsin.  (Panel Chair)

“Contemplative Immersion: Experiencing Goan Ivories through Darshan and Rasa.” American Council for Southern Asian Art Biennial Symposium XIV and “New Darshans: Seeing Southern Asian Religiousity and Visuality Across Disciplines” Conference.  October 18, 2009.  Denison, Ohio.

Summer 2019 Courses

Summer 2019 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ARTH 110 - W02 Introduction to Art History M - W - - - - 1300 - 1700 OEC 414

Days of Week:

M - W - - - -

Time of Day:

1300 - 1700


OEC 414

Course Registration Number:

30026 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:


Marsha G. Olson

Through a series of case studies, this course examines the importance of art as cultural expression across time and from a global perspective. In each course section, students will analyze the style, subject, and patronage of works of art, and will explore art's relationship to religion, ideology, society and economy, gender roles, and the interaction of cultures. Case studies will include architecture, sculpture, painting, and other arts, such as ceramics, textiles, and photography. This course fulfills the Fine Arts and Human Diversity core requirements. Consult the department website for details about the specific sections offered.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

Fall 2019 Courses

Fall 2019 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location

J-Term 2020 Courses

J-Term 2020 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location