Derek Conrad Murray

Derek Conrad Murray

Assistant Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture
Theory and Criticism of Contemporary Art, Contemporary Photography, African-American/African Diaspora Art and Culture, Critical Issues in Art Practice, Identity and Representation
Research Interests: 

Derek Conrad Murray is an interdisciplinary theorist specializing in the history, theory and criticism of contemporary art, African-American/African Diaspora art and culture, Post-Black art and aesthetics, theoretical approaches to identity and representation, critical issues in art practice, and the methodologies and ethics of Art History and Visual Studies. He has contributed to leading magazines and journals of contemporary art such as American ArtArt in America, Parachute, Art Journal, Exit EXPRESS, the Documenta 12 Magazine ProjectPublic Art Review, Third Text and Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art (Duke University Press), where he currently serves as Associate Editor.

Murray is also currently serving on the Editorial Advisory Board of Third Text.

Other News:

See my recent mention in Politico HERE

See my recent contribution to CAA's Bookshelf Series HERE

Porter D215
Office Hours: 
Fall 2015, TBA
Mailing Address: 

Derek Conrad Murray, University of California at Santa Cruz, Porter Faculty Services, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064

Selected Publications: 


Murray's book entitled Queering Post-Black Art: Artists Transforming African-American Identity After Civil Rights (2015) was recently published by I.B. Tauris (UK). See I.B. Tauris Link        See Amazon Link

Murray’s book Regarding Difference: Contemporary African-American Art and the Politics of Recognition will be published by Manchester University Press (UK) as a part of the series Rethinking Art’s Histories (ed. Amelia Jones and Marsha Meskimmon).

Peer-Reviewed Essays/Reviews/Articles:

“Notes to Self: The Visual Culture of “Selfies” in the Age of Social Media," Special Issue: Consumption Markets & Culture Journal, Theme: Communicating Identity/Consuming Difference, ed. Jonathan Schroeder, Vol. 18, No. 6, pp. 490-516, 2015

Press for Selfie article:

“Post-Black Art and the Resurrection of African-American Satire” in Post-Soul Satire: Black Identity After Civil Rights, eds. Derek C. Maus and James Donahue (University Press of Mississippi, 2014). pp. 3-21.

“Mickalene Thomas: Afro-Kitsch and the Queering of Blackness,” in American Art (Special issue on Post-Identity), Spring 2014, Vol. 28, no. 1

Book Review of T.J. Demos' The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary during Global Crisis (Durham: Duke University Press, 2013) Third Text, Vol. 27, No. 6, 806-814, 2013.

"Queer Feminist Durationality and the Subject as Becoming." Review/Article
of Amelia Jones’ book Seeing Differently: A History and Theory of Identification and the Visual Arts (London: Routledge, 2012),
in Art Journal, Winter 2013

“Public Ritual: William Pope .L and Exorcisms of Abject Blackness,” in Public Art Review, Issue 43, Fall/Winter 2010

“Uneasy Bedfellows: Canonical Art Theory and the Politics of Identity” in Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 252, (Bristol: Gale Group, 2008).

“Post Post-Black: Some Politically Incorrect Thoughts on the Reception and Contemplation of African-American Art” Review of Darby English’s How To See A Work Of Art In Total Darkness, in Art Journal, Volume 66, Number 4 (Winter 2007): 112-114.

“Splendid Bodies: Kehinde Wiley,” in NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Number 21, Fall 2007. p. 90-101.

“On Art and Contamination: Performing Identity in Global Art Practices,” in Madrid-based magazine EXIT EXPRESS, April 2007.

“Obscene Jouissance: The Visual Poetics of Labor Exploitation,” in Third Text, Issue Number 84, Vol. 21, Issue 1, January 2007.

Carceral Subjects: The Play of Power in Artur Zmijewski’s Repetition,” in Parachute, Issue Number 124, October 2006.

“Obscene Jouissance: Aesthetics and the Visual Poetics of Labor Exploitation,” in Parachute, Issue Number 122, April 2006.

“Uneasy Bedfellows: Canonical Art Theory and the Politics of Identity,” co-authored with Soraya Murray, in Art Journal, March 2006.

“A Rising Generation & the Pleasures of Freedom,” in The International Review of African- American Art, Volume 20, Number 2, 2005: 2-11.

“Hip-Hop vs. High Art: Notes on Race as Spectacle,” in Art Journal, Volume 63, No. 2, Summer 2004: 4-19.

“Okwui Enwezor in Conversation with Derek Conrad Murray,” in NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art Number 18, Spring/Summer 2003: 40-47.

Selected Presentations: 

Invited Speaker: “The Narcissism Myth: Social
Media, Selfies, and the Pathologizing of Women,” in 7th Kern
Conference on Visual Communication, Selfies,
Self-Portraits, and Social Media
, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), April 14-16, 2016.

Invited Speaker: “Playable Blackness:
Black Masculinity in Grand Theft Auto V”, in panel The Visual Politics of
Play: On the Signifying Practices of Digital Games
. College Art Association
(CAA), 104th Annual Conference, Washington, DC, February 5, 2016.

Invited Speaker: "On The Queering of Post-Black Art, "Visual
& Media Culture Colloquium, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA,
October 28, 2015

Invited Speaker: "On The Queering of Blackness,"Visual & Critical Studies Lecture Seriess, California College of the Arts (CCA), CA, October 21, 2015

Invited Speaker: Desiree Holman in conversation with Derek Conrad Murray, Headlands Center for the Arts, Headlands, CA, October 13, 2015

Invited Speaker, Derek Conrad Murray in Conversation with artist Mickalene Thomas, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SMOMA) and Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco (MOAD), May 8, 2015

Invited Speaker, The Dissident Dandy,” Style Wars: Three Conversations on the Power of Style, SFAQ: International Arts and Culture (Project Space), San Francisco, CA, May 2015

Invited Commentator, "Digital Media and the Interstices of Identity,"Empyre Listserv, Cornell University, Ithaca NY, April 2015

Invited Speaker, "On the Queering of Post-Black Art," Townsend Working Group in Contemporary Art, October 2014, University of California, Berkeley,

Keynote Speaker, Liquid Blackness Symposium, April 2014, Georgia State University,

Invited Speaker, 6th Kern Conference on Visual Communication, Communicating Identity/Consuming Difference, April 2014, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT),


Teaching Interests: 

The history, theory and criticism of contemporary art, African-American/African Diaspora art and culture, Post-Black art and aesthetics, identity and representation, the methodologies and ethics of art history and visual studies, critical issues in art practice, contemporary photography.

Education and Training: 
PhD, History of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
MA, History of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
BFA, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA