Jennifer A. González

Jennifer A. González

Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture
Contemporary Art, Race and Representation
Research Interests: 

Jennifer Gonzalez writes about contemporary art with an emphasis on installation art, digital art and activist art. She is interested in understanding the strategic use of space (exhibition space, public space, virtual space) by contemporary artists and by cultural institutions such as museums. More specifically, she has focused on the representation of the human body and its relation to discourses of race and gender.


Artists over the past two decades have used installation art to represent their concerns about history, identity and memory. Installation art and museum display practices have become mutually influential; many artists have been invited to produce original art projects inside museums or using museum exhibition techniques. Gonzalez’s research has lead to a book project on the work of contemporary artists who use installation art as a way to stage a critical assessment of race politics in the United States.


In addition to installation art, Jennifer Gonzalez has written on contemporary digital art and specifically on the visual representation of the body. Several of her articles and book chapters focus on the cyborg body or the hybrid body as both symptoms of and metaphors for cultural transformation. The visual representation of new forms of corporeality often signal a utopian hope or distopic unease with new technologies and imaginary futures.

Porter College, Room D208
Office Hours: 

No office hours in Spring quarter 2017.

Mailing Address: 

History of Art and Visual Culture

University of California, Santa Cruz

1156 High Street

Santa Cruz, CA 95064

Selected Publications: 


Pepón Osorio, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013)

Subject to Display: Reframing Race in Contemporary Installation Art (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008). Finalist for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, College Art Association

Articles and Book Chapters

"Flesh in the Machine: She's Egungun Again," in Wangechi Mutu: This You Call Civilization? edited by David Moos, Art Gallery of Ontario, 2010, 72-75.

"Sea Dreams: Isaac Julien’s Western Union: Small Boats,” in The Migrant’s Time: Art, Dispersal, and Difference, edited by Saloni Mathur (Williamstown and New Haven: Clark Institute, distributed by Yale University Press, 2010) 115-129.

"Pose and Poseur: The Racial Politics of Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s Photo-Performances,” co-authored with Guillermo Gómez-Peña, in Race and Classification: The Case of Mexican America, edited by Ilona Katzew and Susan Deans-Smith, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010), 236-263.

"The Face and the Public: Race, Secrecy and Digital Art Practice," in Camera Obscura 70, Vol. 24, No. 1 (2009): 37-65.

Christian Marclay: Overtures,” in Christian Marclay (London: Phaidon Press, 2005)

Electronic Habitus: Agit-prop in an imaginary world,” in Visual Worlds, John R. Hall, Blake Stimson and Lisa Tamiris Becker, eds., (New York: Routledge, 2003)

Morphologies: Race as Visual Technology” in Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self (New York: International Center of Photography, 2003)

Paul Pfeiffer” in Bomb, Spring 2002, Issue 83: 22-29

Landing in California” in Art/Women/California 1950-2000: Parallels and Intersections, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 219-240

Against the Grain: The Artist as Conceptual Materialist” in Fred Wilson: Objects and Installations 1979-2000 (Baltimore: Center for Art and Visual Culture,University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2000)

"The Appended Subject: Race and Identity as Digital Assemblage,” in Race in Cyberspace, Beth Kolko, Lisa Nakamura, Gil Rodman, eds., (New York: Routledge, 2000)

Selected Presentations: 


Invited speaker, “Cartographies of Democracy,” Graduate Symposium, San Francisco Art Institute (January 31)

Invited panelist, Imagining a U.S. Latino Art History, College Art Association (Feb 14)

Invited speaker, “Cartographies of Democracy,” Whitney Museum Independent Study Program (February 12)

Invited speaker, “Cartographies
of Democracy,” Scripps College, Claremont (March 4)

Invited speaker,
“Bodies, Technologies and Race Politics,” UC San Diego Art Department graduate
seminar (March 5)


Invited speaker, “The Face and the Public” at the Traveling
Concepts in Cultural Analysis

conference, University of Rostock, Germany (May 30-June 1)

Invited speaker, “The Face and Race in the Public Sphere” at the Visions of the Now conference,
Stockholm, Sweden

doctoral seminar speaker, “Contemporary Art and the Problematic of Ethnography,” l'Université Paris-Sorbonne for Arnaud Maillet (May 21)

Invited doctoral colloquium speaker, “Cyborg Bodies and
Adaptation” at l’Ecole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, for
Eric Michaud (April 16)

Invited doctoral seminar speaker, “Digital Art and the
Politics of Race,” Université de Rennes,
for Elvan Zubayan (April 10)


Invited lecture,
“Time Migrants: Contemporary Art and the Future of the Humanities,” Brown University (November 12)

panelist, “Absolute Democracy” Truth is
international symposium, Graz, Austria (September 26)

organizer and participant Digital Art and Democracy: Questions of Race and
, University of California Santa Cruz (June 1)

virtual speaker, Now! Visual Culture, International Association for
Visual Culture inaugural
conference, New York University (May 31)

speaker, The Artist As Ethnographer conference, Musée du Quai
Branly, Paris (May 26, 27)

Invited speaker,
Swinging and Flowing: Inclusion and
Diversity in the Age of Big Data
UC Berkeley (April 26)

Teaching Interests: 

Contemporary art in the U.S. and Europe, history of the museum, activist art since 1960, history of photography, theories of representation, feminist theory

Honors and Awards: 

Excellence in Teaching Award, University of California, Santa Cruz (2010)

Joanne Cassullo Teaching Fellow, Independent Study Program, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2002, 2004, 2007)

Andrew Wyeth Publication Grant, College Art Association (2009)

President’s Research Fellowship in the Humanities, University of California (2000)

American Council of Learned Societies Junior Fellowship (2000)

Ford Foundation Dissertation Grant (1996)

Education and Training: 
BA, Philosophy, Yale University, New Haven
PhD, History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz