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 208
Office Hours: 
Tues-Thurs, 10-11AM Please sign up for a half-hour time slot using this Doodle Poll
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: 

Symposium organizer and participant Digital Art and Democracy: People, Places, Participation, University of California Santa Cruz (June 1)

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

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

Invited respondent, Whitney Museum Independent Study Program Critical Studies Scholars Symposium (May 23)

Invited panel participant, Daughters of the Shaking Earth: Bay Area Latina Artists, Galeria de la Raza San Francisco (May 12)

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

Invited panelist, What are We Doing When We Do the Humanities? UC Humanities Fellows conference, Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz (April 21)

Invited participant, exhibition scholar’s roundtable, Come As You Are: Art in the Nineties, Montclair Museum of Art (February 3)


Invited speaker, “Time Migrants,” Graduate Symposium, Cornell University (February 7)

“Time Migrant: Isaac Julien’s Western Union: Small Boats” on the panel Imagining Art History in Proximity of Race, College Art Association Annual Conference, New York


Respondent for the panel  “Blackness as Model,” College Art Association Annual Conference, Chicago

Invited speaker, Museum of African Art, Smithsonian, Washington D. C. “Between the Folds: Renee Green and Yinka Shonibare” (March 5)

Invited speaker, California College of the Arts, in the Visual and Critical Studies Forum (March 10)

Invited speaker SF MOMA, 75th Anniversary "75 Reasons to Live" event (January)


Invited speaker for conference "What Ever Happened to Net Art?," Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden (December)

Invited speaker for symposium "Visual and Cultural Studies: The Next 20 years" University of Rochester, New York (October)

Invited speaker for series "Visualities beyond Occularcentrism," The Visual Cultures Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison (October)

Invited speaker and critic, “Race and Contemporary Digital Art,” Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, M.D. (June)

Invited critic, The McKnight Foundation, Minneapolis, MN (May)

Invited speaker “Renée Green and Genealogical History” 20th Anniversary Porter Colloquium on African American Art, Howard University, Washington, D.C. (April)

Invited Speaker, “Latino Voices” Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C. (October)

Invited Speaker, Guggenheim Museum, “Identity and its Aftermaths,” scholars panel for the Catherine Opie exhibition (October)

Invited Speaker, The Cooper Union, “The Face and the Public,” interdisciplinary lecture series (October)

Invited workshop participant, Networking Visual Culture Project, 2008 hosted by the Institute for Multimedia Literacy at the University of Southern California, funded by the Mellon Foundation (May)

Invited speaker, “Activist Art and the work of Emory Douglas” San Francisco Art Institute, Visiting Artists and Scholars Series (April)

Invited Speaker, “Phantom Sites: Rethinking Identity and Place in Contemporary Art,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art Public Symposium (April)

Invited Speaker, “Enrique Chagoya and the Dialectic of Power,” Berkeley Art Museum scholars panel (March)

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