Jennifer Gonzalez writes about contemporary art with an emphasis on installation, digital 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.
Her first book Subject to Display: Reframing Race In Contemporary Installation Art (MIT Press, 2008) was a finalist for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, given by the College Art Association for a particularly distinguished book in the history of art. The book explores how artists James Luna, Fred Wilson, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Pepón Osorio and Renée Green offer a critique of the racialized display practices of institutions such as museums, private collections, and art galleries as well as the cultural heirarchies reproduced in domestic spaces and government agencies. These artists use installation techniques to analyze historical materials, to highlight colonialist discourses, to resituate subaltern bodies, and to critique the spatial and ideological divisions that perpetuate inequalities.
Pepón Osorio (University of Minnesota Press, 2013) extends her analysis of this prolific Puerto Rican installation artist whose social justice, collaborative art practice examines how communities of color grapple with difficult issues from AIDS, to mass incarceration, to foster care. The artist frequently collaborates with community youth, and each installation articulates a complex web of relations among the participants and the larger social institutions and racialized discourses they confront. Pepón Osorio won second place in the Best Art Book category of the International Latino Book Awards, 2014.
González has also served as chief editor with Ondine Chavoya, Chon Noriega and Tere Romo for the co-edited volume Chicana and Chicano Art: A Critical Anthology, forthcoming from Duke University Press (2019). Comprising a diverse selection of thematically organized essays from the 1960s-2000s, this anthology is designed to be an introductory teaching collection for students and non-specialists.
González has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the American Association of University Women, and the American Council of Learned Societies. She has published articles in numerous scholarly and art publications such as Journal of Visual Culture, Frieze, Bomb, Diacritics, Archives of American Art Journal, Camera Obscura, Open Space and Art Journal. She has lectured extensively at universities and art museums nationally and internationally and teaches regularly at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, New York.
Please note: Professor Gonzalez will not be accepting new graduate students until 2020.
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History of Art and Visual Culture
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
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)
Invited keynote speaker, "50 Years: Whitney Museum Independent Study Progarm", Whitney Museum, New York (October 20)
Invited speaker, "Art and Activism" with Laurie Palmer, Resource Center for Non-Violence, Santa Cruz (July 27)
Respondant, Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, Spring Symposium, New York (May 19)
Respondant, "Movements in Art and Activism: Radical Practice in California and Beyond," College Art Association, Los Angeles (February 22)
Invited speaker, "Questions that Matter: Freedom and Race," public talk for The Humanities Institute, University of California, Santa Cruz (January 30)
Invited speaker, "Feminist Self-Portraits: Comparing Selves," gallery walk through for Radical Women-Latin American Art 1960-1985, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (October 26)
Invited discussant with Anna Tsing and TJ Demos, Against the Anthropocene, book launch, Institute of the Arts and Sciences, UC Santa Cruz, (October 17)
Invited discussant, "Traction: Art Talks with Tanya Brugera," Institute of the Arts and Sciences, UC Santa Cruz, (October 3)
Invited speaker, "Humanism and Anti-Humanism in American Art History" conference, Terra Foundation, Giverny, France (September 20)
Workshop organizer and participant, "Propagate: Art Pedagodies," San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (August 17)
Public launch and roundtable discussion of Journal of Visual Culture special issue on “Visual Activism,” Modern Times Bookstore, San Francisco (June 13)
Invited speaker, “Radical Chicana Artists” for Dialogues in the Present Tense: Latino and Latin American Art through the Lens of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, Getty Foundation, Los Angeles (May 16)
Invited speaker, “Orality and Democracy: Discursive Frames in Contemporary Art,” graduate symposium, Department of Art History, University of Texas at Austin, (April 12)
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, Multimodal Interaction workshop, Department of Philosophy, UC Berkeley (December 6)
Invited speaker, “From Face to Skin,” This Is Not About The Future: Black Digital Culture Now, conference hosted by CAL Arts, Valencia & Los Angeles, CA (November 14-15)
Invited panelist, “Defying Categories” for Nuestra América: Expanding Perspectives in American Art fourth biennial Latino Art Now! conference, hosted by the Inter-University program for Latino research, Smithsonian Latino Center and the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Nov 7-9)
Invited panelist, Ford Foundation Fellows Conference, Irvine, CA (September 26-28)
Invited juror and discussant, Interdisciplinary Law & Humanities Junior Scholars Workshop, USC Law School (June 7-9)
Invited speaker, Jean Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child exhibition panel discussion at Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco with Lewis Watts and Jordana Moore Sagasse (May 15)
Invited speaker, roundtable discussion about the book Pepón Osorio, with Pepón Osorio and Chon Noriega, Hunter College (May 9)
Conference co-organizer, International Association of Visual Culture biannual conference, Visual Activism with Julia Bryan-Wilson (UC Berkeley) and Dominic Wilsdon (SF MOMA). (March 14-16)
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
Invited graduate seminar speaker, “Contemporary Art and the Problematic of Ethnography,” l'Université Paris-Sorbonne for Professor Arnaud Maillet (May 21)
Invited graduate seminar speaker, “Cyborg Bodies and Adaptation” at l’Ecole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, for Professor Eric Michaud (April 16)
Invited graduate seminar speaker, “Digital Art and the Politics of Race,” Université de Rennes, for Professor Elvan Zubayan (April 10)
Invited lecture, “Time Migrants: Contemporary Art and the Future of the Humanities,” Brown University (November 12)
Invited panelist, “Absolute Democracy” Truth is Concrete international symposium, Graz, Austria (September 26)
Symposium organizer and participant Digital Art and Democracy: Questions of Race and Representation, 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 speaker, Swinging and Flowing: Inclusion and Diversity in the Age of Big Data, UC Berkeley (April 26)
Contemporary art in the U.S. and Europe, history of the museum, activist art since 1960, history of photography, theories of representation, feminist theory
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)