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Derek Conrad Murray

Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture
History, Theory and Criticism of Contemporary Art and Visual Culture
Research Interests: 


Derek Conrad Murray is an interdisciplinary theorist specializing in the history, theory and criticism of contemporary art and visual culture. He works in contemporary aesthetic and cultural theory with a particular attention to technocultural engagements with identity and representation. He has contributed to leading magazines and journals such as American ArtArt in AmericaParachuteArt Journal, Third TextConsumption Markets & Culture and Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, where he currently serves as Associate Editor. Murray served on the Editorial Board of Art Journal (CAA) and is currently on the Editorial Advisory Boards of Third Text and Visual Studiesthe official journal of the International Visual Sociology Association. He is the author of Mapplethorpe and the Flower: Radical Sexuality and the Limits of Control (Bloomsbury, 2020), Queering Post-Black Art: Artists Transforming African-American Identity After Civil Rights (I.B. Tauris, UK, 2016) and an edited volume Visual Culture Approaches to the Selfie (Routledge Press, 2020).


Recent and Forthcoming Publications:

“Why is it So Hard to Look the Other in the Eye?”: The Selfie and its Discontents” in. Companion to Contemporary Art in a Global Framework, eds. Jane Chin Davidson and Amelia Jones (UK: Oxford University Press, 2023).

“On the Perils of Enjoying One’s Wound: Atlanta and Contemporary African-American Satire” in. Greater Atlanta: African American Satire since Obama, eds. Derek C. Maus and James J. Donahue (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2024). Forthcoming

“Wither Ideology: Videos Games as Ideological Representation” in. Antiracist Futures: Games, Play, and the Speculative Imagination, eds. TreaAndrea M. Russworm and Soraya Murray. Forthcoming

"Blackness on Display: On Racial Fetishism and the Right to Opacity" in Reshaping the Field: Art of the African Diasporas on Display (London: Afterall Exhibition Histories/ARTBOOK | D.A.P. 2022). (Fall 2022)

“On Darrel Ellis and the Poetics of Opacity,” in Darrell Ellis, eds Kyle Croft and Lara Mimosa Montes (NY: Visual AIDS, 2021), 10-21. 

“Who’s Afraid of an Ethical Art History,” published by invitation in Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Storytellers of Art Histories, edited by Alpesh Kantilal Patel and Yasmeen Siddiqui (Bristol: Intellect, Ltd., 2021), 187-196. 

"On Photographic Ubiquity in the Age of Online Self-Imaging” in Ubiquity: Photography's Multitudes, eds. Kyle Parry and Jacob W. Lewis (Leuven University Press)., 2021.

“Identities,” published by invitation for the Wiley Blackwell Companion to Visual Culture, Wiley Blackwell (Edited by Aubrey Anable and Catherine Zuromskis, 2020), 403-419. 

“The Blackest Blackness: Slavery and the Satire of Kara Walker,” for Slavery and the Post-Black Imagination, University of Washington Press (Edited by Ilka Saal and Bertrand Ashe, University of Washington Press, 2020), 21-42. (Jan 2020) 

“Queer Aesthetics in the History of African-American Art” for the Routledge Companion to African-American Art (Routledge Press, 2020), 406-417. 

“On Reciprocity: Expanding the Dialogue Between Disciplines” in Visual Studies. Special Issue on Visual Studies Now. Issue 36.3. Fall 2021

“The Cost of that Revealing” in special issue “The Visual Archives of Sex,” in Radical History Review, eds. Heike Baur, Melina Pappademos, Katie Sutton, & Jennifer Tucker, Issue 142., 2021.



Porter D215
Office Hours: 

Office hours for Winter 2024: Mondays from 11:00 am-1:00 pm. Please email me for an appointment.

Mailing Address: 

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

Selected Publications: 


Visual Culture Approaches to the Selfie (Routledge Press, 2022)

Mapplethorpe and the Flower: Radical Sexuality and the Limits of Control (Bloomsbury, 2020)

Queering Post-Black Art: Artists Transforming African-American Identity After Civil Rights (2015) I.B. Tauris (UK)  

Education and Training: 
PhD, History of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
MA, History of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY