I am a specialist in contemporary art, with particular interests in performance, audience participation, conceptualism, institutional critique, and the relationship between art and urban space. My work has a dual geographic focus in North America and in the former Yugoslavia and its successor states.
My first book, Asking the Audience: Participatory Art in 1980s New York, appeared with the University of Minnesota Press in 2017. Asking the Audience revolves around the question of how audiences can exercise agency in participatory art, and the related historiographic problem of how art historians can recover those types of agency. The book takes up the case studies of art collaborative Group Material's Democracy and feminist artist Martha Rosler's If You Lived Here…, two projects held at the Dia Art Foundation in New York in 1988–89, which were early instances of the type of institutionally based participatory art now ubiquitous in contemporary art practice. Through my study of the visual, audio, and textual archives of these projects, affect emerges as key to understanding the agency that audience members exercise in a participatory artwork.
My second major project brings these interests in audience dialogue and the public sphere into a different geographic context. My current book project, This Is Not My World: Art and Public Space in Socialist Zagreb, is a study of a group of young artists (the Group of Six Authors and their circle) who in the 1970s and early 1980s created provocative art events in public city spaces in socialist Yugoslavia. The book analyzes how in 20th-century socialist Europe, public space could enable the exercise of personal creativity and the articulation of new identities, even as it functioned as a venue for the ideological assertion of the state.
I held a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada postdoc at McGill University before coming to the University of Washington in 2015. My teaching at UW encompasses introductory to advanced courses that familiarize students with the extant narratives of art history of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, while also empowering them to challenge those stories and explore beyond their boundaries. I greatly value the role of student dialogue in the classroom and am committed to ongoing experimentation concerning how to make that dialogue as useful, exciting, and accessible as possible.
I have published other articles on global contemporary art in journals including Representations, Camera Obscura, Third Text, TDR, Art Journal, and Performance Research.