Alexander Alberro

Alexander Alberro

Modern and Contemporary Art; History of Photography
Ph.D., Northwestern, 1996


Alexander Alberro’s courses and graduate advising are in modern and contemporary European, U.S., and Latin American art, as well as in the history of photography and film. Recent lecture courses include “Histories of Photography,” “Early Modernism and the Crisis of Representation,” “In and Around Abstract Expressionism,” and “Contemporary Art.” Graduate seminars taught include “Contemporary Art and Diaspora,” “Infrastructures of Contemporary Art,” “Caribbean Art,” “Photography and Camera Work,” and “Abstract Art and its Legacies in South America.” Recent dissertations directed or codirected have focused on modern and contemporary art in Iran, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria, Japan, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Professor Alberro’s writings have been published in a broad range of journals and exhibition catalogues and translated into many languages. He is also the author and editor of numerous books, including Abstraction in Reverse (2017), Working Conditions (2016), Luis Camnitzer In Conversation with Alexander Alberro (2014), What is Contemporary Art Today? (2012), John Miller: The Ruin of Exchange (2012), Institutional Critique (2009); Art After Conceptual Art (2006); Museum Highlights (2005), Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity (2003), Recording Conceptual Art (2001), Two-Way Mirror Power (1999), and Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology (1999). Professor Alberro’s book-length study, Interstices: At Contemporary Art’s Boundaries, is forthcoming with the University of Chicago Press in 2025. He is also the founding editor of the University of California Press book series “Studies on Latin American and LatinX Art,” which commissions publications on art history and cultural practices emerging from Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the Latin American diaspora.

Professor Alberro has received fellowships from, among others, the National Endowment of the Humanities, the Howard Foundation, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He has also been a featured speaker at many universities and cultural institutions worldwide and appeared in several documentary films on contemporary art.

Selected Publications

Border as Method,” in Motion: Migrations. Proceedings of the 35th World Congress of Art History, ed. Claudia Mattos Avolese (Sao Paulo, Brazil: Comite International d'Histoire de I'Art, 2023), 137-153.

Ch’ixi Epistemology and the Potosí Principle in the 21st Century,” Art Margins, 12:2 (June 2023), 18-30.

Adrian Piper: In and Out of Conceptual Art,” in Charting Space: The Cartographies of Conceptual Art , ed. Elize Mazadiego (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2023), 44-55.

"What is Radical?" ArtMargins, 10:3 (October 2021), 10-12.

Contemporary Art, Activism, and Symbolic Value,” Journal of Visual Culture (01/17/2021)

François Morellet’s Concrete Art of the 1950s,” in François Morellet, ed. Béatrice Gross (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2019), 38-45.

'Like the Skin of A Whale': The Pluri-sensorial Art of Lygia Pape,” in Lygia Pape, ed. Olivier Renaud-Clément (New York, NY: Hauser & Wirth, 2018), 8-25.

 "Sculpture Palimpsests: Michael Asher in Munster,” Out of Time, Skulptur Projekte Münster 2017 (Autumn 2016). 

To Find, To Create, To Reveal: Torres-García and the Models of Invention in Mid-1940s Rio de la Plata,” Joaquín Torres-Garcia: The Arcadian Modern (Museum of Modern Art, 2015), 106-121.

“Media, Art, and Politics in the Work of Roberto Jacoby,” October, 153 (Summer 2015), 3-13.

“Alice Creischer, Andreas Siekmann, and Max Jorge Hinderer, The Potosí Principle, 2010,” Mousse, 45:4 (2014), 21-33.

“A Messier Coherence,” Modernism/modernity, 20:2 (April 2013), 371-381.

Life Models,” Frieze, 148 (June/July/August 2012), 154-159.

“Murder, He Wrote,” John Miller: The Ruin of Exchange (JRP/Ringier, 2012), 11-19.

Picturing Relations: Images, Texts and Social Engagement in the Work of Barbara Kruger,” Barbara Kruger (Rizzoli, 2010), 193-200.

Institutions, Critique, and Institutional Critique,” Institutional Critique: An Anthology of Artists’ Writings (MIT Press, 2009), 2-19.

Periodising Contemporary Art,” Crossing Cultures: Conflict, Migration, Convergence, Proceedings of the 32nd Congress of the International Committee for the History of Art, ed. Jaynie Anderson (Melbourne University Press, 2009), 961-965.

“Mimicry, Excess, Critique,” Museum Highlights: The Collected Writings of Andrea Fraser (MIT Press, 2005), xxi-xxxvii.

“Specters of Provenance: National Loans, the Königsplatz, and Maria Eichhorn’s `Politics of Restitution’,” Grey Room, 18 (Winter 2005), 65-81.

Beauty Knows No Pain,” Art Journal, 63:2 (Summer 2004), 36-43.

“The Catalogue of Robert Smithson’s Library,” Robert Smithson, ed. Eugenie Tsai (University of California Press, 2004), 244-248.

“Meaning at the Margins: The Semiological Inversions of John Knight,” 870: John Knight (Storm King Art Center, 2002), 16-31.

“Unraveling the Seamless Totality: Christian Philipp Müller and the Reevaluation of Established Equations,” Grey Room, 6 (Spring 2002), 5-25.

“At the Threshold of Art as Information,”Recording Conceptual Art (University of California Press, 2001).

“The Fragment and the Flow: Sampling the Work of Renée Green,” Renée Green: Ombres i senyals, ed. Nuria Enguita (La Fundació Antoni Tápies, 2000), 20-43.

Blind Ambition: Andreas Gursky’s Big Picture,” Artforum International, 39:5 (January 2001), 104-114.

Reconsidering Conceptual Art, 1966-1977,” in Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology (MIT Press, 1999), xvi-xxxvii.

“Demystifying the Image: The Film and Video Work of Rodney Graham,” in Rodney Graham: Cinema Music Video, ed. Yves Gevaert (Kunsthalle Wien, 1999), 13-29, 73-87.

“A Media Art: Conceptualism in Latin America in the 1960s,” in Rewriting Conceptual Art, eds. Michael Newman and Jon Bird (Reaktion Books, 1999), 140-151, 233-236.

 “The Dialectics of Everyday Life: Martha Rosler and the Strategy of the Decoy,” Martha Rosler: Positions in the Life World, ed. Catherine De Zegher (MIT Press, 1998), 72-112.

"The Turn of the Screw: Daniel Buren, Dan Flavin, and the Sixth Guggenheim International Exhibition," October, 80 (Spring 1997), 57-84.