Branden W. Joseph

Branden W. Joseph

Modern and Contemporary Art and Theory
Ph.D., Harvard University, 1999


Branden W. Joseph is the Frank Gallipoli Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art.  Affiliated with Columbia’s Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS) and Center for Comparative Media (CCM), his research interests include pop art; minimal sculpture; experimental film and film installations; popular, experimental, and minimal music; performance art; paranormal photography; and critical and media theory.  He was a founding editor of Grey Room, an academic journal of the history and theory of architecture, art, media, and politics, published quarterly by MIT Press since the fall of 2000.  He is the author of five books: Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-Avant-Garde (MIT Press, 2003; French translation Éditions (SIC), 2012); Anthony McCall: The Solid Light Films and Related Works (Northwestern University Press, 2005); Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage (Zone Books, 2008; featured in Artforum “Best of 2008” and Frieze Magazine “Ideal Syllabus”); The Roh and the Cooked: Tony Conrad and Beverly Grant in Europe (August, 2012); and Experimentations: John Cage in Music, Art, and Architecture (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016).  He is also the editor of OCTOBER Files: Robert Rauschenberg (MIT Press, 2002); Kim Gordon, Is It My Body? Selected Texts (Sternberg, 2014); and Carolee Schneemann, Uncollected Texts (Primary Information, 2018).

Joseph has also published widely in the disciplines of contemporary art history, cinema studies, and musicology in such venues as OCTOBER, Artforum, Grey Room, Tacet: Experimental Music Review, Texte zur Kunst, Parkett, and Les Cahiers du Musée national d’art modern, as well as in exhibition catalogues of institutions including: the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Australian Pavilion of the Venice Biennial; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum Brandhorst, Munich; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the LUMA Foundation, Zurich; the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig (MUMOK), Vienna; the Tate Gallery, London; the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Montreal Fine Arts Museum; the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina (MADRE), Naples; the DIA Art Foundation, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), Los Angeles; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; BankART1929, Yokohama; and the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan.

Joseph is co-curator of Copy Machine Manifestos: Artists Who Make Zines at the Brooklyn Museum, the first historical exhibition of the artists’ zine as a medium and genre, covering five decades of work in North America by nearly 100 artists, which opened in November 2023 and travels to the Vancouver Art Gallery in May of 2024. He was also curator of Disparate Visual Facts (Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York, 2023), consulting curator on the large-scale, traveling retrospective Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Painting (Museum der Moderne, Salzburg; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main; and MoMA PS1, New York, 2015-2018), and co-curator of Tony Oursler, UFOs, and Effigies (Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery, Columbia, 2013).

Joseph was a 2018-2019 Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of the Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award (Lenfest Teaching Award) in 2018.  His research has additionally been funded by a Paul Mellon Visiting Senior Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), National Gallery of Art (2019); a Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Collaborative Grant (2017); a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Art Writers Grant (2009); a Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Fellowship (2008); and a Berlin Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin (2005).

Selected Publications


Experimentations: John Cage in Music, Art, and Architecture. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016.

The Roh and the Cooked: Tony Conrad and Beverly Grant in Europe. Berlin: August Verlag, 2012.

Random Order. Robert Rauschenberg et la néo-avant-garde (with new preface).
Trans. Anaël Lejeune, Olivier Mignon, Raphaël Pirenne.
Brussels: Éditions (SIC), collection Continental drift, 2012.

Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage. New York: Zone Books, 2008.

Anthony McCall: The Solid Light Films and Related Works. Text, Branden W. Joseph; interview with the artist, Jonathan Walley; ed., Christopher Eamon. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press/Göttingen: Steidl, 2005.

Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-Avant-Garde. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003.  Paperback edition, 2007.

Copy Machine Manifestos: Artists Who Make Zines. (with Drew Sawyer)  New York: Phaidon and Brooklyn Museum, 2023.

Carolee SchneemannUncollected Texts. Brooklyn: Primary Information, 2018.

Kim Gordon, Is It My Body? Selected Texts (ed. and intro.). Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2014.

Robert Rauschenberg (ed. and preface). Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002.  Essays by Leo Steinberg, Rosalind Krauss, Douglas Crimp, Helen Molesworth, and Branden W. Joseph.

Grey Room (founding editor).


Broadway Central Narco Moon: Jack Smith and Illegality.”  In MAY 20 (2021), 59-69.

Something One Recognizes Yet Can’t See: Andy Warhol in and as Media.”  Grey Room 77 (Fall 2019), pp. 6-37.

Introduction: Voyages in Cloudland,” in Carolee Schneemann, Uncollected Texts, ed. Branden W. Joseph (Brooklyn, NY: Primary Information, 2018), pp. 7-22.

White Light/White Noise.”  In Andy Warhol: Before and After.  Ed. Donna de Salvo.  New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2018, pp. 42-53.

Knowledge, Painting, Abstraction, and Desire.”  In Hilma af Klint: Seeing is Believing.  Eds. Kurt Almqvist and Louise Belfrage.  London: Koenig Books, 2017, pp. 117-123.

Nose-to-Nose with a Mutant: UFO Photography.”  In Imponderable: The Archives of Tony Oursler.  Zurich: LUMA Foundation, 2015, pp. 495-501.

Unclear Tendencies: Carolee Schneemann’s Aesthetics of Ambiguity.”  In Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Painting.  Ed. Sabine Breitwieser.  Salzburg: Museum der Modern, 2015, pp. 26-43. 

Biomusic.”  Grey Room 45: “Special Issue: On Brainwashing: Mind Control, Media, and Warfare,” ed. Andreas Killen and Stefan Andriopoulos (Fall 2011), pp. 128-150.

Across an Invisible Line: A Conversation about Music and Torture.”  With Suzanne G. Cusick.  Grey Room 42 (Winter 2011), pp. 6-21.

1962.”  October 132: “Andy Warhol: A Special Issue,” ed. Benjamin H.D. Buchloh (Spring 2010), pp. 114-134.

Future Anterior: History and Speculation in the Work of Angela Bulloch.”  In Grey Room 32 (Summer 2008), pp. 114-142.

The Tower and the Line: Toward a Genealogy of Minimalism.”  Grey Room 27 (Spring 2007), pp. 58-81.

The Gap and the Frame” [Robert Rauschenberg and photography].  October 117 (Summer 2006), pp. 44-70.

Interview with Paolo Virno.”  Grey Room 21 (Fall 2005), pp. 26-37.