Julia Bryan-Wilson

Julia Bryan-Wilson

Contemporary Art and LBGTQ+ Theory
Ph.D., UC Berkeley, 2004


Office of the Provost Faculty Profile: Julia Bryan-Wilson

Julia Bryan-Wilson (PhD, UC Berkeley, 2004) is Professor of LGBTQ+ Art History and core faculty in Columbia's Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender.  Her research interests include feminist and queer theory, theories of artistic labor, performance and dance, production/fabrication, craft histories, photography, video, visual culture of the nuclear age, and collaborative practices. She is the author of four books: Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era (University of California, 2009, named a best book of the year by the New York Times and Artforum); Art in the Making: Artists and Their Materials from the Studio to Crowdsourcing (with Glenn Adamson, Thames & Hudson, 2016); Fray: Art and Textile Politics (University of Chicago, 2017, a New York Times best art book of the year and winner of the Frank Jewett Mather Award, the Robert Motherwell Book Award, and the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present Book Prize); and Louise Nevelson’s Sculpture: Drag, Color, Join, Face (Yale, 2023).  She is the editor of OCTOBER Files: Robert Morris (MIT Press, 2013), and co-editor of three journal special issues ("Amateurism," Third Text, 2020; “Visual Activism,” Journal of Visual Culture, 2016; and “Time Zones: Durational Art in its Contexts,” Representations, 2016). 

Bryan-Wilson is Curator-at-Large at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP). Her show Louise Nevelson: Persistence, was an official Collateral Event of the Venice Biennale in 2022; and with Andrea Andersson, she curated Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen, which opened at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans in 2017 and traveled to the Berkeley Art Museum, the Henry Art Gallery, the ICA Philadelphia, and MOCA North Miami. 

A widely published critic, Bryan-Wilson’s texts have been published in AfterallArt BulletinArt JournalArtforumBookforumCamera ObscuradifferencesGrey RoomThe London Review of Books, Octoberthe Journal of Modern CraftOxford Art JournalTDR: The Drama Review, and many other venues. Her article “Invisible Products” received the 2013 Art Journal Award. 

She was a 2019-20 Guggenheim Fellow, and her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery; the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design; the Clark Art Institute; the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center; the Getty Research Institute; the Henry Moore Institute; the International Center for Writing and Translation; the Mellon Foundation; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Smithsonian Archives of American Art; the Terra Foundation; and the Townsend Center for the Humanities, among others.  She was an inaugural recipient of the Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and has won several awards for her teaching and mentoring. She was the Terra Foundation Visiting Professor of American Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art in Spring 2014, and in 2018-19 she was the Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor at Williams College. In 2023-24 she will be a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar.