Jennifer Gonzalez

Jennifer Gonzalez

Associate Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture
UC Santa Cruz
Research Interests: 


Jennifer Gonzalez writes about contemporary art with an emphasis on installation art, digital art and activist art. She is interested in understanding the strategic use of space (exhibition space, public space, virtual space) by contemporary artists and by cultural institutions such as museums. More specifically, she has focused on the representation of the human body and its relation to discourses of race and gender.


Artists over the past two decades have used installation art to represent their concerns about history, identity and memory. Installation art and museum display practices have become mutually influential; many artists have been invited to produce original art projects inside museums or using museum exhibition techniques. Gonzalez’s research has lead to a book project on the work of contemporary artists who use installation art as a way to stage a critical assessment of race politics in the United States.


In addition to installation art, Jennifer Gonzalez has written on contemporary digital art and specifically on the visual representation of the body. Several of her articles and book chapters focus on the cyborg body or the hybrid body as both symptoms of and metaphors for cultural transformation. The visual representation of new forms of corporeality often signal a utopian hope or distopic unease with new technologies and imaginary futures.

Education and Training: 
B.A., Yale University
Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz
Selected Publications: 


Subject to Display: Reframing Race in Contemporary Installation Art (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008). Finalist for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, College Art Association

Articles and Book Chapters

"The Face and the Public: Race, Secrecy and Digital Art Practice," in Camera Obscura 70, Vol. 24, No. 1 (2009): 37-65.

Christian Marclay: Overtures,” in Christian Marclay (London: Phaidon Press, 2005)

“Electronic Habitus: Agit-prop in an imaginary world,” in Visual Worlds, John R. Hall, Blake Stimson and Lisa Tamiris Becker, eds., (New York: Routledge, 2003)

“Morphologies: Race as Visual Technology” in Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self (New York: International Center of Photography, 2003)

“Paul Pfeiffer” in Bomb, Spring 2002, Issue 83: 22-29

“Landing in California” in Art/Women/California 1950-2000: Parallels and Intersections, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 219-240

“Against the Grain: The Artist as Conceptual Materialist” in Fred Wilson: Objects and Installations 1979-2000 (Baltimore: Center for Art and Visual Culture,University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2000)

"The Appended Subject: Race and Identity as Digital Assemblage,” in Race in Cyberspace, Beth Kolko, Lisa Nakamura, Gil Rodman, eds., (New York: Routledge, 2000)

Selected Presentations: 


Invited speaker for conference "What Ever Happened to Net Art?," Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden (December)


Invited speaker for symposium "Visual and Cultural Studies: The Next 20 years" University of Rochester, New York (October)


Invited speaker for series "Visualities beyond Occularcentrism," The Visual Cultures Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison (October)


Invited speaker and critic, “Race and Contemporary Digital Art,” Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, M.D. (June)


Invited critic, The McKnight Foundation, Minneapolis, MN (May)


Invited speaker “Renée Green and Genealogical History” 20th Anniversary Porter Colloquium on African American Art, Howard University, Washington, D.C. (April)



Invited Speaker, “Latino Voices” Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C. (October)


Invited Speaker, Guggenheim Museum, “Identity and its Aftermaths,” scholars panel for the Catherine Opie exhibition (October)


Invited Speaker, The Cooper Union, “The Face and the Public,” interdisciplinary lecture series (October)


Invited workshop participant, Networking Visual Culture Project, 2008 hosted by the Institute for Multimedia Literacy at the University of Southern California, funded by the Mellon Foundation (May)


Invited speaker, “Activist Art and the work of Emory Douglas” San Francisco Art Institute, Visiting Artists and Scholars Series (April)


Invited Speaker, “Phantom Sites: Rethinking Identity and Place in Contemporary Art,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art Public Symposium (April)


Invited Speaker, “Enrique Chagoya and the Dialectic of Power,” Berkeley Art Museum scholars panel (March)

Honors and Awards: 

Joanne Cassullo Teaching Fellow, Independent Study Program, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2002, 2004, 2007)

Andrew Wyeth Publication Grant, College Art Association

President’s Research Fellowship in the Humanities, University of California

American Council of Learned Societies Junior Fellowship