About Professor Christ
John Christ studies the history of modern and contemporary art, primarily of North America. His research and teaching are motivated by his desire to better understand the ways in which art and visual culture circulate in the broader social sphere. He examines the function of art as a catalyst for public dialogue and political change, the relationship between public art and regional development, and the role of the artist in fostering collaboration and interactivity. These interests have motivated his investigations of the paintings of Stuart Davis and Willem de Kooning, his teaching of courses in both art history and cultural studies, as well as his ongoing research into the ways in which public spaces are created, destroyed, and altered by both artists and communities as they seek representation in the built environment.
Selected Publications and Presentations
“Stuart Davis as Public Artist: American Painting and the Reconstruction of the Public Sphere,” Oxford Art Journal 37, no. 1 (March 2014).
“Stuart Davis and the Politics of Experience,” American Art 22, no. 2 (Summer 2008).
“A Short Guide to the Art of Dining, Slumming, Touring, Wildlife and Women for Hire in New York’s Chinatown and Chinese Restaurants,” Oxford Art Journal 26, no. 2 (Fall 2003).
“Bodies in Heat: A Discussion of Pia Lindman’s Sauna Projects,” Rethinking Marxism 15, no. 2 (April 2003).
“Collaboration and Collectivity in Search of a Model: Free and Open Source Art,” Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association annual conference, New Orleans, LA, 2015.
“Resiting History in Lowell, Massachusetts: The Role of Public Art in Articulating Place and Imagining the Public,” Wellesley Deerfield Symposium, “Outside the Gallery: Public Sculpture in New England,” Deerfield, MA, 2015.
“The Ruination of Painting: Willem de Kooning’s Decomposition of History, Identity, and Art,” Space Between Society annual conference, London, England, 2014.
“The Aesthetic Control of the City: The Case of Tompkins Square at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,” Association for the Interdisciplinary Study of Social Imagery annual conference, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 2013.
“Picturing Television in Interwar America: Imagining the Future of Visual Experience,” Space Between Society annual conference, Chicago, Illinois, 2013.
“A Municipal Art Gallery and Center for New York City: A Story of Cultural Patronage, Class Interest, and the Quest for Cultural Democracy,” Space Between Society annual conference, Montreal, Canada, 2011.
“Modernist Painting and Cosmopolitan Experience in Depression-Era America: From Progressive Internationalism to a New Nationalism.” New England American Studies Association annual conference, Lowell, MA, 2009.
“Davis, Benton, and the Struggle to Define American Experience.” College Art Association annual conference; Boston, MA; 2006.
Courses Taught at PSU
Art History Foundations, 12 Monuments
Art History Foundations, Visual Culture
20/21: Art Since 1900
Contemporary Art Seminar
Arts of the United States
Public Art: The Politics of Visual Meaning