Charles P. Stevenson Chair of Art History and Humanities, Bard College and CCS Bard
Academic Program Affiliation(s): Art History, Center for Curatorial Studies
Biography:Kobena Mercer is a British art historian and writer whose scholarship cuts across the fields of art history, Black studies, and cultural studies. He comes to Bard from Yale University, where he was Professor in History and Art and African American Studies and taught courses that examined African American, Caribbean, and Black British artists with critical methods from cultural studies. His groundbreaking first book, Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies (1994), brought a Black British perspective to cultural forms—ranging from hairstyles and dress to music and photography—that arose from the volatile transformations of the 1980s. He also authored studies of the artists Romare Bearden, Adrian Piper, Isaac Julien, James Van Der Zee, and Rotimi Fani-Kayode. His 2016 essay collection, Travel & See: Black Diaspora Art Practices since the 1980s, addresses the contributions of Black artists to art’s transformation in an age of globalization, covering the years 1992 to 2012. His forthcoming book, Alain Locke and the Visual Arts, will be published by Yale University Press in 2022. Professor Mercer also edited and introduced Stuart Hall’s The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation (2017), and was the editor of the Annotating Art’s Histories series of anthologies, published by MIT Press, which included the titles Cosmopolitan Modernisms (2005), Discrepant Abstraction (2006), Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures (2007), and Exiles, Diasporas & Strangers (2008). He has also contributed to exhibition catalogues for Wilfredo Lam at Centre Pompidou, Frank Bowling at Haus der Kunst, and Adrian Piper at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, among others. Mercer has also taught at New York University; University of California Santa Cruz; and Goldsmiths College, University of London, where he earned his PhD. Additional areas of interest include psychoanalysis, gender and sexuality, queer studies, photography, and globalization.
BA, Saint Martin’s School of Art; PhD, Goldsmiths, University of London. At Bard since 2021.
Location: Center for Curatorial Studies