Joan Kee, Associate Professor (History of Art, University of Michigan), focuses on modern and contemporary art from multiregional and crossdisciplinary perspectives. She has published on such topics as mid-18th century Chosŏn landscape painting, socialist ink painting in Maoist China and performance art in Singapore. Her first book discussed the emergence of Tansaekhwa, a loose constellation of Korean abstract paintings first exhibited in the 1960s and 70s that underscored the potential and limits of materiality in the face of various social and political pressures. Drawing upon her experiences practicing and writing about law, Kee’s second book addresses how artists engaged with U.S. law from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s, when significant legal changes affected both everyday life and contemporary art. A related project explores how methods of interpretation employed in the discipline of art history might be productively applied to legal cases requiring close visual analysis.
Kee has also co-edited publications on the topics of size and scale in art history as well as contemporary Southeast Asian art. Future projects include a critical assessment of the place and function of abstraction for an influential coterie of artists working in and through Southeast Asia, case studies of Afro-Asian artistic collaboration in the U.S. and the legal implications of emoticons and emojis.
Kee is a contributing editor to Artforum and an editorial board member of the journal Art Margins.
Reception to follow.