Faye R. Gleisser

Faye R. Gleisser

Associate Professor, Art History

Affiliate, Cultural Studies Program

Affiliate, Critical Race and Postcolonial Studies

Affiliate, the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society

• Accepting Ph.D. students


  • Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2016
  • M.A., George Washington University, 2009
  • B.A., Washington University in St. Louis, 2006

Research interests

modern and contemporary art; specialization in American art; critical race theory; urbanism and art; national imaginaries of social conflict and myth-making; art and theory of the African Diaspora; contemporary art historiography; archive theory and archival silences

Faye Gleisser (she/her) is an interdisciplinary art historian and curator of 20th and 21st century art, specializing in the history and theory of political violence, and expressions of gendered and sexualized raciality in the visual and material culture of the United States, with a special focus on photography, performance, and the art and theory of the African diaspora. Her research and teaching are situated at the intersection of three main subject areas: art and tactical intervention; the racial logics of archives; and curatorial ethics and canon formation. By bridging curation, art history, and performance studies, she investigates histories of art that challenge intertwined anti-Black societal structures and patriarchal, white-centering notions of value that have long limited the canon of “American art.” Whether studying police patrol maps to better understand the surveillance of a city block where artists once staged a performance piece, teaching a course that interrogates linear, imperialist theories of time in contemporary art, or organizing an exhibition, Dr. Gleisser approaches art as a material manifestation of sociopolitical conditions and artists as theorists of power and social encounter. In her first book, Risk Work: Making Art and Guerrilla Tactics in Punitive America, 1967-1987 (University of Chicago Press, 2023), Gleisser reveals and recasts the complex relationship between artists’ deployments of guerrilla tactics, state power, and policing in North America through close analyses of conceptual and performance art vis-a-vis photographic archives, criminal code reform, and emergent surveillance technologies. Her articles, reviews, and interviews have appeared in Art Journal, the Journal of Visual Culture, and Aperture, and a number of exhibition catalogues for shows such as The Propeller Group, Prospect.5 Triennial, and Out of Easy Reach. In her current research projects, Gleisser is exploring the intersection of representations of hormonal surges and dips, lens-based contemporary art, and the criminalizing of gestational bodies; as well as the form of artist residencies and the politics of care work that has unfolded alongside it.

Selected publications

“Thresholds of Address: Sensorial Returns to Slavery in Jacqueline Tarry and Bradley McCallum’s Topsy Turvy,” Art Journal v. 79 no. 1 (February 2020): 34-55.

“Editors’ Introduction: Armed/Unarmed: Guns in American Visual and Material Culture,” eds. Faye Gleisser and Delia Solomons, Themed Issue of journal of visual culture v. 17 no. 3 (December 2018): 263-371.

“Asco, Chris Burden, and the Politics of the Misfire,” journal of visual culture v. 17 no. 3 (December 2018): 312-331.

“How Many Licks? II (Conditioned No. 13,763),” Black One Shot series. ASAP/J. June 2018.

“Leslie Hewitt,” “Martine Syms,” and “Steffani Jemison,” Out of Easy Reach (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 28-29, 36-37, 56-7.

“The Guerrillas of Cu Chi,” “AK-47 vs. M16,” “The Dream,” and “Fade In: Ext. Storage—Cu Chi, Day...” in The Propeller Group, eds. Naomi Beckwith et al (Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, D.A.P. Art Book, 2016), 30-61.

“‘This Isn’t Charlie Rose’: The Making of On Art and Artists and the Politics of Information Distribution,” VDB Resources. Video Data Bank. May 2015.

“Kate Horsfield: The Early Years of the Video Data Bank,” VDB Resources. Video Data Bank. April 2014.

“McArthur Binion/Kavi Gupta,” Artforum International Magazine (Fall 2013): 197.

“Deconstructing Queer Space: Princess Hijab’s Graffiti Art,” New Criticals. September 2013.

“Parafictional Aesthetics in the ‘Post-Truth’ Moment,” Theorizing Visual Studies: Writing Through the Discipline, eds. James Elkins and Kristi McGuire (New York: Routledge Press, 2013), 209-212.

Awards & Honors

  • 2017: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center for American Modernism Post-doctoral Research Fellow
  • 2015-2016: Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
  • 2013-2014: American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)/Henry Luce Foundation Dissertation in American Art Fellowship

Courses taught

  • ARTH-A207 Introduction to Contemporary Art, 1960 to Tomorrow
  • ARTH-A340 Curating the Contemporary: Exhibition History and 21st c. Curatorial Ethics 
  • ARTH-A400 The Art of the Question: Undergraduate Research Senior Seminar 
  • ARTH-A404/A504 Imaging Race: 20th and 21st Century History of Photography and the Boundaries of Visual Representation 
  • ARTH-A647 Radical Resourcefulness: Artists and the City
  • ARTH-A647 Abstraction, Here and Now 
  • ARTH-A691 Contemporaneity: Contemporary Art and Theories of Temporality