Katherine Guinness

is a theorist and historian of contemporary art. She is Assistant Professor of Critical Studies in the Department of Art at the University of Maryland, College Park. Previously, she was Assistant Professor and Director of Art History at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS), where she also served as the academic director of the downtown Gallery of Contemporary Art (or GOCA). She received her PhD from the University of Manchester and is the author of the first academic monograph on German artist Rosemarie Trockel, Schizogenesis, which was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2019, and is co-author of The Influencer Factory: A Marxist Theory of Corporate Personhood on YouTube, which was published by Stanford University Press in 2024. She has been a guest editor for Art Journal Open and is the co-founder of FEARS, the Female Emerging Artist Residency Series, at UCCS.

Katherine has taught in a wide range of departments and programs across the globe, including the University of Sydney (where she taught a class in “Digital Arts” in their Digital Cultures program), the University of New South Wales (where she taught Architectural History), North Carolina State University (where she taught in their Art History and Women’s and Gender Studies programs), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (where she taught a number of First Year Seminars in Art History). She is interested in many topics within contemporary art, all of which she examines with a feminist lens, and is currently working on projects that include: the relation between anesthetics and the history of aesthetic theory; “zaniness” in contemporary Australian performance and video art; death, immortality and digital media in the work of a number of younger video artists; and a project on the political economy and visual culture of social media influencers.

The above image is a meme by @cyborg.asm on Instagram, referencing the article “Do You Really Want to Live Forever,” which was coauthored with Grant Bollmer. The original meme can be found here and the article can be found here.

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Some of the things Katherine has done as part of her teaching.

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The Department of Homeland Obscurity (DOHO)

The Department of Homeland Obscurity is a Guerrilla Girls-inspired activist, feminist art collective which emerged from a course on “Feminist Art History before the 1800s.” In its creation, it engaged with interventionist actions such as the designing and wheatpasting of posters drawing attention to the gendered politics of art history, along with an institutional critique report card, which members used to evaluate local museums and galleries.

Above: Examples of student-designed posters created for DOHO, documentation (with faces obscured) of students wheatpasting the Kreuzer Gallery in Colorado Springs, and the first page of the DOHO Institutional Critique Report Card

The UCCS Letterbox

The UCCS Letterbox was a project derived from the course “Art and Ideas,” where different groups of students all advanced project proposals which would apply concepts from the class in creating a public art project. The winner, which would receive funding for its realization, was voted on by the class. The Letterbox, the winner of this competition, was designed as a public place for anonymous letters, to ideally be a mobile location in which these letters would be deposited or retrieved. While the project was realized, its installation on UCCS’s campus was delayed due to COVID-19. The letterbox’s journey can be followed on Instagram at @uccsletterbox.