Katherine Guinness

is a theorist and historian of contemporary art. 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). As of 2023, she will be a Lecturer of Art History at the University of Queensland. 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. She is 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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A deep analysis of an enigmatic artist whose oeuvre opens new spaces for understanding feminism, the body, and identity

Utilizing a wide range of historical and popular knowledge, Katherine Guinness gives us the ever-branching readings that Rosemarie Trockel’s art requires. With a spirit for pursuing the surprising and the obscure, Guinness delves deep into a creator who is largely seen as an enigma, revealing Trockel as a thinker who challenges and transforms the possibilities of bodily representation and identity.

Recipient of the College Art Association (CAA) Millard Meiss Publication Fund Award, Spring 2019

Popular and pioneering as a conceptual artist, Rosemarie Trockel has never before been examined at length in a dedicated book. This volume fills that gap while articulating a new interpretation of feminist theory and bodily identity based around the idea of schizogenesis central to Trockel’s work.

Schizogenesis is a fission-like form of asexual reproduction in which new organisms are created but no original is left behind. Author Katherine Guinness applies it in surprising and insightful ways to the career of an artist who has continually reimagined herself and her artistic vision. Drawing on the philosophies of feminists such as Simone de Beauvoir, Shulamith Firestone, and Monique Wittig, Guinness argues that Trockel’s varied output of painting, fabric, sculpture, film, and performance is best seen as opening a space that is peculiarly feminist yet not contained by dominant articulations of feminism.

Utilizing a wide range of historical and popular knowledge—from Baader Meinhof to Pinocchio, poodles, NASA, and Brecht—Katherine Guinness gives us the associative and ever-branching readings that Trockel’s art requires. With a spirit for pursuing the surprising and the obscure, Guinness delves deep into a creator who is largely seen as an enigma, revealing Trockel as a thinker who challenges and transforms the possibilities of bodily representation and identity.

Published by the University of Minnesota Press

$30.00 paper ISBN 978-1-5179-0558-3
$120.00 cloth ISBN 978-1-5179-0557-6
232 pages, 44 b&w photos, 6 x 8, 2019

You can purchase Schizogenesis from the University of Minnesota Press or Amazon.

The dizzying effect of Trockel’s art plays out across Guinness’s well-crafted writing in ways that are illuminating and will certainly shape any future study on the artist. There is no question that hers is among the most attentive readings of Trockel’s work to date. Indeed, Trockel’s sphinxlike intricacy has met its match in the sharpness of Guinness’s scrutiny and scholarship.

Heather Diack, Associate Professor, Department of Art and Art History, University of Miami, in caa.reviews [full review can be found here]

Rather than merely offering a dry recounting of Rosemarie Trockel's career, sprinkled occasionally with analyses of key artworks, Schizogenesis uses the occasion of scholars' and critics' perplexity as an invitation to perform—imaginatively and enthrallingly—the associative and ever-branching readings which Trockel's art beckons.

Jane Blocker, author of Becoming Past: History in Contemporary Art

Katherine Guinness’s guiding concept of schizogenesis ingeniously frames Rosemarie Trockel’s multilayered practice in terms of split production and rapid regeneration, metaphors of procreation that simultaneously evoke destruction and violence. Written in lively, witty prose, this book does justice to Trockel’s complex works by thinking of them as ‘theoretical objects’ that demand Guinness’s extended, probing analyses.

Gregory H. Williams, author of Permission to Laugh: Humor and Politics in Contemporary German Art