Photograph by LaMont Hamilton
Huey Copeland (Ph.D., History of Art, University of California, Berkeley, 2006) is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in The Graduate School and Associate Professor of Art History with affiliations in the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program and the Department of African American Studies. His writing—which has been translated into French, German, and Spanish—focuses on modern and contemporary art with an emphasis on articulations of blackness in the Western visual field. A Contributing Editor of Artforum, Copeland has also published in Art Journal, Callaloo, Camera Obscura, Nka, Parkett, Qui Parle, Representations, and Small Axe as well as in numerous international exhibition catalogues and edited volumes, such as the award-winning Modern Women: Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art, edited by Cornelia Butler and Alexandra Schwartz.
Notable among Copeland’s publications is Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America, a book funded by a Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program Grant and published by the University of Chicago Press. Focused on the work of Renée Green, Glenn Ligon, Lorna Simpson, and Fred Wilson, this project considers how slavery shaped American art in the last decades of the twentieth century in order to argue for a reorientation of modern and contemporary art history where the subject of race is concerned. At present, Copeland is at work on a new book, In the Shadow of the Negress: A Brief History of Modern Artistic Practice, which explores the constitutive role played by fictions of black womanhood in Western art from the nineteenth century to the present. He has also begun refining a companion volume—tentatively entitled Touched by the Mother: Contemporary Artists, Black Masculinities, and the Ends of the American Century—that brings together many of his new and previously published critical essays.
Copeland’s various research interests are reflected by his interdisciplinary course offerings, which range from the graduate seminar “The ‘Global’ 1960s,” to an introductory survey focused on European and American modernisms. Alongside his work as a teacher, critic, scholar, and administrator, he has co-curated exhibitions such as Interstellar Low Ways (with Anthony Elms), co-organized international conferences like “Black Collectivities” (with Naomi Beckwith), and co-edited several journal volumes, including “New World Slavery and the Matter of the Visual” (with Krista Thompson). An alumnus of the 2003 Whitney Independent Study Program and the 2013 Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism, Copeland has received support from the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center for American Modernism, the Program of African Studies, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
Huey Copeland, Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013).
Huey Copeland, "Painting After All: A Conversation with Mark Bradford," Callaloo 37.4 (Fall 2014): 814-826.
Huey Copeland, “Dark Mirrors: Theaster Gates and Ebony,” Artforum 52.2, October 2013, 222-229.
Huey Copeland, "Photography, the Archive, and the Question of Feminist Form: A Conversation with Zoe Leonard," Camera Obscura 83 (Fall 2013): 176-189.
Huey Copeland, “Feasting on Scraps,” Small Axe 38 (July 2012): 198-212.
Huey Copeland,“Mal d’Anthologie: Clifford Owens and the Crises of African American Performance Art,” Clifford Owens: Anthology (New York: MoMA PS1, 2012), 15-30.
Huey Copeland & Krista Thompson, "Perpetual Returns: New World Slavery and the Matter of the Visual," Representations 113 (Winter 2011): 1-15.
Huey Copeland, “In the Wake of the Negress,” in Modern Women: Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art, ed. Cornelia Butler and Alexandra Schwartz (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2010), 480-497.
Huey Copeland, “Figures and Grounds: The Art of Barkley L. Hendricks,” Artforum 47.8, April 2009, 142-149.
Huey Copeland, “‘Bye, Bye Black Girl’: Lorna Simpson’s Figurative Retreat,” Art Journal 64.2 (Summer 2005): 62-77; reprinted in Le Magazine Jeu de Paume, 8 May 2013