Photo courtesy of Mary Hanlon
Krista Thompson (Ph.D., 2002, Emory University) researches, teaches, and curates exhibitions on the history of art and visual culture in the African diaspora, with an emphasis on photography. She is author of An Eye for the Tropics: Tourism, Photography, and Framing the Caribbean Picturesque (Duke University Press, 2006). She has published in African Arts, The Art Bulletin, American Art, The Drama Review, Representations, and Small Axe. Recent publications include, "A Sidelong Glance: The Practice of African Diaspora Art History," published in Art Journal (Fall 2011) as part of the College Art Association's Centennial commemoration and essays on the art of Kehinde Wiley and on contemporary performance art in the Caribbean. Thompson teaches courses on photography in Africa and the African diaspora, critical race theory, visual cultures of colonialism and postcoloniality, art and commodification, and on modern and contemporary art and visual culture in the African diaspora and the Caribbean.
Thompson is currently working on several books. The first, Camera, Performance, and the Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice, is forthcoming from Duke University Press. The book examines the constitutive role of popular photography and video in the formation of contemporary Artican diasporic communities (concentrating on Jamaica, the Bahamas, and the United States) and their influence on contemporary art. The second book examines notions of photographic absence and disappearance in colonial and postcolonial Jamaica. An essay from this project, "The Evidence of Things Not photographed," appeared in Representations in Winter 2011. Thompson is also writing a book on the use of artificial light in African American art, which focuses on Tom Lloyd, David Hammons, and Glenn Ligon. An essay on Ligon's neon work is forthcoming in The Renaissance Society's Black Is, Black Ain't catalogue.
A recipient of a J. Paul Getty Foundation postdoctoral fellowship (2008), Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation exhibition award (2012), and American Council of Learned Societies fellowship (ACLS) (2012-2013), Thompson was awarded the David C. Driskell Prize from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia in 2009, which recognizes "original and important contributions to the field of African-American art or art history."
Krista Thompson, “A Sidelong Glance: The Practice of African Diaspora Art History in the United States.” Art Journal (Fall 2011): 6-31.
Krista Thompson, “The Evidence of Things Not Photographed: Slavery and Historical Memory in the British West Indies.” Representations 113 (Winter 2011): 39-71.
Krista Thompson & Huey Copeland, “Perpetual Returns: New World Slavery and the Matter of the Visual,” Representations 113 (Winter 2011): 1-15.
Krista Thompson, “The Sound of Light: Reflections on Art History in the Visual Culture of Hip Hop.” Art Bulletin (Dec 2009): 481-505.
Krista Thompson, "Preoccupied with Haiti: The Dream of Diaspora in African American Art, 1915-1942." American Art 21.3 (Fall 2007): 75-97.
Krista Thompson, “‘Black Skin, Blue Eyes’: Visualizing Blackness in Modern Jamaican Art, 1922-1938.” Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism 16 (September 2004): 1-32.