Brian Leahy

Brian T. Leahy primarily works on the relationship between contemporary art, economics, and the democratic imaginary, especially during the 1980s. Current research topics include issues of representation in contemporary art in relation to the visual culture of global warming and the temporalities of glaciers; the history of art in Ireland, focusing on intra-European colonialism, transatlantic migration, racialization(s) of the Irish in the United States, and contemporary Irish economic policy; material strategies in the work of Charles Ray; and the durational performances of Tehching Hsieh in the context of Reagan-era economic policy and the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Ongoing interests include durational performance forms; institutional critique; conceptual and post-conceptual art; issues of center, periphery, and belatedness in contemporary art; rhetorics of criticality and legitimation in contemporary art; art and activism; failure and laziness; theories of history and alternative temporalities; ambiguous artistic strategies such as parafiction, market complicity, social practice, personas, and art historical intervention; experimental art history; and contemporary painting. His research has been supported by a Mellon Cluster Fellowship in Rhetoric and Public Culture at Northwestern, as well as a Graduate Fellowship from the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art History, Theory and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he earned his MA while working as a Graduate Curatorial Assistant in the Sullivan Galleries. He holds a BA in studio art and religious studies from Davidson College, and is a practicing artist.