Goldabelle McComb Finn Distinguished Professor of Art History (2005); BA with Highest Honors, 1995, Oberlin College; PhD, 2002, Northwestern University. Awards: Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Queen Mary University of London; Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts; Clark Fellowship, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute; Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellowship, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts; Honorary Visiting Professorship, University of York; Getty Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship; Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship (Dartmouth College); Paul Mellon Centre Postdoctoral Fellowship; Kress Fellowship (Courtauld Institute of Art); SAIC Faculty Member of the Year (2007), SAIC Jean Goldman Book Prize (2015); Lambda Literary Awards Finalist (2017).


See personal website for further publications, PDFs, and full c.v. Further downloads can also be found on

Books and Edited Collections/Volumes:

  1. Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2015). Introduction [PDF].
  2. (ed.) Queer, Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary Art Series (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2016). Introduction [PDF]. 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards finalist for "Best LGBTQ Anthology" (2017)
  3. (co-ed.) Trans Cultural Production, special issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 1.4 (November 2014), co-edited with Julian B. Carter and Trish Salah
  4. (ed.) Scott Burton: Collected Writings on Art and Performance, 1965–1975 (Soberscove Press, 2012). Introduction [PDF]. Winner of SAIC's 2015 Jean Goldman Book Prize
  5. (ed.) From Diversion to Subversion: Games, Play, and Twentieth Century Art (Penn State University Press, 2011)
  6. Rodin: Sex and the Making of Modern Sculpture (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2010)
  7. Body Doubles: Sculpture in Britain, 1877–1905 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004)
  8. (ed.) Sculpture and the Pursuit of a Modern Ideal in Britain, c.1880–1930 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004)

Selected journal articles and catalogue essays:

  1. Abstract Bodies and Otherwise: A Conversation with Amelia Jones and David Getsy on Gender and Sexuality in the Writing of Art History,” (posted 16 February 2018)
  2. Rubbish and Dreams: The Genderqueer Performance Art of Stephen Varble‌,” The Archive [of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art] 62 (Winter 2017): 3-7.
  3. "Queer Relations," ASAP/Journal 2.2, special issue: "Queer Form" (May 2017): 254–57
  4. "Seeing Commitments: Jonah Groeneboer's Ethics of Discernment," Temporary Art Review (8 March 2016)
  5. "Histories for the Future: Visionary Identification in the Work of Carlos Motta," Carlos Motta: Deviations, exh. cat. (New York: P.P.O.W., 2016)
  6. "Generativity: On Michelle Grabner's Recent Sculpture," in Michelle Grabner: Bronze (New York: James Cohan Gallery, 2016), 4–11
  7. "Appearing Differently: Abstraction's Transgender and Queer Capacities, David J. Getsy in conversation with William J. Simmons," in Dietmar Schwärzler, et al., eds., Pink Labour on Golden Streets: Queer Art Practices (Vienna: Schriftenreihe of the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, and Sternberg Press, 2015), 38–55.
  8. "Acts of Stillness: Statues, Performativity, and Passive Resistance," Criticism 56.1 (Spring 2014), 1-20.
  9. "Exalting the Unremarkable: Van Gogh's Poet's Garden and Gauguin's Bedroom," in Gloria Groom, ed., Van Gogh's Bedrooms, exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2016), 36–49.
  10. "The Image of Becoming: Cassils's Allegories of Transformation," in Cassils, exh. cat. (Eindhoven: MU Eindhoven, 2015), 6–19.
  11. "Laying it Down: Heroic Reclining Men and Other Tactical Inversions," in Eugenie Tsai, et al., eds., Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, exh. cat. (Brooklyn: Brooklyn Museum of Art, 2015), 94–99
  12. "Catherine Opie, Portraiture, and the Decoy of the Iconographic," in Confronting the Abject: Catherine Opie, Stephanie Sick Distinguished Visiting Professorship Monograph Series (Chicago: School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2015), 15–37.
  13. "Capacity," TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 1.1, special issue: "Post-posttransexual: Terms for a 21st Century Transgender Studies" (Spring 2014): 47–49.
  14. "Queer Formalisms: Jennifer Doyle and David Getsy in Conversation," Art Journal 73.4 (Winter 2013)
  15. "Queer Exercises: Amber Hawk Swanson's Performances of Self-Realization," GLQ 19.4 (Fall 2013): 465–85.
  16. "Playing in the Sand with Picasso: Relief Sculpture as Game in the Summer of 1930," in D. Getsy, ed., From Diversion to Subversion: Games, Play, and Twentieth Century Art (Penn State Univ. Press, 2011), 80–93.
  17. "Mourning, Yearning, Cruising: Ernesto Pujol's Memorial Gestures," PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 90 (September 2008): 11–24.
  18. "Tactility or Opticality, Henry Moore or David Smith: Herbert Read and Clement Greenberg on the Art of Sculpture, 1956," Sculpture Journal 17.2 (2008) reprinted in R. Peabody, ed., Anglo-American Exchange in Postwar Sculpture, 1945–1975 (Getty Museum, 2011).
  19. "Recognizing the Homoerotic: The Uses of Intersubjectivity in John Addington Symonds's 1887 Essays on Art," Visual Culture in Britain 8.1 (Spring 2007): 37–57.
  20. "Fallen Women: The Gender of Horizontality and the Abandonment of the Pedestal by Giacometti and Epstein," in A. Gerstein, ed., Display and Displacement (Holberton, 2007), 114–29.
  21. "Privileging the Object of Sculpture: Actuality and Harry Bates's Pandora of 1890," Art History 28.1 (February 2005): 74–95.

Recent Curatorial Projects

  1. Rubbish and Dreams: The Genderqueer Performance Art of Stephen Varble‌, retrospective exhibition curated for the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York (29 September 2018–27 January 2019)
  2. Jared Buckhiester: Love Me Tender, exhibition curated for the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division, New York (15 September–12 November 2017)

Recent and Upcoming Lectures

Wadsworth Atheneum (2018), Virginia Commonwealth University (2018), Hallwalls/University at Buffalo (2018), Rodin Centenary Lecture at the Rodin Museum/Philadelphia Museum of Art (2017), Institute for LGBT Studies, University of Arizona (2017), University of Chicago (2017), University of York (2017), University of Sussex (2017), Queen Mary University of London (2017), University of Wisconsin at Madison (2016), Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (2016), Bard Center for Curatorial Studies (2016), Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016), Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2016), Rice University (2016), the Edwin Weisl Lecture in the Arts at Carleton College (2016), National Gallery of Art (2015 and 2011), Yale University School of Art (2015), San Francisco Art Institute (2015), the Annual William Johnson Lecture at Elmhurst College (2015), Thessaloniki Biennial (2015), Art Basel Miami (2015), Center for Italian Modern Art (2015), University of Illinois (2015), Art Institute of Chicago (2015), Block Museum of Art (2015 and 2016), Smart Museum of Art (2014), and the inaugural Pamela Simpson Lecture in the History of Art at Washington & Lee University (2013).


  1. Review of Abstract Bodies, Art Journal (Winter 2016)
  2. "Beyond the Wall: Body, Gender, Sexuality, and Art. A Conversation with David Getsy" [English translation], Exibart (March 2017). Originally published in Italian.
  3. "Spotlight: David Getsy," Lvl3 Media (28 March 2017)
  4. "An Anthology of Queer Art Theory Puts Artists First," (26 May 2016)
  5. "Queer Art Lives!" i-D / Amuse (1 April 2016)
  6. "Transgender Studies Joins Forces with Art History in New Book from Chicagoan," Windy City Times (2 March 2016)
  7. Lecture on Abstract Bodies and Contemporary Art given at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2016
  8. "The Best Thing We Saw At Art Basel Was This Transgender Visibility Panel with Juliana Huxtable," (15 December 2015)
  9. Named Newcity's "Best of Chicago 2014" issue as "Best Advocate for Queer Theory in Art"
  10. Single-question interview for Chicago Magazine (March 2014), which in turn became the basis for a 2015 group exhibition at the gallery Western Exhibitions in Chicago.
  11. Art's Hit Makers: The C Notes Power List 2013, by Jason Foumberg, Chicago Magazine (February 2013).
  12. Featured in the documentary HEAARTBEAT: John Chamberlain, dir. Alexandra Fairweather (2012).

Personal Statement

My scholarly work has been informed by over a decade of teaching at SAIC in a research-oriented academic department in an art school context. I teach and write about modern and contemporary art in Europe and America from the late nineteenth century to the present, and my emphasis has been on art's histories of the human form and its alternatives. The questions I ask of the history of art are developed from engagements with the interdisciplinary fields of transgender studies, queer studies, game studies, and performance studies.

From my work on 19th-century sculptors such as Auguste Rodin to my research on contemporary art and performance, a central concern has been the ways in which artists have used sexuality as a resource in their development of public modes of practice, pluralistic accounts of sociality, and accessible artistic vocabularies. Similarly, my research draws from transgender studies as a means to excavate the competing accounts of personhood that underwrote histories of figuration and abstraction. This is the theme of my last book Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender, which is the first book-length study in art history to engage extensively with the field of transgender studies. I am currently working on two major projects: first, a monograph on Scott Burton's performance art of the 1970s, sexuality, and the emergence of new modes of public art in the late twentieth century. Second, I am preparing an exhibition on the largely forgotten career of Stephen Varble, who staged genderqueer guerrilla performances in the streets of 1970s New York.

Thesis Advisees

  • Brian T. Leahy (MA 2015): Art Without Work: Tehching Hsieh's No Art Piece and the Ethics of Laziness
  • Julie Warchol (MA 2015): "Modeling with Light": Clarence Kennedy's Photographic Sculpture, 1924-1940
  • Ionit Behar (MA 2013): The Value in Context: Michael Asher’s Displacements in Chicago, 1979 and 2005"
  • Kate Pollasch (Dual 2013): Roger Brown’s Paintings and the Shadows of Sexuality, 1972-1977


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.