Interim Dean of Graduate Studies and Goldabelle McComb Finn Distinguished Professor of Art History (2005); BA with Highest Honors, 1995, Oberlin College; PhD, 2002, Northwestern University. Awards: 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)


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)
  2. (ed.) Queer, Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary Art Series (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, forthcoming Spring 2016)
  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 published and forthcoming essays:

  1. "Acts of Stillness: Statues, Performativity, and Passive Resistance," Criticism 56.1 (Spring 2014)
  2. "Seeing Commitments: Jonah Groeneboer's Ethics of Discernment," Temporary Art Review (8 March 2016)
  3. "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.
  4. "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.
  5. "The Image of Becoming: Heather Cassils's Allegories of Transformation," in Cassils, exh. cat. (Eindhoven: MU Eindhoven, 2015), 6–19.
  6. "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
  7. "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.
  8. "Capacity," TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 1.1, special issue: "Post-posttransexual: Terms for a 21st Century Transgender Studies" (Spring 2014): 47–49.
  9. "Queer Formalisms: Jennifer Doyle and David Getsy in Conversation," Art Journal 73.4 (Winter 2013)
  10. "Sculpture Since 1960" in M. Kelly, ed., The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, second edition (Oxford University Press, 2014), 5:529–34.
  11. "Queer Exercises: Amber Hawk Swanson's Performances of Self-Realization," GLQ 19.4 (Fall 2013): 465–85.
  12. "Preposterous Parts: Nancy Grossman's Relief Assemblages, 1965–1967," in I. Berry, ed., Nancy Grossman: Tough Life Diary, exh. cat (Prestel Verlag and Tang Museum of Art, 2012), 52–65.
  13. "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.
  14. "Mourning, Yearning, Cruising: Ernesto Pujol's Memorial Gestures," PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 90 (September 2008): 11–24.
  15. "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).
  16. "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.
  17. "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.
  18. "Privileging the Object of Sculpture: Actuality and Harry Bates's Pandora of 1890," Art History 28.1 (February 2005): 74–95.

Recent and Upcoming Lectures

Bard Center for Curatorial Studies (2016), Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016), Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2016), Rice University (2016), 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. "Transgender Studies Joins Forces with Art History in New Book from Chicagoan," Windy City Times (2 March 2016)
  2. Lecture on Abstract Bodies and Contemporary Art given at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2016
  3. "The Best Thing We Saw At Art Basel Was This Transgender Visibility Panel with Juliana Huxtable," (15 December 2015)
  4. Named Newcity's "Best of Chicago 2014" issue as "Best Advocate for Queer Theory in Art"
  5. 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.
  6. Art's Hit Makers: The C Notes Power List 2013, by Jason Foumberg, Chicago Magazine (February 2013).
  7. Featured in the documentary HEAARTBEAT: John Chamberlain, dir. Alexandra Fairweather (2012).
  8. Fresh For(u)ms, by Karen L. Rooney, Brooklyn Rail (July 2012), and Garden Parts/Arts, by Whitney Kimball, (May 2013). Both on an exhibition that took inspiration from my 2009 essay on gender in John Chamberlain's work.
  9. Lecture on Scott Burton given at the symposium accompanying the National Portrait Gallery exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, 2011
  10. Review of Rodin: Sex and the Making of Modern Sculpture on
  11. Interview with WBEZ-Chicago Public Radio on seeing homosexuality in art for the "Eight Forty-Eight" newsmagazine, aired 12 September 2011
  12. CASVA's David Getsy, Washington Post (11 April 2010)
  13. Conversation with Gregg Bordowitz on queer theory and art, Bad At Sports weekly arts digest, Episode #91 (broadcast May 2007

Personal Statement

I currently serve as the Interim Dean of Graduate Studies at SAIC. Previously, I have been Chair of the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism as well as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Art History and Director of the Graduate Program in Modern and Contemporary Art History. I also sit on the editorial board of The Art Bulletin

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 newest 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 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.


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.