UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 15 Winter 21 Library
David Getsy
Art History

UVA Department of Art Welcomes Inaugural Eleanor Shea Professor in Art History, David Getsy

The UVA Department of Art is delighted to welcome its Inaugural Eleanor Shea Professor in Art History, David Getsy. David is an art historian, art writer, and curator whose research examines the changing investments in the human figure in American and European art from the nineteenth century to the present. He works at the intersection of art history, queer studies, and transgender studies, and his writings have addressed the ways in which non-normative genders and sexualities have been fundamental to the shape of art history’s narratives. 

David was recently invited to give a keynote address to the Association of Art Historians in the United Kingdom. Titled “How to Teach Manet’s Olympia after Transgender Studies,” that address is available to watch below: 

David’s trailblazing book Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender (Yale University Press, 2015) was the first study to bridge art history and transgender studies. He is also the editor of the widely-read anthology of artists’ writing, Queer (MIT Press, 2016). 

Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender by David J. Getsy

David is a specialist in the history of sculpture, and his books on the topic include Rodin: Sex and the Making of Modern Sculpture (Yale University Press, 2010) and Body Doubles: Sculpture in Britain, 1877-1905 (Yale University Press, 2004). In addition, he has served as editor for several other books, including From Diversion to Subversion: Games, Play, and Twentieth Century Art (Penn State University Press, 2011); Scott Burton: Collected Writings on Art and Performance, 1965-1975 (Soberscove, 2012); and Sculpture and Pursuit of a Modern Ideal in Britain, c.1880-1930 (Ashgate, 2004).

His curatorial work includes the retrospective exhibition Rubbish and Dreams: The Genderqueer Performance Art of Stephen Varble (Leslie-Lorman Museum, New York City, 2018) and a related satellite exhibition traveling to its fourth venue, the Schwules Museum in Berlin, later in 2021. 

Getsy regularly writes about recent artistic practices that engage with queer and transgender themes, including artists such as Casals, Elmgreen & Dragset, Kehinde Wiley, Christina Quarles, Yan Xing, Ernesto Pujol, and Carlos Motta. His writings on contemporary art have been published in Artforum, GLQ, TSQ, Criticism, PAJ, Art Journal, ASAP/Journal, and numerous exhibition catalogues. His newest book, Queer Behavior: Scott Burton and Performance Art, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press in May 2022. 

David Getsy comes to UVA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he taught from 2005 to 2021, and as the Goldabelle McComb Finn Distinguished Professor of Art History since 2011. While there, he served as Interim Dean of Graduate Studies, Interim Director of the Low-Residency M.F.A. in Studio program, and Chair of the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism. He has earned numerous awards, including SAIC’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2007, given annually to one full-time faculty member, and the Jean Goldman Book Prize for best book published by a faculty member in 2015. 

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Getsy received his B.A. with honors from Oberlin College and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. His fellowships and awards included the 2019 Senior Fellowship from the Dedalus Foundation, and the Alisa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, a Clark Fellowship from the Sterling and Francine Clark Institute, an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship from Dartmouth College, a Kress Foundation Fellowship at the Courtland Institute of Art, and two research fellowships from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. In addition, he has earned a number of high-profile international positions, including being the 2020-2021 Terra Foundation Professor of American Art at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at the Freie Univerität Berlin. 

We look forward to welcoming David to Grounds and working with him in both Art History and Studio Art to expand our course offerings and raise the level of our graduate program.

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