Jongwoo Jeremy Kim

Associate Professor of Art History & Theory

I am a queer, Korean-American art historian who debunks the canonical, white narratives of modern and contemporary art. Rather than focusing on gambits and triumphs, I find fragility, failure, misdirection, and misalignment at the core of Western artmaking. Furthermore, I define modernism and its aftermath from sexually insurrectionist, decolonial, and antiracist points of view, rehabilitating our relationship to our broken past and its precarious futurity.

My previous research and publications dealt with modernism outside of France in the West (Painted Men in Britain, Ashgate), colonial sexual exploitation between non-Western nations (“Filming the Queerness of Comfort Women,” positions: asia critique), the dysfunction of the white man and his family (“Picturing the Edwardian Family Man,” Art History), and the incoherence of white male bodies (Queer Difficulty in Art and Poetry, Routledge). Extending my growing arc of scholarship, my new book Male Bodies Unmade (University of California Press, 2023) treats what the twentieth-century representations of cisgender gay white masculinity mean to queer, Asian-American immigrants.

As a member of CMU’s School of Art, I have been active in our DEI initiatives. My anti-racist curricular revision produced our undergraduate courses that must retell the fabulation of modern and contemporary art by centering BIPOC artworks as the speaking subjects of our history. In my upper-level class, Picturing Asian America, I reimagined Americanness by underscoring the object-making by “children of internment camps, railroad builders and waiters, raised in the laundry room.”

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