A scholar of modern and contemporary art history, Catherine Damman specializes in the shifting entwinements of genre, labor, and value over the long twentieth century, particularly through the knotted histories of experimental dance, theater, film, music, and the visual arts. 

She earned her Ph.D. in Art History from Columbia University in 2018, and her doctoral research was supported by a two year Chester Dale Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Currently, she is an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Wesleyan University's Center for the Humanities. 

Her book manuscript, The Work of Art in the Age of Half-Hearted Reproducibility, theorizes the uneven, often contentious formation of “performance” in American discourses—both artistic and academic—in the 1970s. Informed by marxist-feminist, queer, and critical race perspectives, the project argues that as performances of self and emotion were increasingly conscripted into the demands of a service-based economy, artists cannily manipulated the contested boundaries of "performance" as a genre. In so doing, they catalyzed new versions of old anxieties about authenticity and originality, long the purview of modernist art history—from the photograph to the readymade.

She frequently writes about contemporary art and performance for Artforum. Her writing can also be found in BookforumBOMB, 4Columns, Art in AmericaArt JournalThe Germanic Review, and Women & Performance, and in commissioned texts for the Walker Art Center, the ICA London, the Hammer Museum, LACMA, and MoMA PS1. 

catherine.damman [at] gmail.com


- Selected Criticism -

Ligia Lewis's minor matter and Water Will (In Melody)
Artforum, September 2019

Jackie Sibblies Drury's Marys Seacole 
Artforum, May 2019

In conversation with Ligia Lewis
Spring 2019

On Veep
4Columns, April 2019 

Robert Ashley's Improvement: Don Leaves Linda
Artforum, April 2019

On Marlon Riggs
4Columns, February 2019

Moriah Evans's Configure 
Artforum, January 2019

Chris Cochrane, Dennis Cooper, and Ishmael Houston-Jones's Them (pdf)
Artforum, November 2018

Loren Connors's Wildweeds and Unaccompanied Acoustic Improvisations Vol. 10
Artforum, October 2018

Presence at the Creation: On Judson Dance Theater (pdf)
Artforum, September 2018

Yve Laris Cohen's  P.S. 122
Artforum, Summer 2018

Richard Maxwell's Paradiso
Artforum, March 2018

Notes on Performance, with Mark Beasley and David Grubbs
MoMA PS1, Greater New York Readers

See Change: Remembering Trisha Brown
Bookforum, Summer 2017

Simone Forti: Lesson in Suppleness
Art Journal, Spring 2017

Richard Maxwell's Showcase
Artforum, December 2016

Brian Getnick's Moonchops
Riting, October 2016

Samara Golden at YBCA
Artforum, April 2016

"Control Group" in Jared Bark: Photobooth Pieces
Hunter's Point Press / D.A.P., 2016

Martine Syms's Misdirected Kiss
Artforum, February 2016

Performance text for Adam Linder's Choreographic Service No. 3: Some Riding 
at the ICA London [skip to 25:00]

Aki Sasamoto's Skewed Lies / Parallel Stare
Artforum, July 2015

Yvonne Rainer's The Concept of Dust...
Artforum, June 2015

Yve Laris Cohen's Fine
Artforum, May 2015

Julia Heyward at the CCA Wattis
Artforum, May 2015

Ligia Lewis's Minor Matter
Artforum, February 2015

Sarah Michelson's 4
Women & Performance, January 2015

Steve Paxton at Dia:Beacon
Artforum, November 2014

"On Roots and Reckoning" on Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art
at the Walker Art Center

Simone Forti and Charlemagne Palestine's illummminnnatttionnnsssss!!!!!!! 
Artforum, April 2014

Rituals of Rented Island at the Whitney
Art in America, March 2014

Pope.L's Cage Unrequited
Art in America, December 2013

Ryan McNamara's ME3M
Art in America, November 2013

My Barbarian's Universal Declaration of Infantile Anxiety...
Art in America, October 2013

Dance and Process at the Kitchen
Art in America, June 2013