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 Bookforum, BOMB, 4Columns, Art in America, Art Journal, The 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 -
In conversation with Ligia Lewis
BOMB, Spring 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
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
Performance text for Adam Linder's Choreographic Service No. 3: Some Riding
at the ICA London [skip to 25:00]
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
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
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