Catherine Quan Damman 


Currently I am the Linda Nochlin Visiting Assistant Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University and am completing my first monograph, Performance: A Deceptive History, with the support of a 2022–2023 ACLS Fellowship

Performance: A Deceptive History radically reconceptualizes the formation of “performance” in American discourses of the 1970s. The book argues that one of the primary contradictions shaping our contemporary lives—the simultaneous rise of affective labor and the social mandate for authenticity, each deeply gendered and racialized—was likewise at the root of performance as an artistic form. In addition to the American Council of Learned Societies, work on the project has received research support from the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Getty Research Institute (GRI), and a two-year Chester Dale Predoctoral Fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Previously, I was at Wesleyan University, as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History and an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at their Center for the Humanities. While there, I was concurrently on faculty of the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance graduate program. I have also been a Core Lecturer in Art History at Columbia University, where I completed my PhD in 2018. I am deeply committed to working with students, from the intro survey through doctoral research, and was finalist for Columbia’s 2022 Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching, a university-wide honor for faculty at all levels, premised on student nominations. I have been invited to speak at a number of pedagogy workshops—on prioritizing the matrices of gender, sexuality, race, and colonialism in teaching the history of art—and greatly enjoy doing so. An Art & Education interview about my teaching and approach to pedagogy can be found here

My most recent publication is the first scholarly consideration of Carl Cheng’s sculptural work in the late 60s and early 70s. The article, on art world fantasies about industry, Asian American racialization, and capitalist crisis, appears in the spring 2021 issue of Panorama.

As a critic, I am a frequent contributor to Artforum. My writing can also be found in Bookforum, BOMB, 4Columns, Frieze, Art in America, Art Journal, The Germanic Review, ASAP/Journal, and Women & Performance, as well as in commissioned texts for the Walker Art Center, the ICA London, the Hammer Museum, LACMA, and MoMA PS1.

To get a sense of my writing: about visual art and exhibitions, on Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, My Barbarian, Lorraine O’Grady, and Tishan Hsu; film, on the work of Marlon Riggs and Nina Menkes; dance, on Ligia LewisThem (1985), and Judson Dance Theater; and on the television show Veep.

My full name is pronounced: cath-rin kwon dam (like “lamb”)-en

c.quan.damman [at] or catherine.damman [at]

*Please direct press and writing inquiries to the gmail address