Karen Kurczynski is Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
She studied art history as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and continued for an MA and PhD at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She completed her PhD in 2005 on the Danish artist and Situationist Asger Jorn. That project is the basis for her recent book, a scholarly introduction to Jorn’s work in English called The Art and Politics of Asger Jorn: The Avant-Garde Won’t Give Up, (Asghate, 2014). She teaches courses on Modern Art, Contemporary Art, Identity Politics, Methodology, and the Global 1950s. Her research interests include the relationship of art to politics and activism, feminist and critical theory, problems of expression and the social, and the legacy of early-20th-century cultural encounters in contemporary discourses of identity and globalization. Her second book project, Drawing Is the New Painting, examines the rise of drawing as a major medium or “anti-medium” in the contemporary period, ranging from expressive and reproductive practices to the relationship of hand drawing to technology.
Karen has taught extensively in museums as a former gallery lecturer at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. In 2014, she co-curated with Karen Friis Herbsleb of the Museum Jorn, Denmark, an Asger Jorn centennial exhibition entitled ”Expo Jorn: Art is a Festival.” It set Jorn’s work in dialogue with artistic inspirations and collaborations from Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró to Karel Appel, Jean Dubuffet, Jacqueline de Jong, and Guy Debord. She is also curating a major traveling U.S. exhibition and scholarly catalogue on the Cobra movement entitled ”Animal Culture: Cobra and the Popular Imagination.” It will open at the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, in 2016 and travel to the Cobra Museum, Amstelveen, the Netherlands.