Paloma Checa-Gismero is a historian of global contemporary art. An assistant professor of art history at Swarthmore College, her teaching revisits the history of North Atlantic modernisms from a transnational lens that foregrounds art's imbrication in the social fabric. Her scholarship addresses past and present relations of coloniality that support contemporary distinctions of culture as art. Her research on art biennials, craft, and socially engaged art has been published by Third Text, The Journal of Modern Craft, Afterall, and FIELD: A Journal of Socially Engaged Art Criticism. Her book about the early years of the art biennial boom is forthcoming with Duke University Press.
Wolf Humanities Center Regional Fellow
2023—2024 Forum on Revolution
Assistant Professor of Art History, Swarthmore College
“Curating Slow Revolutions: Socially Engaged Art in the Contemporary Art Institution”
“Curating Slow Revolutions: Socially Engaged Art in the Contemporary Art Institution” considers the institutionalization of slow revolutions in which forms of activist art practice plays a predominant role. Based on several contemporary case studies in Europe and the U.S., it explores successful instances of cooperation between art institutions and socially engaged art initiatives amidst the unfolding systemic crisis. In this project, I seek to investigate the symbolic and practiced expressions of solidarity that contemporary art institutions are enacting to support social change at the local level, as well as the complex negotiations between socially engaged artists and institutional partners needed to translate grassroots efforts into institutional formats–such as exhibitions, archives, publications.