Appointed As

Liberal Arts Engagement Hub Postdoctoral Fellow


ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowships program


University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

PhD Field of Study

PhD, Art History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dissertation Abstract

"Crip Materiality: The Art Institution after the Americans with Disabilities Act"

Crip Materiality: The Art Institution after the Americans with Disabilities Act seeks to transform the field of crip art history and visual culture by forwarding a new methodology, what I call crip materiality. There are currently three main methodological approaches in the study of crip art history and visual culture: (1) biography (e.g., was the artist disabled?); (2) subject matter (e.g., is disability
represented and, if so, how?); and (3) style (e.g., does the mode of representation convey disability?).
Crip materiality, however, extends this questioning of why disability is not visible or valued in the art institution and art history to address how ableism affects the understanding and valuation of the very fibers of art materials, their fabrication, and their subsequent conservation. By focusing on the treatment of the material condition of art objects and the buildings that house and display them, we can attend to the unperceived ways in which ableism informs how we treat what is understood to be physically deteriorating, or what in museum terminology is called inherent vice (a term that on its face asserts a moral judgment regarding an art object’s physical ability). This critical reappraisal of the intersection of disability and art to include the material conditions of art, specifically those deemed beyond repair, is key to creating inclusivity in the art institution and in the academic discourse regarding what I describe as “mad objects” and “weak art.” The question of how to think with, care for, and center unintentionally deteriorating art objects as valuable as opposed to expendable or “dead” is the purpose of crip materiality.
Crip materiality specifically focuses on case studies that are considered unusual for the study of disability art as these artists and their work do not intentionally engage disability, nor are they legible or coherent in messages about disability, nor are they recognizable within disability studies discourses. In the art institution, these artworks are devalued and mistreated within the system of compulsory ableism while they are also simultaneously not being protected by any of what disability recognition might at least promise to confer. Crip materiality is about how to create support structures for those objects deemed disposable not only by the art institution but also by disability studies discourses. By pushing on the understanding that disability art is always only that which is intentional, coherent, legible, and recognizable, crip materiality is thus also about cripping the materials we study.