scholar // curator // arts collaborator
Dr. julia elizabeth neal (she/her) is a scholar of modern and contemporary US and African-American Art. Her research considers conceptual and performance practices by artists of African descent whose works across live action and dematerialized forms construct an aesthetic criticality of art. Her research questions intersections between the visual to a politics of identity and concepts of (trans)nationalism, including racialized and gendered circumstances. Invested in archival study, critical historiography, deconstruction, and critical race theory to scrutinize power relations and representation as enduring problematics, neal draws on interdisciplinary frameworks and methods from performance, Feminist and Black studies.
neal's book project extends from her dissertation, "Who Taught You to Think (Like That): Benjamin Patterson's Conceptual Aesthetic," which historicizes the artist's persistent practice of deconstructing sociocultural perceptions and values, and frames his unconventional approach within alternative strategies of artistic criticality.
In the fall of 2022, neal became a Visiting Research Investigator at the University of Michigan, and will begin her new position as Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan in 2023. Prior to her arrival to Ann Arbor, neal lectured at Spelman College and Georgia State University in Atlanta, her hometown, and works as a consultant to the Estate of Benjamin Patterson.
neal is the author of Performance Works within the State of Benjamin Patterson: A Catalogue Raisonné Volume I, a text itemizing works and related materials in-situ from the artist's archive in Hamburg for future study by researchers, enthusiasts, and the public.