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–past and present–and the roles of the visual and verbal in developing aesthetic criticality. Her research engages intersections between art to a politics of identity, concepts of (trans)nationalism, racialization, and gender. Invested in archival study, critical historiography, deconstruction, and critical race theory, to scrutinize power 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 frames his unconventional approach through Patterson's cultivation of an autodidactic arts pedagogy.
She is an Assistant Professor in the History of Art Department at the University of Michigan. Prior to her arrival, neal was lectured at Spelman College and Georgia State University in her hometown of Atlanta, and presently works as a consultant to the Estate of Benjamin Patterson in Hamburg.
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.