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Cherise Smith, Ph.D, Director JES A232A, Mailcode D7200, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-1784

Cherise Smith

Associate Professor Ph.D., Stanford University

Associate Professor in Art History, Associate Professor in African and African Diaspora Studies
Cherise Smith



Associate Professor Cherise Smith joined the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin in 2005. She offers courses in and has published articles on African American and African Diaspora art, the history of photography, and contemporary art. Her manuscript, Enacting Others: Politics of Identity in Eleanor Antin, Nikki S. Lee, Adrian Piper, and Anna Deavere Smith, was published by Duke University Press in 2011. It examines how identity is negotiated in performance art by reading closely a performance work by each artist in which she takes-on the characteristics and manners of a racial, ethnic, and gender “other”. She has worked in the curatorial departments of several museums and curated a number of exhibitions.Cherise Smith is the director for the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies.

AFR 372E • Black Art, Brown Art

30655 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm ART 1.120
(also listed as MAS 374 )
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Black Art/Brown Art will focus on visual art made by contemporary African American, Mexican American and Latino artists.  Students will consider artists' relationships to issues of difference, including but not limited to gender, 'identity politics' and 'post-identity.' In addition, students will think about whether the artists engage in transnational dialogues with the cultures of their ancestors.  Attention will be paid to exhibitions, such as 'Phantom Sightings' and 'Freestyle', that seek to (re)define the parameters of contemporary 'ethnic' art.  We will study Rashid Johnson, Juan Capistran, Michael Ray Charles, Kara Walker, Pepon Osorio, Wanda Raimundi Ortiz, and Enrique Chagoya among other artists.


Texts (needs to be specific texts, not “course packet” or “TBA)”:

Sharon Patton, African American Art, NY:  Oxford, 1998


AFR 372E • Twentieth-Century Afr Amer Art

30328 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm GAR 1.126
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This course surveys art made by African American artists in the 20th century.  We will study painting, photography, and sculpture made in representational and abstract styles.  We will explore whether African American art is uniquely American and consider whether some “Africanisms” are retained.  We will examine the relationship between African American art and jazz during the Harlem Renaissance (1920s-1930s), African American art and protest during the Civil Rights era (1950s-1960s), and African American art and the politics of identity (1980s-1990s).  The course text will be Sharon Patton’s African-American Art; other texts will be available on reserve and in the course reader.

AFR 387D • Historicizing Polit Of Ident

30363 • Fall 2011
Meets M 900am-1200pm ART 3.432
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(Cross listed as ARH 387)

Course Description: This course historicizes the politics of identity in American art by tracking its trajectory over the thirty-year period from 1970 to 2000.  Students will compare discourses that theorize identities as “real,” “authentic,” fixed, stable, and unchanging, to those that understand identities to be inauthentic, fluid, transitory, and ever-changing constructions.  Texts that fall under the rubrics of Feminism, Black Cultural Studies, Chicana/o and Mexican American Cultural Studies, Multiculturalism, and Queer Studies among others will be read to discern similarities and divergences.  Key events, ranging from the NEA controversy (1989) to The Decade Show (1991), the Los Angeles uprisings (1992) to the Whitney Biennial Exhibition of 1993, will also be studied.  Artists to be covered may include Robert Mapplethorpe, Adrian Piper, Eleanor Antin, Nikki S. Lee, Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, Cindy Sherman, Chris Burden, Vito Acconci, James Luna, Guillermo Gomez-Peña, and Coco Fusco among others.

AFR 374F • 20th-Cen African American Art

35539 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 930-1100 ART 1.120
(also listed as ARH 366N )
show description

(Cross listed as ARH 366 N)

Course Description This course will survey visual art produced by people of African descent in the United States.  The emphasis will be on art made during the 20th century, but older and more recent art will also be studied.  Students will be introduced to a wide range of artistic production, including decorative arts, mixed media, painting, performance, photography, prints, textiles, sculpture, and video.  Through our readings and discussions, we will create a socio-historical framework for the interpretation and analysis of works of art.  We will examine changes in modes of expression, formal concerns, pictorial themes and the impact of the Black Arts Movement, Feminism, and Afrocentrism on art.  The course challenges students to examine the relationship of the work of black artists to art from West and Central Africa and the visual traditions of European and Euro-American artists.  Our underlying goal is to gain an understanding of the variety of art that is categorized under the heading “African American” and to consider how “race” is constructed through visual art.


“Looking Relations in a Charnay Photograph.” Fotophile, 46 (February, 2004), 16- 20.

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