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Paloma Checa-Gismero

Assistant Professor of Art History


  2. Phone: (610) 690-5671
  3. Beardsley 203
  4. Office Hours: Tuesdays, 1.30 - 3 pm - Schedule an appointment

As a scholar of contemporary Latin American art and critical biennial studies, I study how processes of coloniality were and remain active in the formation of global contemporary art as we know it today. My teaching revisits the history of Euro-American modernism from a transnational lens that foregrounds art's imbrication in the social fabric. My research focuses on the translations that situated art practices undertake in their access to international art circuits. I am currently completing a book about the early years of the art biennial boom. 

I received a PhD in Art History, Theory, and Criticism from the University of California, San Diego (2019), and an MFA in Arts, Production, and Research from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (2009). Before becoming an art historian I was a practicing artist. My work was featured, among other venues, in Manifesta 8 (2010) and Archivo de Creadores de Madrid (2012).


Affiliated projects

During academic year 2021-2022 I will be a member of Cohort III of the Mellon Periclean Faculty Leadership Program in the Humanities.

Between 2014 and 2020 I served in the Editorial Collective of FIELD, a journal of socially engaged art criticism. Directed by Grant Kester, FIELD advances discussions about art and social justice. Check its latest issue at

Between 2013 and 2016 I served in the Editorial Board of COCOM, an open press that translated to Spanish key essays in art theory and criticism. COCOM was based in la Escuela Superior de Artes de Yucatán (Mérida, México). Read more about it here.

In 2009, together with a collective of four other artists, I founded RAMPA, an independent research and production space in Madrid. I served as the space’s co-curator until 2011. 

Selected publications

Journal articles

(forthcoming) - "Craft as Decolonial Universalism in the Bienal de La Habana", accepted for publication in Third Text.
2020 - "A Radical Cultural Expertise", MARCH, a journal of art and strategy, 1, 1. 
2017 - “Realism in the work of Maria Thereza Alves”, in Afterall , Fall 2017
2017 - “Global contemporary art tourism: engaging with Cuban authenticity through the Bienal de La Habana”, in Tourism and Development, vol. 15, 3.
2012 - “Repetition and distance in ASCO fotonovelas”, in Revisiones, vol. 2.

Chapters in edited volumes

(forthcoming) "Conciliatory Avant-Gardism: US Art in the Bienal de La Habana", in Tankha, Mrinalini, Christina García, and Yairamaren Román Maldonado, An Undisciplined Look at Cuba.
2019 - "Estética situada. Crónica de una visita al Laboratorio Artístico de San Agustín", in Aurélie Sampeur, Paz Ponce (eds.) La energía del contexto. Reflexiones múltiples desde el Laboratorio Artístico de San Agustín (Ministerio de Cultura de la República de Cuba: La Habana, 2019)
2017 - “Crítica de arte basado en la colaboración en comunidad. Notas metodológicas”, in Blasco, Selina, L. Insúa, Programa sin créditos (Madrid: Comunidad de Madrid, 2017).
2013 - “El I Encuentro Nacional de Arte de Vanguardia: una experiencia de arte como investigación” in Raquel Caerols (ed) La praxis del artista en el proceso creativo. Creación artística versus investigación en las artes (Universidad Nebrija: Madrid, 2013)

Authored translations (selection)

2016 - Yo veo / tú significas (Bilbao: Consonni, 2016). Author: Lucy R. Lippard; original title: I See / You Mean (Los Angeles: Chrysalis, 1975). Author of Introduction, translator, project director. 
2013 - Además opino que el materialismo ha de ser destruído (Mérida, Mex.: COCOM PRESS, 2013) Author: Graham Harman; original title “I too believe that materialism should be destroyed”, in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2010, v.28, p.772-790

Exhibition catalogs (selection)

2018 - (co-author) Querer parecer noche (Centro de Arte 2 de Mayo: Madrid, 2018)
2015 - (co-author) Los sujetos / The subjects. Spanish Pavilion, 56 Venice Biennale.
2014 - Guest writer at ARCO Art Fair, Madrid

Exhibition & book reviews (selection)

2019 - "El momento oportuno. David Horvitz y sus trabajos de tiepo", (January 28)
2018 - “Luis Camnitzer’s critique of power is as relevant as ever”, hyperallergic (november 12)
2017 - “Mujeres radicales latinoamericanas en Los Ángeles”, campo de relá
2017 - “Yo veo/tú significas. La escritura femenina de Lucy R. Lippard,”
2016 - “A note on the contemporary canon: Public Fiction’s show at MOCA LA”, in Los Angeles Review of Books (June 17)
2016 - “Laugh-in: Art, Comedy, Performance”, in caareviews (January 7)
2015 - “On The Return of a Lake”, FIELD Journal, 1.
2009-19 - Art criticism writing at


-ARTH060: Making New Worlds: The Arts and Architectures of Liberation.
-ARTH001J: (FYS) The Arts of Everyday Life.
-ARTH048: 20th Century Latin American Art.
-ARTH152: Arts & Crafts as Avant-Garde Labor.
-ARTH160: Global Contemporary Art.
-ARTH005: Becoming Modern. Survey on Modern Art in Europe and the US.
-ARTH046: Socially Engaged Art in the Americas.