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Paloma Checa-Gismero

Assistant Professor

On Leave

Art History


  2. Phone: (610) 690-5671
  3. Beardsley Hall 203
  4. Office Hours: Mondays & Wednesdays 4-5pm and by appointment.

Professor Checa-Gismero is a cultural historian of globalization. Her teaching revisits the history of North Atlantic art and visual culture from a transnational lens that foregrounds culture's embeddedness in social and institutional life. Her scholarship addresses past and present relations of coloniality that support contemporary distinctions of culture as art. She has published widely about art biennials, craft, and socially engaged art. She is the author of Biennial Boom: Making Contemporary Art Global (Durham: Duke University Press, 2024).

Professor Checa-Gismero 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 she was a practicing artist. Her work was featured, among other venues, in Manifesta 8 (2010) and Archivo de Creadores de Madrid (2012). She has written art criticism for a variety of outlets in Spain, Mexico, and the US since 2009.

During academic year 2023-2024 Professor Checa-Gismero is a Regional Faculty Fellow at the Wolf Humanities Center, at the University of Pennsylvania. Since February 2022 she is a member of the Executive Board of the Society of Contemporary Art Historians (SCAH), where she serves as Programs Coordinator. During academic year 2021-2022 Professor Checa-Gismero was a member of Cohort III of the Mellon Periclean Faculty Leadership Program in the Humanities. In 2021 she joined the advisory board of Rosine Association 2.0, an interdisciplinary collective of artists, harm reductionists, archivists, and community members involved in Philadelphia’s street economies. Between 2014 and 2020 she served in the Editorial Collective of FIELD, a journal of socially engaged art criticism directed by Grant Kester that advances discussions about art and social justice. Between 2013 and 2016 she 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). In 2009, together with a collective of four other artists, she founded RAMPA, an independent research and production space in Madrid. She served as the space’s co-curator until 2011.

Selected publications

(Feel free to e-mail me for access.)

Biennial Boom: Making Contemporary Art Global (Durham: Duke University Press, 2024)
Read the Introduction here

"A Collective Fabric on a Cane Loom: a Weaving Workshop by Marta Palau in the 1986 Bienal de La Habana", The Journal of Modern Craft, 15, 3 (2022)

"Craft as Anti-Colonial Universalism in the Bienal de La Habana", Third Text, 36, 3 (2022)

“A radical cultural expertise”, MARCH: a Journal of Art and Strategy, 1, 1 (2021)

“Realism in the work of Maria Thereza Alves”, Afterall (Fall 2017)

“Global contemporary art tourism: engaging with Cuban authenticity through the Bienal de La Habana”, Tourism and Development Journal, 15, 3. (2017)

“Repetition and distance in ASCO fotonovelas”, in Revisiones, 2 (2013)

"Estética situada. Crónica de una visita al Laboratrio 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).

“Crítica de arte basado en la colaboración en comunidad. Notas metodológicas”, in Blasco, Selina, Lila Insúa, eds. Programa sin créditos. (Madrid: Comunidad de  Madrid, 2017).

“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)

Querer Parecer Noche (Centro de Arte 2 de Mayo: Madrid, 2018) - (Co-author)

Los Sujetos / The Subjects. Spanish Pavilion, 56 Venice Biennale (2015) - (Co-author)

Guest writer at ARCO Art Fair, Madrid

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.  

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, v.28, p.772-790 (2010)

"Wangechi Mutu: I Am Speaking, Are You Listening?", (September 21, 2021)

"The Art of Direct Action", FIELD, 16 (Summer 2020)

"El momento oportuno. David Horvitz y sus trabajos de tiempo", (January 28, 2019)

“Luis Camnitzer’s critique of power is as relevant as ever”, Hyperallergic (November 12, 2018)

“Mujeres radicales latinoamericanas en Los Ángeles”, Campo de relámpagos (Nov. 30, 2017)

“Yo veo / tú significas. La escritura femenina de Lucy R. Lippard,” CONCRETA (January, 2017)

“A note on the contemporary canon: Public Fiction’s show at MOCA LA”, Los  Angeles Review of Books (June 17, 2016)

“Laugh-in: Art, Comedy, Performance”, (January 7, 2016)

“On The Return of a Lake”, FIELD, 1 (Summer, 2016)

Art criticism writing at  (2009-2019)


ARTH094: Transnational Modernisms.
ARTH 060: Building New Worlds: The Arts and Architectures of Liberation.
ARTH 001J: (FYS) The Arts of Everyday Life.
ARTH 048: 20th Century Latin American Art.
ARTH 152: Histories of Modern Craft
ARTH 160: Global Contemporary Art.
ARTH 005: Becoming Modern. Survey on Modern Art in Europe and the US.
ARTH 046: Socially Engaged Art in the Americas.


Photo credit: Jason Varney