James Nisbet

picture of James  Nisbet

Associate Professor, Art History
School of Humanities
Director, Visual Studies
School of Humanities

Ph.D., Stanford University, 2011, Art History

M.A., Williams College, 2004, History of Art

B.A., Saint Edward's University, 2002, Philosophy

Email: jnisbet@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine
Department of Art History
2130 Humanities Gateway
Mail Code: 2785
Irvine, CA 92697
Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, research fellowship, 2014

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Society for the Humanities and Department of the History of Art, Cornell University, 2011-12

Georgia O'Keeffe Research Center, residential fellowship, 2011

Dumbarton Oaks, Garden and Landscape Studies, residential fellowship, 2011
Research Abstract
My research addresses modern and contemporary art, theory, and criticism, with particular interests in environmental history, modern science, abstraction, conceptualism, and the history of photography.

My first book, which is titled Ecologies, Environments, and Energy Systems in Art of the 1960s and 1970s, was published by MIT Press in 2014. It examines the breadth of ecological thought across artistic and social practices during these formative decades for environmentalism. As framed by Allan Kaprow’s invention of the gallery Environment in the late 1950s and concluding with Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field of the late 1970s, the book addresses ecological art practices realized in a range of media, both organic and technological. While the rise of late modern environmentalism is still much romanticized and poorly assessed, my work responds to this condition by evaluating the various senses of ecology to arise during these years in light of their important insights and, in many cases, naïve oversights, regarding ecological politics of the late twentieth century.

Current projects include: the relationship of abstraction and environmental art, the cultural history of energy within photo-based media since the nineteenth century, and the UCI research cluster Art/Landscape/Environment that I co-direct with Lyle Massey.

Ecologies, Environments, and Energy Systems in Art of the 1960s and 1970s. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014.

Selected Articles and Review Essays

Forthcoming: co-author with Daniel Hackbarth, “Photography as Photoenergy,” in Energies in the Arts, ed. Douglas Kahn (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2018).

Forthcoming: “History Painting After Conceptual Art,” in History Painting: Traditional and Modern, ed. Mark Phillips and Jordan Bear (Montreal and Kingston, Ontario: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2018).

Forthcoming: “Energia, Optics, and Photography’s Formation in England,” in Kraft, Intensität, Energie. Zur Dynamik der Künste in der Frühen Neuzeit, ed. Frank Fehrenbach, Robert Felfe, and Karin Leonhard (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017).

Forthcoming: “Mark Dion’s Tropical Ecology,” in Mark Dion: The Culture of Nature, exh. cat., ed. Ruth Erickson (Boston: Institute of Contemporary Art, 2017).

"Environmental Abstraction and the Polluted Image," American Art 31, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 114–131.

"Contemporary Environmental Art," in The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities, ed. Ursula Heise, Jon Christensen, and Michelle Niemann (London: Routledge, 2016), 301–312.

"Surface/Sphere: Walter De Maria's Geopolitical Dimensions," The Art Bulletin 98, no. 3 (September 2016): 373–394.

“Atmospheric Cameras and Ecological Light in the Landscapes of Eadweard Muybridge,” Photography & Culture 6, no. 2 (July 2013): 131–156.

“A Brief Moment in the History of Photo-Energy: Walter De Maria’s Lightning Field.” Grey Room 50 (Winter 2013): 66–89.

Book review for The Ethics of Earth Art by Amanda Boetzkes. Art Journal 71, no. 1 (Spring 2012): 161–64.

“Walead Beshty: PROCESSCOLORFIELD.” X–TRA 14, no. 2 (Winter 2012): 45–53.

“Material Propositions on the Individual/Collective: The Work of Vladimir Tatlin.” Modernism/modernity 17, no. 1 (January 2010): 109–134.

Book review for The Lightning Field by Kenneth Baker. caa.reviews (June 24, 2009). doi:10.3202/caa.reviews.2009.62, http://caareviews.org/reviews/1291.

“Coast to Coast: Land Work Between the N. E. Thing Co. and Lucy Lippard.” Archives of American Art Journal 47, nos. 1-2 (Spring 2008): 58–65.
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