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Ellen Tani

Critical Theory III Faculty

Ellen Tani is an art historian, curator, and critic based in Washington, DC who is invested in institutional change toward diversity and inclusion. She is a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (2022-2023), and will join the faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology as Assistant Professor of Art History in 2023. Tani received her PhD from Stanford University in 2015 from the Department of Art & Art History, and her research focuses on issues of race and ethnicity in modern and contemporary art, with a specific interest in the extended possibilities of conceptual art. Her current book project explores the experimental, conceptual-based practices of a generation of avant-garde Black artists in the 1970s and 1980s whose work explored systems, ambiguity, abstraction, polyculturalism, movement, and incommensurability - qualities of artistic practice resonant with the lived realities and desires of artists of color at the time. Tani's teaching privileges accessible course design, object-based pedagogy, and experiential learning, and incorporates perspectives from Feminist and queer theory, postcolonial and ethnic studies, Black studies, and disability studies.


Photo by Tiffany L. Clark