Photograph of Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson

Associate Professor and Chair, Art, Art History, Architecture
Phone: 607-274-3281
Office: Gannett G113
Specialty: Contemporary Art and Museum Studies


  • Ph.D. Art History, University of Minnesota, 2009
  • M.A. Art History, University of Minnesota, 2003
  • B.A. Art History, Whitman College, 2001


I teach contemporary art and museum studies from a global perspective. Students can expect to study art being made in South Africa alongside art movements centered in the United States, museums in India along with ones in Europe. Together with essays and research papers, I also assign projects that ask students to learn by doing. These might include proposing a public artwork for Ithaca, re-performing a work of performance art, or designing an engagement activity for Ithaca College’s Handwerker Gallery.

Selected Courses:

  • ICSM 10500 Global Pop Art
  • ARTH 13500 Introduction to Visual Culture
  • ARTH 28500 Art since 1945
  • ARTH 28600 Art and Globalization
  • ARTH 29200 Introduction to Museum Studies
  • ARTH 37500 Contemporary Art from Africa and its Diaspora
  • ARTH 39500 Anti-Institutional Art and Art Institutions

Students doing something

Students in ARTH 39500 re-performing Time of Action (1978) by the Soviet artist group Collective Actions.


Going to see artworks and exhibitions in person and interview artists and curators where they live and work forms the basis of my research on how artworks rework the past and imagine possible futures.

Early research took me to Finland, Estonia, Russia, Italy, and Germany, while a 2018 Fulbright Lecturer/Researcher fellowship took me to Namibia for a year and allowed me to travel to South Africa and Senegal as well.

My current writing project deals with the visual trope of the "white savior" in artworks by Vibeke Tandberg, Elina Saloranta, and Vanessa Beecroft.

Recent research articles include:

  • "Remembering the Herero-Nama Genocide in Namibia" in African Arts (2023)
  • "The Afronaut and Retrofuturism in Africa" in ASAP/Journal (2019)
  • "Repetition without Reproduction: Esko Männikkö’s The Female Pike" in Photography & Culture (2016)

Recent shorter pieces include:

  • An exhibition essay for Tuli Mekondjo and Guns & Rain Gallery at the I-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London (2021)
  • An exhibition review in African Arts (2019)
  • An exhibition essay for When the Wind Comes Right Behind the Rain (2019)

These and other publications can be accessed on my page.