Jennifer Sichel is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory. Her research focuses on 20th-century art, criticism, and visual culture of the United States, with an emphasis on investigating how art manifests queer forms of attachment and belonging.
Professor Sichel is currently working on a book manuscript titled Criticism without Authority: Gene Swenson and Jill Johnston's Queer Practices (under contract with University of Chicago Press). The book follows the meandering, intertwined paths of Swenson and Johnston—two art critics mired at the center of New York’s art world in the sixties, but who tend to occupy only the margins and footnotes of art history. As a careful archival project, the book traces how Swenson and Johnston assemble queer practices in an inhospitable world. Her scholarly and critical writing has appeared in the Oxford Art Journal, Sculpture Journal, as well as in exhibition catalogues for museums including The Jewish Museum, mumok (in Vienna), and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Clark Art Institute, Smithsonian Archives of American Art, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and the Humanities Division at the University of Chicago.
Professor Sichel is also working collaboratively on a new anthology project titled Queer Work | Queer Archives that investigates the theoretical stakes and methodological challenges of doing queer archival labor, as it centers artists and scholars working at intersections of queerness and race, ethnicity, and disability. Her future projects will consider the emergence of queer theory as an academic discipline during the AIDS crisis, alongside (and sometimes indistinguishable from) other forms of practice including: the emergence of activist groups like ACT UP and Queer Nation, new queer cinema, and queercore and punk zines.