B.A. in Art History and French Language & Literature, Transylvania University (Lexington, Kentucky)
M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History & Criticism, Stony Brook University (New York)
Joseph L. Underwood is a scholar and curator whose research focuses on artists from the African continent and the Diaspora. As an art historian of the modern and contemporary periods, his projects focus on the mid-to-late twentieth century and encompass themes from the Postwar era: including post-colonialism, (trans)nationalism, globalization, and biennialism.
His research is especially focused on Francophone West and North Africa, charting how artists have created transnational networks of influence since the mid-20th century. Professor Underwood teaches courses that cover historical, recent, and contemporary African art, as well as the history of exhibitions, museology, and the politics of display. A recent article on 1960s artmaking and display in Senegal can be found in World Art. His academic presentations and publications are complemented by curatorial practice, having contributed to exhibition projects at the Musée Boribana (Dakar, Senegal), Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, the Dakar Biennale for Contemporary African Art, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. He frequently recruits students to assist with the planning, design, and programming of his exhibitions, as well as with the related publications.
The exhibition currently touring the United States after its debut at the 2018 Dakar Biennale is The View From Here: Contemporary Perspectives From Senegal. See The View From Here website for the exhibition venues, participating artists, and related programming.
Selection of Undergraduate Courses:
Arts of Africa
Contemporary African Art (1980-Present)
Race and Art in the Capital (Travel course to Washington, D.C.)
Making Meaning in Museums (Travel course to New York City)
Selection of Graduate Seminars:
Liberation, Nationalism, and Globalization: African Art 1930-1980
Ephemeral Exhibitions: World Fairs, Colonial Expos, Festivals, and Biennials