Nikki A. Greene, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of the Arts of Africa and the African Diaspora, Art Department, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts
Richard D. Cohen Fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African & African-American Research at Harvard University (2016-17)
Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellow (2016-17)
Nikki A. Greene received her BA in Art History from Wesleyan University, and her Masters and Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Delaware. Dr. Greene examines African American and African identities, the body, feminism, and music in modern and contemporary art. She arrived at Wellesley College in 2011 where she held a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Africana Studies and Art Departments. She joined the Wellesley faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Art Department in 2013. Before her arrival at Wellesley, she held the Barra Foundation Fellowship in the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to catalogue the African American art collections. She also taught at Swarthmore College, Temple University, Moore College of Art and Design, and Rutgers University at Camden. In January 2013, she gave a series of lectures on African Art at the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. More recently, she was the lead organizer of THIRD EXPOSURE~The Dark Room: Race and Visual Culture 3rd Annual Symposium, featuring Coco Fusco as the keynote speaker, that took place at Wellesley College on April 11, 2015. At the Black Portraitures II Conference in Florence, Italy, she presented “Facing the Music: Radcliffe Bailey, Sun Ra, and the African Diasporic Body” (May 2015). In April, she was an invited speaker at the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, where she delivered a lecture titled Concerning the Spiritual in Art: The Substance of Abstraction on abstraction, music and painting in the works of Moe Brooker, Beauford Delaney & Alma Thomas.
Her book project, Rhythms of Glue, Grease, Grime and Glitter: The Body in Contemporary African American Art, presents a new interpretation of the work of David Hammons, Renée Stout, and Radcliffe Bailey, using key examples of painting, sculpture, photography, and installation by these prominent African-American artists as case studies in a re-examination of the conventions and stereotypes employed in the making of works of art and in the representations of black bodies and black identity in the 20th and 21st centuries. By examining how discourses such as music, literature and visual culture operate in concert with the cultural associations of the materials used by artists, she identifies these discourses as noteworthy conduits through which the artists’ bodily presences prevail.
Building upon these previous investigations into the aural possibilities of the visual, she treats the art of Renée Stout through the lens of funk music titled, “The Feminist Funk Power of Betty Davis and Renée Stout” in a special edition of the American Studies Journal (Fall 2013).
Greene’s summer blog post “Eating Ice Cream While Black (Or My Life in Wellesley, Mass)” on microaggressions has received local and national attention and was recently featured on WBUR Boston’s Cognescenti. She was also a featured guest for the segment, “The Challenge of Raising Kids of Color in a Homogenous Community,” on Radio Boston with Megna Chakrabarti.
Other recent and upcoming publications include, “Deana Lawson and Nikki A. Greene in Conversation about the Emanuel 9” in Aperture: Vision & Justice Online (June 2016); “Wind, Sunshine, and Flowers: The Visual Cadences of Alma Thomas’s Washington, DC,” in the exhibition catalogue, Alma Thomas (Studio Museum in Harlem & Tang Teaching Museum, forthcoming 2016); and “Romare Bearden and the Hand of Jazz,” in Permeable Boundaries: Music and the Visual Arts, 1840s onwards, edited by Diane Silverthorne (Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming 2017).
Nikki A. Greene is originally from Newark, NJ, and she lives with her husband and two children in Massachusetts. She “muses” here about her academic interests, travel, and the challenges of the work-life balance.