Nikki A. Greene, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of the Arts of Africa and the African Diaspora in the Art Department at Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts | Visual Arts Editor, Transition 


Nikki A. Greene - Jewett Art Center
Photo by Samara Pearlstein

Nikki A. Greene received her BA with honors 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 is the Visual Arts Editor of Transition, published by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University (Indiana University Press).

Dr. Greene joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Art Department in 2013. She has traveled throughout the United States and internationally, including to Chile, England, Italy, and South Africa, to deliver lectures on the Arts of the African diaspora. 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. During her sabbatical for the 2016-17 academic year, she held the Richard D. Cohen Fellowship at the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center at Harvard University and the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship.

Her book manuscript, Rhythms of Grease, Grime, Glass, and Glitter: The Body in Contemporary Black Art (under review), presents a new interpretation of the work of David Hammons, Renée Stout, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, and Radcliffe Bailey, and considers the intersection between the body, black identity, and the musical possibilities of the visual.

Select recent publications include: “The Feminist Funk Power of Betty Davis and Renée Stout” in American Studies Journal (Fall 2013); “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 Alma Thomas (Studio Museum in Harlem & Tang Teaching Museum, 2016); and “David Hammons as Esu,” in Dark Humor: Joyce J. Scott and Peter Williams (Towson University, 2017). She also wrote about teaching art history in the digital age in “Beyond ‘Mona Lisa Smile’: Art, Race and Social Media on Campus” for WBUR’s Edify.  Greene’s summer 2016 blog post “Eating Ice Cream While Black (Or My Life in Wellesley, Mass)” on microaggressions received local and national attention and was featured on WBUR Boston’s Cognescenti and on Radio Boston to discuss “The Challenge of Raising Kids of Color in a Homogenous Community.”

This year’s forthcoming publications include:  “Romare Bearden and the Hand of Jazz,” in Music, Art and Performance From Liszt to Riot Grrrl: The Musicalisation of Art, edited by Diane Silverthorne (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018); “Habla LAMADRE: María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Carrie Mae Weems, and Black Feminist Performance,” in Beyond the Face: New Perspectives on Portraiture, edited by Wendy Wick Reeves (Giles in association with the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, 2018); and “Vibrations in the Soul: Moe Brooker and the Influence Vassily Kandinsky,” in Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art (June 2018).

Nikki A. Greene is originally from Newark, NJ, and she lives with her husband and two children in Massachusetts. She “muses” here about her scholarly interests, travel, and the challenges of the work-life balance.


February 22, 2018

“’Spectacle of Vitality’: The Legacy of Manuel Mendive and Performance Art at the Second Havana Biennial.” Panel: Biennials of the Global South: Charting Transnational Networks of Exchange. College Art Association Conference. Los Angeles Convention Center. Los Angeles, CA. February 2018.

March 22-24 

Black Portraiture{s} IV: The Color of Science.

“Fear in Transition Magazine”

The Hutchins Center’s Transition magazine and the Kenya-based Jalada, a pan-African writers’ collective, joined forces to present a special issue on the theme of Fear. Artists Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Helina MetaferiaSteve Locke and poet Enzor Silon Surin will discuss their multimedia works as included in the “Fear” issue of Transition #123/Jalada #5. Nikki A. Greene, moderator

April 5, 2018

Opening Keynote Lecture. 29th Annual James A. Porter Colloquium: Abstraction: Form, Philosophy & Innovation. Howard University, Washington, DC. April 2018.

April 21, 2018

Kinda, Sorta: The Freedom of Expression in Abstraction.” Fifth Exposure: The Dark Room Race and Visual Culture Faculty Seminar Symposium. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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