Nikki A. Greene, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Art. Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts & Visual Arts Editor, Transition 

Nikki A. Greene, Ph.D. 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 diaspora identities, the body, feminism, abstraction, 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 of Wellesley College 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. She is the recipient of the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Art and Africana Studies at Wellesley College, the Woodrow Wilson Career Advancement Fellowship, and the Richard D. Cohen Fellowship at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. She was an artist-in-residence at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming in spring 2019. See the ARTnews announcement: “Ucross Foundation Names Artists in Residence for Spring 2019.”

Her forthcoming book, Grime, Glitter, and Glass: The Body and The Sonic in Contemporary Black Art  (Duke University Press, forthcoming 2021) presents a new interpretation of the work of Renée Stout, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, and Radcliffe Bailey, and considers the intersection between the body, black identity, and the sonic possibilities of the visual using key examples of painting, sculpture, photography, performance, and installation. She was shortlisted for the Creative Capital Warhol Art Writers Grant in 2018 and 2019.

Greene’s essays have appeared in American Studies Journal, Aperture, Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art, The Delaware Review of Latin American Studies, and WBUR Boston. Greene has also written for The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Guggenheim Museum, Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others.

Her most recent essay, “Thomas McKellar sous rature: John Singer Sargent’s Erasure of a Black Model,” appears in the exhibition catalogue Boston’s Apollo: Thomas McKeller and John Singer Sargent (Yale University Press, 2020) for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. She is also currently organizing two exhibitions: the first retrospective of the abstract painter Moe Brooker at the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia (2022) and an exhibition on contemporary performance art by Black female artists. (Visit “Publications” for an extended bibliography.)

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

Recent & Upcoming Events

“The Erasure of Thomas McKellar.” Invited Lecturer. For the Boston’s Apollo: Thomas McKeller and John Singer Sargent exhibition. The Isabella Gardner Museum. Virtual Lecture Date TBD.

“Visual Aesthetic Musicality: Sonic Associations in Black Art.” Robert E. & Avis Tarrant Burke Lecture Series, 2019-2020. Department of Art History. Indiana University. Postponed due to Covid19 closures.

“Radcliffe Bailey’s ‘Thirst Traps’: On the Visual Aesthetic Musicality of Black Art.” Department of Art History and Communication Studies. McGill University. Montreal, Canada. February 20, 2020.

Handmade Photography Today Symposium. The Davis Museum & the Photographic Resource Center. Moderator. Wellesley, MA. March 7, 2020. Postponed due to Covid19 closures.

“The Performance Art Syllabus.” Performing Missing Narratives: Representation, Diversity, and Museums. Colloquium convened by Cheryl Finley and Dorothy Moss. The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA. November 20-21, 2019.

Newhouse Center Faculty Series: “Sugar makes me cry”: María Magdalena Campos-Pons and the Performance of Bittersweet Histories. September 23, 2019.

“Scholar to Scholar: Kimberly Juanita Brown and Nikki A. Greene in Conversation.” On the occasion of the “Nine Moments For Now” exhibition curated by Dell M. Hamilton. The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery. Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. January 2019. Photos by Melissa Blackall.

Nikki A. Greene with WBUR’s Radio Boston host, Meghna Chakrabarti.

Radio Boston: “Eating While Black: Smith College Employee Reported Student Who ‘Seemed Out Of place.’” Guest appearance with Gelonnie Smith, graduate of Smith College and past co-chair of the school’s Black Student Alliance. August 3, 2018.

It is better to speak of remembering. Panel discussion for the exhibition Alexandria Smith: A Litany for Survival. Faye G., Jo, and James Stone Gallery. Boston University. With artists Tomashi Jackson,
Ja’Tovia Gary, and Nontsikelelo Mutiti. November 15, 2018. 

For other events, visit “What’s Next?”

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