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Joanna Grabski (Dean)

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Dean & Foundation Professor
Administrative, POLY Campus, Mailcode 2780
Dean & Foundation Professor
Administrative, POLY Campus, Mailcode 2780
Dean & Foundation Professor
Administrative, POLY Campus, Mailcode 2780
Biography: 

Joanna Grabski is Dean of the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts and Foundation Professor. From July 2017 to June 2021, she served as Director of the School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU. Prior to her appointment at ASU, she held faculty and leadership positions at Denison University, including serving as chair of art history and visual culture as well as director of the Grand Challenge Initiative and the Internationalization Innovation Initiative. She was a Fellow in the fourth cohort of the Advanced Leadership Initiative at ASU in 2020.

Grabski earned her doctorate in art history and African studies from Indiana University. Focusing on artists, art institutions, and urban life, her research methods combine sustained ethnography, visual and textual analysis, and theorization to engage the specificity of place and interpret creative projects. Based on research in Senegal, Congo, and Sri Lanka, her publications address art and urbanization, art world globalization, public art, art pedagogy, fashion and street life, the Dak’Art Biennale of Contemporary Art, visuality and creativity, urban memory, market space, and artistic interpretations of the built environment.

Among her honors, awards, and fellowships are the Art Journal Award and the Millard Meiss Award from the College Art Association, the Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship, the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship, and awards from the Mellon Foundation. Her book, Art World City, received Honorable Mention for the Herskovits Book Prize from the African Studies Association.

Grabski’s book, Art World City: The Creative Economy of Artists and Urban Life in Dakar (IU Press, 2017), examines the intersection of the art scene, urbanization, and art world globalization in Dakar, Senegal. Drawing upon research conducted in Dakar from 1998 to 2014, the book addresses how and why artists produce art, exhibit art, and transact with art world mediators -- curators, journalists, critics, animateurs d’art, and collectors -- from near and far. The book proposes that artistic production, exhibition, and mediation are productive and expressive of the city’s resources, possibilities, and connections. Reading the city as a resource and mediating space, Art World City explores how artists make their careers within the dynamics of urban space, and in doing so, how they navigate the infrastructure of opportunity at home and beyond. In addition to offering an analysis of a famously thriving art scene in an African metropolis, the book also proposes a theoretical paradigm, “the art world city,” a multi-scalar, urban site for artistic production, mediation, and transaction. This theorization accounts for the overlay of the creative economy and the urban environment as well as the interplay of local and global dynamics shaping Dakar.

Grabski also directed and produced the feature length documentary film, Market Imaginary (IU Press, 2013), focused on Dakar’s famously storied Colobane Market as a site for transforming used objects from around the world. Market Imaginary centers the market and the street as paradigmatic spaces to study Dakar specifically and cities more generally. Following its Dakar premiere at the Dak’Art Biennale, the film was screened at several institutions in the USA, Europe, and Africa. She is co-editor of the book, African Art, Interviews, Narratives: Bodies of Knowledge at Work (IU Press 2013) and guest editor for a special issue of Africa Today dedicated to Visual Experience in Urban Africa (2007). She has also contributed to several edited collections and academic journals including African Arts, Art Journal, Fashion Theory, Nka, Présence Francophone, Social Dynamics, and Africa Today.

Education: 

Ph.D. Art History and African Studies, Indiana University

Videos
Market Imaginary Trailer
Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
ARS 499Individualized Instruction
ARS 595Continuing Registration
ARS 599Thesis
ARS 792Research
ARS 795Continuing Registration
ARS 799Dissertation
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
ARS 499Individualized Instruction
Summer 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
ARS 499Individualized Instruction
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
ARS 795Continuing Registration
Summer 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
ARS 499Individualized Instruction
ART 499Individualized Instruction
ARS 592Research
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
ARS 595Continuing Registration
ART 595Continuing Registration
ARS 692Research
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