Branden W. Joseph

Branden W. Joseph
Art History and Archaeology
Frank Gallipoli Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art

Branden W. Joseph’s area of specialization is North American and European art after the Second World War, with a particular focus on those individuals and practices that cross medium and disciplinary boundaries between art, music, and cinema.  His teaching covers subjects in the areas of modern and contemporary art, structural film, expanded cinema, experimental music, sound studies, and performance.

His investigations into the intersection of media and media technologies upon contemporary art were foregrounded in his first book, Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-Avant-Garde (MIT Press, 2003), which examined the surreptitious connections between Rauschenberg’s silkscreen paintings and television as well as the artist’s pursuit of more advanced technologies in his multimedia sculptural and performance works of the latter part of the 1960s.  Further engagements with issues of media, technology, and spectacle have been addressed throughout Joseph’s subsequent publications, including the books Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage (Zone Books, 2008); The Roh and the Cooked: Tony Conrad and Beverly Grant in Europe (August Verlag, 2012); Anthony McCall: The Solid Light Films and Related Works (Northwestern University Press, 2005), and Experimentations: John Cage in Music, Art, and Architecture (Bloomsbury, 2016) and articles on such artists as Angela Bulloch, Carolee Schneemann, Kim Gordon, Jutta Koether, Andy Warhol, Seth Price, Paul Sharits, Claes Oldenburg, and Cameron Jamie. 

Joseph is co-curator of Copy Machine Manifestos: Artists Who Make Zines at the Brooklyn Museum, the first historical exhibition of the artists’ zine as a medium and genre, covering five decades of work in North America by over 100 artists, which opened in November 2023 and travels to the Vancouver Art Gallery in May of 2024. He was also curator of Disparate Visual Facts (Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York, 2023), consulting curator on the large-scale, traveling retrospective Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Painting (Museum der Moderne, Salzburg; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main; and MoMA PS1, New York, 2015-2018), and co-curator of Tony Oursler, UFOs, and Effigies (Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery, Columbia, 2013). In addition, Joseph has published in a wide variety of magazines and journals, including Artforum, Bookforum, Texte zur Kunst, October, Critical Inquiry, and Les Cahiers du Musé national d’art moderne.

Joseph was also a founding editor of Grey Room, a scholarly journal that was instrumental in forging new connections between art history and media theory.  During the more than ten years in which Joseph was an editor, Grey Room published some of the most significant work of such media scholars and theorists as Wendy Chun, Eva Horn, Friedrich Kittler, Markus Krajewski, Mara Mills, Claus Pias, Bernhard Siegert, Paul Virilio, Paolo Virno, Cornelia Vismann, Joseph Vogl, Samuel Weber, and others.

Copy Machine Manifestos: Artists Who Make Zines (ed. with Drew Sawyer).  New York: Phaidon and Brooklyn Museum, 2023.

Carolee Schneemann, Uncollected Texts (ed. and intro.) Brooklyn, NY: Primary Information, 2018. 

Experimentations: John Cage in Music, Art, and Architecture. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016.

Kim Gordon, Is It My Body? Selected Texts (ed. and intro.) Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2014.

The Roh and the Cooked: Tony Conrad and Beverly Grant in Europe. Berlin: August Verlag, 2012.

Random Order. Robert Rauschenberg et la néo-avant-garde (with new preface). Trans. Anaël Lejeune, Olivier Mignon, Raphaël Pirenne.  Brussels: Éditions (SIC), collection Continental drift, 2012.

Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage. New York: Zone Books, 2008.

Anthony McCall: The Solid Light Films and Related Works. Text, Branden W. Joseph; interview with the artist, Jonathan Walley; ed., Christopher Eamon. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press/Göttingen: Steidl, 2005.

Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-Avant-Garde. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003.  Paperback edition, 2007.

Robert Rauschenberg (ed. and preface). Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002.  Essays by Leo Steinberg, Rosalind Krauss, Douglas Crimp, Helen Molesworth, and Branden W. Joseph.

Grey Room (founding editor).

List of Publications (PDF)