Nikki A. Greene

Nikki Greene headshot
(781) 283-2932
B.A., Wesleyan University; M.A., Ph.D., University of Delaware
Nikki A. Greene
Assistant Professor of Art

Art historian examining African and African American identities, music, the body, and feminism in 20th century and contemporary art. 

My book manuscript, Rhythms of Grease, Grime, Glass, and Glitter: The Body in Contemporary Black Art, 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. Recent and upcoming 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 the exhibition catalogue, Alma Thomas (Studio Museum in Harlem & Tang Teaching Museum, 2016); and "Romare Bearden and the Hand of Jazz," in Studies in Music, Art and Performance From Romanticism to Postmodernism: The Musicalisation of Art, edited by Diane Silverthorne (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018).

Much of my research focuses on artists of African descent in the US, but my knowledge of cultures of the Caribbean and Western and Central Africa has allowed me to teach the history of art beyond American borders. Field trips to places like El Museo del Barrio and PS1 in New York City or the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston have provided critical access to works of art. In the spring of 2012, during my two-year tenure as the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Art History and Africana Studies here at Wellesley, students accompanied me on a three-day visit to Philadelphia, where I incorporated a focus on African American art in that city. In January 2013, I gave a series of lectures on African Art at the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. Thus, as I continue to travel to new locations for research and teaching opportunities, such as England and Cuba, I plan to incorporate the many lessons learned abroad into my curriculum as well.

I am increasingly interested in the Digital Humanities. In my seminar, “The Body: Race and Gender in Modern and Contemporary Art,” for example, in an effort to break beyond the confines of the Wellesley College walls, we invested creative energy towards offering our ideas within a public forum vis-à-vis our class blog and Twitter. Combined with meeting artists and scholars on the topic, even virtually through Skype and Google Hangout, theses avenues of communication allowed students to process their readings within private and public spheres for richer class discussions and fruitful conversations beyond our seminar meetings.

During my sabbatical for the 2016-17 academic year, in addition to the the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship, I hold the Richard D. Cohen Fellowship at the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research at Harvard University.

I muse about my academic interests, travel, and the challenges of work-life balance in my blog