Department of Art & Art History

Rachel Middleman

Modern and Contemporary Art History

Rachel Middleman is Assistant Professor of Art History at California State University, Chico. She teaches courses in modern, contemporary, and American art history. As Dr. Middleman’s research on contemporary art focuses on instances of social intervention and aesthetic innovation, these interests inform the content of her courses and teaching strategies. With the support of a Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship in American Art, Dr. Middleman received her PhD from the University of Southern California in 2010, along with a Certificate in Visual Studies, from a program that emphasized interdisciplinary theories of the visual. She earned her master’s degree in Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004. She also serves as the executor of feminist artist Anita Steckel’s estate.

As a Smithsonian American Art Museum Postdoctoral Fellow in 2015, Dr. Middleman completed her book manuscript, Radical Eroticism: Women, Art and Sex in the 1960s (forthcoming with the University of California Press). She has published articles from this research in Art Journal, Woman’s Art Journal, and the Swedish art history journal, Konsthistorisk tidskrift. Forthcoming publications on other projects include a chapter on figurative painter Joan Semmel for an anthology on images of old women in art, a museum exhibition catalog essay on transcendental artist Agnes Pelton, a book chapter on the art museum as a “laboratory” for learning art history, and a co-edited section of Art Journal titled “The Politics of Legacy” on the topic of artists’ estates and art history. Dr. Middleman also writes exhibition reviews and essays for galleries and museums, most recently for CAA Reviews and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. She regularly presents her work nationally at academic conferences and invited museum and gallery panels.