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Melinda Guillen



PhD 2019

I am a writer and curator based in Los Angeles and San Diego. I specialize in post-war American contemporary art history and feminist theory. My dissertation, tentatively titled "Don't Need You: A Radical Feminist Revision of Conceptual Art Practices in the United States, 1966-1980" argues that the canon of art history (as just one known example of a patriarchal institution) has yet to contend with the social and critical contributions of feminist theory and praxis, primarily radical, intersectional, and postcolonial theories of representation. I explore the concepts of withdrawal, refusal, and separatism in the works of Adrian Piper, Ana Mendieta, Lucy R. Lippard, and Lee Lozano. I have also published essays and presented on panels in other areas including socially engaged art criticism, art and technology, public art, urban studies and spatial politics, social movements, DIY culture, and humor as a critical device.

-“If Not Now, When?: Locating Feminism in Social Practice”
Institutionalizing and Self-Institutionalizing Art as Social Practice in the 21st Century
The 11th Annual International Conference on Arts in Society
University of California, Los Angeles
August 2016

-“Time Spent” (on the artist Laurie Jo Reynolds) in ‘What’s the Use: Constellations on Art, History, and Knowledge – A Critical Reader’ (Valiz, Amsterdam, 2016).
Contributing author

-“No Longer Extant: artistic production and structural demolition” featuring works by Cayetano Ferrer and Adela Goldbard and a screening program of films by Gordon Matta-Clark, Dan Graham, Ana Mendieta, and “Sheds” by Crawford & Fiore, a film about Robert Smithson’s “Partially Buried Woodshed” (1970).
Visual Arts Gallery – Structural and Materials Engineering (SME)
University of California, San Diego
March – June 2015

-“Religion in Drag: The Political Stakes of 'Dematerialization' in Argentina and the United States during the Vietnam War Era”
as part of the panel “The Transnational 60’s: Concept and Critique”
College Art Association (CAA) Annual Conference, New York City
February 2017

From January-March 2012, I was the writer-in-residence for the feminist collective CamLab at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and I also was part of the organizing team that produced Suzanne Lacy’s “Three Weeks in January” (2012) for Pacific Standard Time’s Performance & Public Art Festival.

Since 2013, I have collaborated with artist Artemisa Clark on a zine project called Sensitive Boys focused on humor, gender, and emotions in and out of art. Issue 1:“Feeling Feelings” published Spring 2013 and Issue 2: “The Cult of Crying” (published in Winter 2014) was released at Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles in 2014.

As part of the Department of Visual Arts, I co-organized the 7th Annual PhD Symposium in the UCSD Department of Visual Arts titled, "After the Fact: Feminist Cultural Production and Temporal Dissonance" on March 8, 2014 with Ph.D. Candidate Marguerite Hodge. I am also a lead organizer, curator, and editor in the Discursive and Curatorial Productions (DCP) research initiative led by Professors Mariana Wardwell and Alena J. Williams.