Lucian Gomoll is an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Humanities. He earned his Ph.D. in History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz, his M.A. in Performance Studies at New York University, and his B.A. (Honors) in Women’s Studies and Literature with minors in Anthropology and the History of Art at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Professor Gomoll’s book manuscript, Performativity and Difference in Museums, historicizes and theorizes various ways that bodies have been incorporated into exhibitions and archives. He resists a common presentism and rhetoric of “the new” in discussions of performance, interactivity, and experience in museums, connecting recent trends to ways that bodies have been displayed and collected since the early nineteenth century. The book approaches race, gender, disability and species, not as ahistorical constructs, but as relational, material formations that are linked to power and are inflected by institutions such as museums as well as the networks that exceed their borders. In addition to the nuances of specific exhibitions, performances, and archival materials, Gomoll studies discourses in the history of art and the history of anthropology, with an attention to how they have shaped — and been shaped by — museology.
His research has been supported by a Eugene Cota-Robles (UC Diversity) Presidential Fellowship, a James and Sylvia Thayer Fellowship, an Irvine Memorial Fellowship, a Porter Fellowship, and an Institute for Humanities Research Dissertation Fellowship.
Gomoll served as Director of Museum and Curatorial Studies (MACS) at UC Santa Cruz from 2009-2012, hosting lectures by scholars such as Griselda Pollock, Amelia Jones, Amy Lonetree, and Irit Rogoff. In 2010, he organized with Lissette Olivares the international conference The Task of the Curator: Translation, Intervention and Innovation in Exhibitionary Practice at UC Santa Cruz (keynote: James Clifford; speakers: Sylvester Ogbechie, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Paul Chaat Smith, Anthony Shelton, Shannon Jackson, Jennifer A. González, Catherine Soussloff, Nancy Lutkehaus, among others), which was lauded as a “landmark event” by the UCLA International Institute.
His writing has been published in numerous journals, edited volumes and exhibition catalogs, and he was a guest editor for a special issue of the journal Collections on the topic of curating (vol 7, no 4; 2011). An active curator, Gomoll has presented his research to diverse audiences in museums and libraries. He is developing with Lissette Olivares an exhibition on Chilean feminist/queer art and political performances (1970-present) that resist dictatorship and neoliberalism. This eight-gallery production will occupy the entire second floor of the Allende Museum in Santiago (2013-2014), after which it will travel internationally, accompanied by an edited volume.
Professor Gomoll is a faculty mentor for the Quest Scholars Network, which provides talented yet underprivileged students the opportunity to attend a top-tier college or university.
This year, he is teaching an original senior seminar as part of the Center for the Humanities research theme Temporality: Stasis, Repetition, Transformation. CHUM 320: Museum Chronotopes is a theory course that surveys exhibitionary paradigms for spatializing and mapping temporality. Topics include (partial list): the Louvre’s diachronic order of historical progress that culminated with the supposed paragon of French painting; the 19C scientific reliance on exhibitions to introduce publics to evolutionary time; the synchronic and “timeless” modern white cube; exhibitionary denial of coevalness to indigenous/colonized peoples; articulations of coevalness and futures for non-Western arts and cultures; virtual and “delirious” museums outside of real time and space; recent emphases on ephemeral temporalities and “the contemporary” in art and culture museums.