Ph.D. Yale University, 2008
Irene V. Small is Associate Professor in the Department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University and teaches contemporary art and criticism within a global context. Her areas of interest include experimental practices of the 1960s and ’70s, legacies of abstraction, temporalities of art, problems of methodology and interpretation, relationality and the social implications of form. Small’s work engages a variety of geopolitical formations and transnational, translocal contexts, and has paid particular attention to art and theory in Latin America, notably Brazil. Her book, Hélio Oiticica: Folding the Frame (University of Chicago Press, 2016) examines the practice of the Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica and the emergence of a participatory art paradigm in the mid-1960s. Her essays and criticism have appeared in such publications as October, Third Text, ARTMargins, Artforum, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, The Brooklyn Rail, and the Getty Research Journal.
Small is currently working on a new book inspired by Brazilian artist Lygia Clark's concept of the "organic wall," a line of space that exists between a painting and its base, a door and its lintel, or floor tiles. The book tracks the emergence of the concept in Clark’s work circa 1954, but also comprehends the organic line as a generative conceptual tool, one that does expansive aesthetic, epistemological, and political work well beyond Clark’s immediate context. In addition, Small is at work on several essays that examine media-based practices: one considers the typed drawings of the Swiss-Brazilian artist Mira Schendel in relation to the nomadic philosopher Vilém Flusser’s notion of the “technical image”; another treats the proto-photographic experiments of the 19th century French-Brazilian inventor Hércules Florence through rubrics of remediation and digitalization.
At Princeton, she is also a member of the executive committees of the Program in Media and Modernity, the Gauss Seminars in Criticism, and the Program in Latin American Studies.