The inaugural writing fellow, Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood is a writer, curator, and the James Weldon Johnson Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU. Fleetwood’s research and writing has focused on representations of Blackness in art, performance, and popular culture. Her recent landmark book and exhibition, Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration (2020), investigates the cultural, personal, and aesthetic significance of incarcerated people’s art.
Nicole Fleetwood holds a BPhil (1994) from Miami University and an MA (1998) and PhD (2001) from Stanford University. She is a 2021 MacArthur Fellow. Her book Marking Time is winner of the National Book Critics Award in Criticism, the John Hope Franklin Publication Prize of the American Studies Association, the Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship, and both the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award in art history and the Frank Jewett Mather Award in art criticism from the College Art Association. She is also curator of the touring exhibition Marking Time, which debuted at MoMA PS1 in September 2020. Her other books are On Racial Icons: Blackness and the Public Imagination (2015) and Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness (2011). She recently contributed an essay to Gordon Parks: The Atmosphere of Crime (2020), published jointly by the Gordon Parks Foundation and Museum of Modern Art. Fleetwood is also co-editor of Aperture magazine’s “Prison Nation” issue, focusing on photography’s role in documenting mass incarceration, and co-curator of Aperture’s touring exhibition of the same name. She has co/curated exhibitions and programs on art and mass incarceration at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, the Andrew Freedman Home, Aperture Foundation, Cleveland Public Library, Eastern State Penitentiary, MoMA PS1, Mural Arts Philadelphia, the Zimmerli Art Museum, and Worth Rises. Her work has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, NYPL’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, ACLS, Whiting Foundation, the Art for Justice Fund, Denniston Hill Residency, Schomburg Center for Scholars-in-Residence, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the NEH.
Nicole Fleetwood, cover of Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, 2020.
Installation view, Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, 2021. Photo: John Fields.