Associate Professor, Art History
Kirsi Peltomäki holds a Diploma in Fine Art from the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, Finland. Her M.F.A. in Art and Critical Studies is from the California Institute of the Arts. She earned both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester. She also has a Graduate Certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies from the Susan B. Anthony Center for Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Rochester. Peltomäki’s research analyzes the formation of subjects within discreet institutional frameworks of art, and accesses contemporary discourse in critical theory, cultural studies, visual culture, and feminist theory. Her current research focuses on experiential and participatory art, ranging from 1970s sculpture, conceptual art and institutional critique to adaptations of craft, relational aesthetics, social practice, and installation art. Her recent publications include the book Situation Aesthetics: The Work of Michael Asher (The MIT Press, 2010) and articles in Art Journal, Afterimage, and Framework: The Finnish Art Review.
Peltomäki teaches courses on contemporary art, museum studies, modern art, history of design, and art historical methodology. Since the effective practice of teaching art history requires addressing communities that are at once diverse and overlapping, Peltomäki encourages her students to engage in nuanced critical approaches to art in its many emerging forms. In all teacher-student interactions, she promotes diversity of critical thought by challenging ingrained concepts of art and art history.