Branden W. Joseph

Frank Gallipoli Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art

Post-War American and European Art
Ph.D., Harvard University, 1999

Contact Information

Phone: (212) 854-2811 
Office: 613 Schermerhorn Hall
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 2-4


Branden W. Joseph received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1999.  His first book, Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-Avant-Garde, examined all aspects of the artist's development from 1951 to 1971 — including painting, sculpture, "Combines," and performance — from a theoretical perspective drawing from Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, and Georges Bataille.  Joseph's further work on Rauschenberg has appeared in journals from October magazine to the Journal of Art History (Stockholm), as well as in the Robert Rauschenberg: Combines retrospective catalogue (LACMA, 2005). 

Joseph's area of specialization is post-War American and European art, focusing particularly on those individuals and practices that cross medium and disciplinary boundaries between visual art, music, and film. Present in the book on Rauschenberg, these concerns have been explored further in the books: Anthony McCall: The Solid Light Films and Related Works (Northwestern/Steidl, 2005) and Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage (Zone Books, 2008).

Beyond the Dream Syndicate followed Tony Conrad's trajectory through New York's interconnected artistic scenes of the 1960s to forge a new genealogy of the development and stakes of minimal art and music, structural and underground film, "concept art," and experimental rock and roll, discussing in detail not only Conrad's multifaceted production, but also the work of Robert Morris, Henry Flynt, Jack Smith, and La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, among others. Joseph's most recent book, The Roh and the Cooked: Tony Conrad and Beverly Grant in Europe (August Verlag, 2012) forms a modest sequel, of sorts, to Beyond the Dream Syndicate, tracing the development of Conrad and Grant's life and work into the 1970s in the context of the continued "crisis" of structural and experimental cinema, as voiced by such artists and filmmakers as Conrad and Grant, Wilhelm and Birgit Hein, Malcolm LeGrice, Lis Rhodes, Annabel Nicolson, Carolee Schneemann, Valie Export, Otto Muehl, and Otmar Bauer.

Joseph's writings have also appeared in Artforum, Bookforum, Art Journal, October, Critical Inquiry, Texte zur Kunst, Parkett, and Les Cahiers du Musée national d'art moderne, as well as in such catalogues as CTRL [SPACE]: Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother (MIT Press, 2002), X-Screen: Film Installations and Actions in the 1960s and 1970s (Walther König, 2003), Angela Bulloch: Prime Numbers (Walther König, 2006), The Anarchy of Silence: John Cage and Experimental Art (MACBA, 2009), and John Miller: A Refusal to Accept Limits (JRP/Ringier, 2010).

Joseph is also a founding editor of Grey Room, a scholarly and theoretical journal of architecture, art, media, and politics published quarterly by MIT Press since the fall of 2000.  To date Grey Room has featured work by such prominent historians and theorists as Yve-Alain Bois, Judith Butler, Georges Canguilhem, Hubert Damisch, Friedrich Kittler, Chantal Mouffe, Antonio Negri, Paolo Virno, Paul Virilio, and Samuel Weber.

Selected Publications

The Roh and the Cooked: Tony Conrad and Beverly Grant in Europe. Berlin: August Verlag, 2012.

Random Order. Robert Rauschenberg et la néo-avant-garde (with new preface).
Trans. Anaël Lejeune, Olivier Mignon, Raphaël Pirenne.
Brussels: Éditions (SIC), collection Continental drift, 2012.

Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage. New York: Zone Books, 2008.

Anthony McCall: The Solid Light Films and Related Works. Text, Branden W. Joseph; interview with the artist, Jonathan Walley; ed., Christopher Eamon. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press/Göttingen: Steidl, 2005.

Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-Avant-Garde. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003.  Paperback edition, 2007.

Kim Gordon, Is It My Body? Selected Texts (ed. and intro.) Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2014.

Robert Rauschenberg (ed. and preface). Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002.  Essays by Leo Steinberg, Rosalind Krauss, Douglas Crimp, Helen Molesworth, and Branden W. Joseph.

Grey Room (founding editor).

List of Publications PDF