Dr. Alpesh Kantilal Patel is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami and an affiliate faculty member of both the Center for Women and Gender Studies and the African and African American diaspora program. The director of the MFA program in visual arts from 2012 to 2017, he co-launched the curatorial practice track of the MFA in 2013. He is currently associated with the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University as a Visiting Scholar.
His art historical scholarship, curating and criticism reflect his queer, anti-racist, and transnational approach to contemporary art. The author of Productive failure: writing queer transnational South Asian art histories (Manchester University Press, 2017), he also has produced an artist book and edited several catalogs in connection to exhibitions he curated. He is currently working on two new books: a single-authored book “Transregional Entanglements: Sexual Artistic Geographies” and, with curator Yasmeen Siddiqui, an anthology titled “Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Storytellers of Art’s Histories” (under contract with Intellect Books) as part of artist Sharon Louden’s Living and Sustaining a Creative Life series. Both books are expected to be published in 2021.
Some of the subjects Alpesh has explored in anthologies and journals include the relationship between the writing of queer feminist art’s histories and curating; artists’ creative responses to gaps in LGBT*QI archives; the possibility of “subject-less” art histories; embodied, agonistic museum viewing practices; creolized and creolizing civic space; failed, “decolonial spictacles”; and erasure of homosexuality in contemporary art criticism. His research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Endowment of Humanities, Arts Council England, Fulbright Foundation, European Union Erasmus+ Program, and Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Alpesh has co-organized academic panels at the annual conferences of Performance Studies international (PSi), College Art Association (CAA), and Association for Art History (AAH), and he has lectured at museums and universities across the United States and Europe. A frequent contributor of exhibition reviews to international art magazines such as Artforum, artforum.com, Art in America, frieze and Hyperallergic.com, Alpesh was also the editor of contemporary art book reviews for caa.reviews from 2015-18.
An active curator, Alpesh has organized exhibitions in the United States and Europe. He helped establish FIU’s Miami Beach Urban Studios (MBUS) as a Cultural Anchor of Miami Beach in 2012. At MBUS, Alpesh organized solo exhibitions of artists such as mounir fatmi, Tom Scicluna, Paul Donald and Saravanan Parasuraman as well as group exhibitions, such as WOMEN我們 exploring queer Chinese feminist art. In 2007, he produced the British Art Council-funded and multi-sited project Mixing It Up: Queering Curry Mile and Currying Canal Street in England.
Alpesh worked in NYC from 1998 to 2005, specifically as part of the curatorial departments and director’s offices of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the New Museum of Contemporary Art. He assisted on a number of contemporary art exhibitions and publications as well as organized symposia, such as those on museum architecture and collecting in connection to the New Museum’s building project on the Bowery. Also, in collaboration with John Waters in 2004, he organized a marathon screening of all of the auteur’s films entitled, “Dusk ’til Dawn: The Films of John Waters.”
Alpesh received his PhD in Art History & Visual Studies from the University of Manchester and a BA in History of Art with distinction from Yale University.