David J. Getsy

Eleanor Shea Professor of Art History
Affiliated Faculty, Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Department of Art
Office location and address
Fayerweather 303
B.A. with Highest Honors, Oberlin College, 1995
M.A., Northwestern University, 1996
Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2002

Working at the intersection of art history, queer studies, and transgender studies, David J. Getsy’s writings have addressed the ways in which non-normative genders and sexualities have been fundamental to the shape of art history’s narratives. His current research focuses on histories of queer and transgender performance art in 1970s New York City. This is the terrain of his newest book, Queer Behavior: Scott Burton and Performance Art, forthcoming from University of Chicago Press in Summer 2022, as well as two related research projects: first, a monograph on Stephen Varble based on the retrospective exhibition Rubbish and Dreams: The Genderqueer Performance Art of Stephen Varble that Getsy curated for the Leslie-Lohman Museum, New York, in 2018–19 and, second, a book on performance art’s geographic and social proximities to the Stonewall uprising and the modern LGBT rights movement in the United States.

His earlier books include Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender (Yale University Press, 2015), which was the first study to bridge art history and transgender studies. He is also editor of the widely-read anthology of contemporary artists’ writings, Queer (MIT Press, 2016). A specialist in the history of modern sculpture, Getsy is the author of Rodin: Sex and the Making of Modern Sculpture (Yale University Press, 2010) and Body Doubles: Sculpture in Britain, 1877–1905 (Yale University Press, 2004). As editor, his other books include From Diversion to Subversion: Games, Play, and Twentieth-Century Art (Penn State University Press, 2011); Scott Burton: Collected Writings on Art and Performance, 1965–1975 (Soberscove, 2012); Sculpture and the Pursuit of a Modern Ideal in Britain, c.1880–1930 (Ashgate, 2004); and a co-edited special issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly on “Trans Cultural Production” (2014). His writings have been published in GLQ, TSQ, Art History, Art Journal, Artforum, Criticism, PAJ, ASAP/Journal, and numerous exhibition catalogues. In 2021, he gave a keynote address for the United Kingdom's professional organization for art history, Association for Art History, and in 2022, he received the Award for Distinction from the College Art Association for best article published in the association's journal, Art Journal ("A Syllabus on Transgender and Nonbinary Methods for Art and Art History," co-authored with Che Gossett and re-published open access on Art Journal Open).

Getsy came to the University of Virginia in 2021 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he taught from 2005 to 2021 and was the Goldabelle McComb Finn Distinguished Professor of Art History since 2011. At SAIC, he also served as Interim Dean of Graduate Studies, Interim Director of the Low-Residency M.F.A. in Studio program, and Chair of the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism. Internationally, he has been the 2020–2021 Terra Foundation Professor of American Art at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, a Distinguished Visiting Fellow in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London, and an Honorary Visiting Professor in the Department of History of Art at the University of York, United Kingdom. 

ARTH 2559: New Course in History of Art
Credits: 3–4
This course provides the opportunity to offer new topics in the subject History of Art.
ARTH 4591: Undergraduate Seminar in the History of Art
Credits: 3
Subject varies with the instructor, who may decide to focus attention either on a particular period, artist, or theme, or on the broader question of the aims and methods of art history. Subject is announced prior to each registration period. Representative subjects include the life and art of Pompeii, Roman painting and mosaics, history and connoisseurship of baroque prints, art and politics in revolutionary Europe, Picasso and painting, and problems in American art and culture. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
ARAH 8695: Special Reading Problems
Credits: 3–12
Special Reading Problems

University of Virginia Press

Editorial Board
September 2021–present

Search Committee (Sculpture)

February 2022–May 2022

Graduate Committee, Department of Art

September 2021–present

Historians of British Art

Board Member & Chair of Grants Committee

Fire Island Artist Residency

Board Member

OTV: Open Television

Board of Directors & Advisory Board

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Advisory Council

The Art Bulletin

Chair, Editorial Board

Award for Distinction, best article published in Art Journal in 2021, given by College Art Association, 2022 (for “A Syllabus on Transgender and Nonbinary Methods for Art and Art History,” co-authored with Che Gossett)

Dedalus Foundation Senior Fellowship, 2019

• Terra Foundation Fellowship in American Art, 2018 (appointed to John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität, Berlin, for 2020-2021)

• Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Curatorial Research Grant, 2015 and 2018

• Distinguished Visiting Fellowship, Queen Mary University of London, School of English and Drama, 2017

• Jean Goldman Annual Book Prize (for Scott Burton: Collected Writings), School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2015

• Clark Fellowship, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2012

• Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellowship, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), National Gallery of Art, 2009-2010

• J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship, Getty Foundation, 2004-2005 (in residence at Harvard University, Department of History of Art and Architecture)

• Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Leslie Center for the Humanities, Dartmouth College, 2002-2004

• Postdoctoral Fellowship, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2002

• Samuel H. Kress Foundation Fellowship in the History of Art, held at Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, 2000-2002

• Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, 1995-1996