Terranova, Charissa

Assistant Professor

Office:  JO 3.920

Areas of Specialization:  Post-WWII Art, Architecture and Urbanism and Media Theory

Education: PhD, Architectural History and Theory, Harvard University
MA, Architectural History and Theory, Harvard University
MA, Art History, University of Illinois at Chicago
BA, Art History, University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Charissa N. Terranova is Assistant Professor of Aesthetic Studies at The University of Texas at Dallas. She lectures and teaches seminars on art and architectural history, theory, and criticism and media and new media theory. She is a scholarly writer and freelance curator and critic working both nationally and internationally. She is the Editor of Art, Architecture, and New Media Studies for the scholarly journal Transfers: New Mobility Studies. In January 2010, she stepped down from the position of founding director and curator of Centraltrak: The UT Dallas Artists Residency in order to complete her scholarly manuscript.

Dr. Terranova's book-length manuscript on the automobile and perception is currently under consideration for publication. Titled Automotive Prosthetic: The Car, Technological Mediation, and the Conceptual Turn in Art, 1951-Present, the book focuses on conceptual art, the aesthetic experience of seeing the world in motion through the car window, and the global political economy of the car in the post-WW II period.

Dr. Terranova's current research is an extension of a recently completed manuscript, Automotive Prosthetic: The Car, Technological Mediation, and the Conceptual Turn, 1951-Present, on conceptual art and the automobile. Currently in press, the book re-situates conceptual art in terms of technology and media and new media theory, while also focusing on the transformation of the human body's sensory system brought on by the automobile. The book interprets conceptual art in terms of the kinesthetics of the car and road, bringing together art, architecture, the urban landscape and political economy of war. There are two primary sub-groups within the wider area of her research on mobility, technology and affect: 1.) the relationship between Gestalt psychology, cybernetic technology, kinetic and conceptual art and 2.) a re-reading of the history of conceptual art in terms of the "conceptual turn."

According to the conceptual turn, conceptual art is not an "-ism" that occurred 1964-72 and recurs intermittently as forms of "post-minimalism," "post-conceptualism," or "neo-conceptualism,' but rather a sensibility, attitude and choice. This project is both historically based and a matter of contemporary art criticism. With respect to history, it is rooted in the transformations of the mass media, in particular its exponential growth in the immediate post-WW II period, and a series of platform-like exhibitions on technology and art in the late 1960s by which conceptual art was launched as a cohesive "movement." Gleaned from Dr. Terranova's contemporary art criticism, the idea is based on the following observation: conceptualism is omnipresent. It is grammatical, a choice rather than ism-like style among competitive and engaged contemporary artists.

Dr. Terranova's interests in conceptual art and urban infrastructure may be grouped under her longstanding investigations of decentralized urbanization within the context of art history. Dr. Terranova has also written about the history of la banlieue fran├žaise (French suburb), French town planning, French public housing, and French urbanism. Dr. Terranova regularly publishes essays for exhibition catalogues and in several mass media outlets. She was the founding director and curator of Centraltrak, the only university-backed artist residency in Texas. Dr. Terranova, a recipient of a prestigious Fulbright Grant, holds degrees in architectural theory and history from Harvard University and art history from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She is currently negotiating an exhibition adaptation of her book, Automotive Prosthetic, with two museums in Europe.