Julian Nykolak

College of Arts and Letters
Art / Art History
Office FA259


Julian Nykolak is an art historian specializing in postwar art. He received his PhD from the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester and his BA from Wesleyan University. His research illuminates the significance of collective artistic formations to rethink theories of the avant-garde and histories of identity, difference, and relationality in twentieth-century art. He teaches widely in modern and contemporary art history.

Nykolak's research has received support from the Whitney Independent Study Program and the Chateaubriand Fellowship in the Humanities and Social Sciences. He has given talks at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Princeton University, and the Institute national d'histoire de l'art, and at the annual conferences of the College Art Association, Association for Art History (UK), Modernist Studies Association, and Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present.
Sample courses offered
Art since 1945
Global Contemporary Art
Art History Seminar: Modern & Contemporary 
Special Topics: Gender, Sexuality, and Modern Art
Special Topics: From Rococo to Revolution
World Art II: Renaissance to Contemporary
Recent publications
"Supports/Surfaces, Scission, and the Structure of the Avant-Garde," Art History 43, no. 1 (February 2020): 94-119.  
"On Moving and Touching: From Kineticism to Dance in the Museum," Art Journal 78, no. 4 (Winter 2019): 38-57.  
"Painting with Desire: Color and Collectivity, 1972-1974," Selva 1, special issue, "Painting after 1968" (October 2019): 29-62.
Various catalog entries in Outliers and American Vanguard Art, ed. Lynne Cooke (Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 2018).
"A Blueprint for Utopia," in Luc Tuymans: Intolerance (Antwerp: Ludion, 2015), 68-72.