Nicole L. Woods

Assistant Professor, Modern & Contemporary

Nicole Woods



Nicole L. Woods is a historian of modern and contemporary art, criticism, and cultural theory at the University of Notre Dame. Her research focuses on the Euro-American neo-avant-gardes, performance and conceptual art, intersectional feminism, critical race theory, globalism and taste cultures, and the history of photography and time-based media.  Her current book project is the first in-depth study of the diverse practice of pioneering Fluxus artist, Alison Knowles (forthcoming, University of Chicago Press). She is the scholarly consultant for the premier retrospective of Knowles’s life and work (Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, opening July 2022), funded by the Terra Foundation of American Art. A second project surveys the convergence of feminism, political radicalism, and expanded media art practices in the late 1960s-1970s. Woods’s interdisciplinary approach includes a reexamination of the widespread use of food by artists in the 1970s in the form of political critique, as well as the intersection of modernism, street art, and experimental architecture. She is presently writing on African-American painter Bob Thompson and his role in early Happenings, for which she was awarded a Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. Her essays and criticism have appeared in Art Journal, Performance ResearchX-TRA: A Contemporary Art Quarterly, Radical Philosophy, caa.reviewsand the Walker Art Center.

Woods’s research has been generously supported by Creative Capital | The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (Arts Writers Grant); The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago, IL; and the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, University of Notre Dame.

Woods is also Concurrent Assistant Professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theater, and the Program in Gender Studies.

Before joining the AAHD department, Woods taught at the University of California, Irvine and Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. Her teaching surveys the history of modern and contemporary art, especially in Western Europe and the Americas. Courses include: Global Modern/Contemporary Art; 20th Century Modernism; 19th Century European Art; Performance Art and the Body; Pop/Fluxus/ Minimalism; History of Avant-Garde Film, Art, and Media; and the History of Photography. Specialized seminars have covered topics such as: social activism and post-studio art practice; the historical avant-gardes; institutional critique and conceptual art. 

At Notre Dame, Woods founded two lecture series Art | Vision | Agency and Trends in Contemporary Art. Both series aim to connect the most innovative, multinational scholars, designers, artists, curators, gallerists, and editors with the larger University community.


B.A., with distinction, Art History, University of California, Los Angeles
M.A., Ph.D., Visual Studies and Critical Theory, University of California, Irvine


Office Address
345 Decio Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Mailing Address
306 Riley Hall of Art
Notre Dame, IN 46556

ph: 574.631.1501

Curriculum Vitae