Solveig Nelson


Solveig Nelson is an art critic and PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Chicago. She defended her dissertation The Whole World is (Still) Watching in October 2018. Her scholarship focuses on the history and criticism of early video art; the visual and performative strategies of nonviolent direct action; and questions of art and the televisual. She is currently a Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow in Time-Based Media, Art Institute of Chicago, where she is working on a two year Mellon Time-Based Media Initiative, a focus that continued from her 2017-18 (COSI) Curatorial Writing Fellow at the Art Institute of Chicago and 2016-17 Chester Dale Fellowship in the Department of Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Nelson is the 2018 recipient of a Denniston Hill artist/writing residency and a 2017-2018 recipient of a Creative Capital Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for the article, “Gretchen Bender’s Total Recall, 1987, and the Feminist Return to Television Art.” She has written art criticism for Artforum since 2012, including a feature essay on Simone Forti's holograms in September 2018 and longer pieces on Chicago's Thing Magazine,  Steve McQueen, “The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music 1965-now,” Anna and Lawrence Halprin, and Gretchen Bender. Her dissertation research has been supported, in addition to the above museum fellowships, by the Luce/ACLS and the Getty Library Grant. Her MA thesis at The University of Chicago considered Ken Dewey's mixed media installation Selma Last Year, 1966. Self-designed courses taught at the University of Chicago include "Art in Chicago" (2018), “History of Early Video Art” (Fall 2013) and “New Queer Cinema/Art of the Culture Wars, 1980s-90s” (Winter 2015). Previously she worked as the fiction editor of The Baffler; collaborated with Sadie Benning on the video installation, Play Pause, 2006; and programmed literary events at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Hyde Park, Chicago.