Miwon Kwon


Ph.D. Princeton University, 1998
Phone 310-206-2113
Email mkwon@humnet.ucla.edu
Office Dodd Hall 247A
Office Hours: By appointment only


Miwon Kwon is Professor and Chair of the Department of Art History. Trained in architecture, she holds a M.A. in photography, and has extensive curatorial experience from her tenure at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the early 1990s. She received her Ph.D. in architectural history and theory from Princeton University in 1998, the same year in which she joined the faculty at UCLA to teach contemporary art history (post-1945). Kwon’s research and writings have engaged several disciplines including contemporary art, architecture, public art and urban studies. She was a founding co-editor and publisher of Documents, a journal of art, culture, and criticism (1992-2004), and serves on the advisory board of October magazine. She is the author of One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity (MIT Press, 2002), as well as lengthy essays on the work of many contemporary artists, including Francis Alÿs, Michael Asher, Cai Guo-Qiang, Jimmie Durham, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Barbara Kruger, Christian Marclay, Ana Mendieta, Josiah McElheny, Christian Philipp Müller, Gabriel Orozco, Jorge Pardo, Richard Serra, James Turrel, and Do Ho Suh, among others. She co-organized a major historical exhibition in 2012 entitled “Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974,” with Philipp Kaiser, which was on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and traveled to Haus der Kunst in Münich, Germany, that same year. The College Art Association gave the exhibition catalogue of the same title (published by Prestel) the 2013 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for the most distinguished catalogue in the history of art, published in the English language under the auspices of a museum, library, or collection.



  • One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. MIT Press, 2002.
  • Co-editor, Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974. Los Angeles and Munich: Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Haus der Kunst, Munich, and distributed by Prestel, 2012.



  • AH 131B Contemporary Art, 1960s to 1970s: Study of ambitions and contexts of pop art, minimalism, conceptual art, feminist art, performance, land art, and more.
  • AH 131C Contemporary Art, 1980s to 1990s: Study of politics of representation at end of century, covering dominant strategies and trends in postmodernist art.
  • AH 132 Selected Topics in Contemporary Art: Changing topics in contemporary art (post-1945).



  • AH 200 Art Historical Theories and Methodologies: A critical examination of history of discipline of art history, with studies of various theoretical, critical, and methodological approaches to visual arts from antiquity to present.
  • AH 201 Topics in Historiography of Art History: A critical examination of historiographic traditions of specific areas and fields within discipline of art history, concentrating on particular time periods, geographical areas, artistic traditions, or work of one or more authors; recent iterations have engaged doctoral candidates with investigation of and engagement with LACMA.
  • AH 232 Contemporary Art: Selected topics in contemporary art, criticism, and theory, including:

•  “Exchange Rate”
“Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974”
“Fluxus Means Change””Returns of Feminist Futures”
“Robert Mapplethorpe and the Building of a Legacy” (in collaboration: Britt Salvesen, LACMA)
•  “Curatorial Productions: The Case of Harald Szeemann” (in collaboration: Glenn Philipps, Getty

            Research Institute)

        •  “Contemporary Sculpture After Sculpture: Models, Counter-Histories” (in collaboration: George Baker)

  • AH 273 Studies in Materials and Production of Artworks: Designed to expose students to material properties and technical production issues related to making of artworks. Introduction to processes of construction, fabrication, maintenance, preservation, and more. Hands-on demonstrations and workshops to deepen understanding of significance of choices that artists make in choice of materials. Processes of making that can impact final physical forms as well as aesthetic meanings that can attach to it. Combination of theoretical, ethical, and practical questions that confront conservators as well as those specializing in technical art history. Most recent course was co-taught with LACMA curator Britt Salvesen on the topic of photography.