Art and Art History

Deborah Barkun Headshot
Deborah Barkun Headshot

Deborah Barkun

As her educational background suggests, Deborah’s teaching and research pursuits explore art and artistic practice as forms of social and intellectual discourse. She is passionate about sharing art with students and views it as significant to any undergraduate program. To this end, she regularly escorts student groups to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Fabric Workshop and Museum, the Barnes Foundation, the UPenn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Neue Galerie, Dia: Beacon, and Philadelphia and Chelsea gallery tours, among others. Her research has been supported by the American Council for Learned Societies, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Giles M. Whiting Foundation for the Humanities, and the Fales Library and Special Collections at New York University. She has presented work in national and international contexts, including Seoul, Milan, Venice, and New York, and recently served as Visiting Scholar in Residence at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.


Art and Art History


  • B.F.A., Carnegie Mellon University
  • M.A. Bryn Mawr College
  • Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College


Art in the Contemporary Moment


Art Crime: Looting, Theft, Fraud, and Forgery

Gender Issues in Art and Art History

History and Theory of Photography

Special Topics in Contemporary Art

Critical Perspectives in Art and Art History

History of Art Senior Capstone

Survey of Art History

Research Interests

Art Collectives

Artistic Collaboration

Visual Culture of HIV/AIDS

Contemporary Art

Emerging Artists

Art Crime

Economics of the Art Market

Art of Incarcerated People

Recent Work

“Whereabouts Uncertain: Reading Subversion in half/angel’s The Knitting Map in Cork, Ireland and Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania,” Textiles, Community, and Controversy (London: Bloomsbury) forthcoming, 2018.


“The Eye of the (Be)holder: Collaboration, Reciprocity, and Performance in AA Bronson’s Parting (Self)Portrait of General Idea,” Exposure Journal of the Society for Photographic Education (Sept. 2014). 

Received the 2014 Society of Photographic Education, Award for Excellence in Historical, Critical, and Theoretical Writing. Link

The Eye of the Beholder


“The Scenic Views from Citywide: Towards a More Imageable Philadelphia,” CITYWIDE (Philadelphia: CITYWIDE, An Exhibition of Independents, 2014).


“The Artist as a Work-in-Progress: General Idea and the Construction of Collective Identity,” Forum for Modern Language Studies, Special Issue on Artists’ Statements: Origins, Intentions, Exegesis, eds. Natalie Adamson and Linda Goddard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). Link


“Four-Letter Words: General Idea’s AIDS in the Age of Appropriation and Proliferation,” Art as Activism Symposium, Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, MA (2012).


Curator, “Reflective Equilibrium: An Exhibition of Art by Imprisoned People,” Little Berlin, Philadelphia, PA (2012).


Barkun and Gilson, “Choreographed Cartography: Translation, Feminized Labor, and Digital Literacy in half/angel’s The Knitting Map,” Textiles and Settlement: From Plains Space to Cyber Space, Textile Society of America. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, 2010. 

Received the 2010 Founding Presidents’ Award for Outstanding Original Scholarship from the Textile Society of America. Link