UMass Boston

John Tyson

Assistant Professor

Areas of Expertise

Modern and Contemporary Art; American Art; particular interests include conceptual art, art and technology, African American artists, twentieth-century printmaking


PhD, Art History, Emory University 2015
MA, Art History,Tufts University
BA, Art, Colby College

Professional Publications & Contributions

Additional Information

John A. Tyson is a specialist in modern and contemporary art. Tyson’s recent scholarship has addressed art in the Cold War era, text and image interactions, multiples and print portfolios, parallels between vanguard art and cinema, and modernism in Washington, DC. His current book project on the work of Hans Haacke explores the relationship between the artist’s works and concurrently emerging forms of performance, technology and politics.

Tyson serves as the President of the Society of Contemporary Art Historians (SCAH). Moreover, he is the organizer of the Visual Culture Consortium Symposium of 2021 and 2022, an annual event that provides undergraduates with a platform to develop their scholarship. From 2015 to 2017, Tyson held an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellowship at the National Gallery of Art, where he worked on projects with the departments of British and American Painting, Modern and American Prints and Drawings, and Film Programs. He continues to be interested in curating and has co-curated (with colleague Sam Toabe) From Theory to Practice: Artistic Legacies of the Whitney Independent Study Program (2019) as well as Equals 6: A Sum Effect of Frank Bowling's 5+1 (2022-23) at the University Hall Gallery.

Professor Tyson’s other fellowships and awards include a a UMB College of Liberal Arts Careers/Curriculum Grant to support teaching oriented toward finding employment in the humanities (2020-21), a Henry Luce/ American Council of Learned Societies American Art Dissertation Fellowship (2014-2015), a Helena Rubinstein Fellowship in Critical Studies at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program (2011-12), and a National Committee for the History of Art CIHA Travel Fellowship (2012). In 2008, he was a teaching fellow at Harvard University; additionally, he has taught classes for MFA students at George Washington University and the Pratt Institute.

Courses Taught

ART 250: Art of the Twentieth Century

Art 310: Special Topics: History of Modern Prints

ART 368: History of Photography

ART 375: Contemporary Art: c. 1989-Present