OCAD University
Charles Reeve
Associate Professor
Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Graduate Studies

Area(s) of Expertise

History of Modern/Contemporary Art, History of Art Criticism, Artists' Autobiographies


Seeing art history as a broad, radical discipline, I fold a wide spectrum of historical and contemporary issues into my writing, curating and teaching. My art historical interests emphasize the history of ideas in modern and contemporary art, and currently focus on 3 areas: the ethics of Anglo-American formalism as a humanist resistance to industrialization; autobiographies by artists as symptoms of sincerity, from Benvenuto Cellini and Georgio Vasari in the sixteenth century to Lucy Kimball, Tracey Emin and Jacqueline Fahey in the twenty-first; and the cultural response to the September 11 attacks as a case study of our society's need for trauma. In 2005, the Ontario College of Art & Design hired me to establish and run a gallery dedicated to showing contemporary work by artists and designers of national and international significance. To launch this program, I curated exhibitions by OCAD alumnus Rirkrit Tiravanija (April 2007) and former OCAD instructor Karim Rashid (November 2007), complemented by the installation of a major work by Lawrence Weiner that came to us as a loan from the Art Gallery of Ontario (initiated by the AGO's David Moos) during their renovation. The gallery currently features Adel Abdessemed's first solo show in Canada, "The Future of Decor." I teach in the faculties of Liberal Studies and Art.


1985: BA, English and Psychology, University of British Columbia; 1986: Diploma in Art History, University of British Columbia; 1989: MA, Art History, University of British Columbia (Thesis: "Donald Judd's Hidden Historicity"); 2000: PhD, Art History, Cornell University (Dissertation.: "The Ethics of Anglo-American Formalism")

Professional Experience

2005-present: Ontario College of Art & Design, Curator; Associate Professor of Art & Liberal Studies. 2004-05: Kennesaw State University Dept. of Visual Arts, Temporary Assistant Professor. 2001-04: Art Papers, Editor-in-Chief. 1999: Books in Canada: Contributing Editor on Visual Art. 1998: can magazine: Founding Editor and Publisher. Other miscellaneous teaching includes University of Toronto, University of Guelph and Cornell University.

Selected Exhibitions

Exhibits curated at OCAD's Professional Gallery:"Fashion Forward: Toronto (ad)dresses the futures" - Fall 2009;"The Path of Most Resistance" - Summer 2009;"Roger Ballen: Boarding House" - Winter 2009;"Rosalind Nashashibi: Bachelor Machines" - Summer 2008;"Karim Rashid: From 15 Minutes into the Future" - Winter 2007;"Rirkrit: Untitled" - Summer 2007

Awards \ Grants

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, 1996-7; Cornell University Department of Art History Graduate Student Travel Grant, 1996; Cornell University Graduate School Travel Grant, 1996; British Columbia Government Scholarship, 1987.

Selected Publications

Brian Groombridge (Toronto: Susan Hobbs Gallery, 2008); 'The Kindness of Human Milk: Jess Dobkin's Lactation Station Breast Milk Bar,' Gastronomica (Winter 2009); 'Is an Artist? Art, Autobiographies and Humanity's Disappearance' Reading Room vol. 1 (2007): 26-39; "Greenberg's Legacy," London Review of Books vol. 29 no. 6 (April 5, 2007): 27-28; "9/11, in grim cartoons [review of Art Spiegelman In the Shadow of No Towers]," Atlanta Journal-Constitution September 5, 2004: K8; 'Jeff Wall's Suburban Vampires,' Crime and Ornament: the arts and popular culture in the shadow of Adolf Loos, Bernie Miller and Melony Ward, eds. (Toronto: YYZ, 2002): 50-65; 'An Art History without Endings: a conversation with T.J. Clark,' documents no. 18 (Fall 2000): 6-18; 'John Ruskin's Godly Untruth,' Assemblage no. 32 (Spring 1997): 45-55; 'Cold Metal: Donald Judd's Hidden Historicity,' Art History vol. 15 no. 4 (December 1992): 485-503; 'T.V. Eye: Dan Graham's "Homes for America,"' Parachute no. 53 (December, January, February 1988-89): 19-24.

Professional Affiliations / Boards / Juries

College Art Association Frank Jewett Mather Award Committee, 2005-2008 (Chair 2006-2007); Fulton County Arts Council Museum Grants Panel, 2002-2004 (Chair, 2003).