David W. Norman is a historian of modern and contemporary art whose research focuses on media aesthetics, postconceptual methods, and the development of experimental practices in Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) and the broader circumpolar world, from Sápmi in northern Scandinavia to Alaska and Chukotka. Norman’s current book project, provisionally titled Home Rule Contemporary, traces Greenlandic Inuit artists’ development of idioms such as installation, video art, and earthworks in the years following the 1979 Act of Home Rule. His research shows how artists of this generation rooted nontraditional media in the contradictions of a period marked by increasing sovereignty, and simultaneously, by the persistence of more insidious forms of biopolitical control similar to what Indigenous scholars refer to as a politics of recognition. Other ongoing projects address interwoven histories of monochrome painting and Fourth World activism, the spatial politics of Euro-American Conceptual art, and the atmospheric technics of early video.
His writing has appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as Kunst og Kultur, Kritik, Oxford Art Journal, and Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society; in exhibition catalogues for the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and Nuummi Eqqumiitsulianik Saqqummersitsivik / Nuuk Art Museum; the Cultural History of the Avant Garde in the Nordic Countries book series; and in periodicals including First American Art Magazine, Neriusaaq, and Kunst.gl. In 2017, he curated Akorngusersuineq - Interruption, an intervention at Greenland’s National Museum focused on the art and legacy of Pia Arke. He has previously taught at the University of Copenhagen and Ilisimatusarfik – the University of Greenland.
Fields of Study
- Arctic arts and cultures
- Modern and contemporary art
- Indigenous politics and settler colonialism
- The postwar avant-garde in the Nordic countries
- Site-specific and time-based art