Erich Kessel is a PhD student in the department’s History of Art and African-American Studies program. He holds a B.A. in History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania, where he completed research on Robert Mapplethorpe’s The Black Book. He examines representations of the black body in contemporary art and its diverse intersections with critical black studies, queer studies and theories of the body. Erich’s additional research interests include performance studies, the legacy of transatlantic slavery, film theory and the history and theory of photography.
In addition to being a former Mellon-Mays Foundation and Penn Humanities Forum fellow, Erich has interned at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and worked with ICA Philadelphia on various projects.