Visual Arts Faculty

Joe Scanlan

Joe Scanlan headshot


­­­Joe Scanlan is an artist whose work takes multiple forms, from sculpture and design to publications and fictional personae. Indeed, there is a willful subterfuge running through much of his art, as exemplified in works that address the political economy of site-specific labor (Massachusetts Wedding Bed); scripting the life and work of a fictional artist in collaboration with professional actors (Donelle Woolford); or the founding, archive-building, and day-to-day operation of an art institution (The Broodthaers Society of America). Scanlan is also a widely read, discussed, and translated writer for such venues as Artforum, frieze, and Parkett, and his former website He has published five books in relation to his work: Object Lessons (Mu.Zee, Ostende) 2013; Passing Through (K21, Düsseldorf) 2007; DIY (Imschoot Uitgevers, Ghent) 2003; Pay Dirt (IKON, Birmingham, England) 2002; and Joe Scanlan (Museum Haus Lange, Germany) 1996.

Recent projects include Décor and Avant-poste, two exhibitions curated from the permanent collection of the FRAC Pays de la Loire, Nantes; New Tricks, New Schemes, Scanlan’s fifth solo exhibition at Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna; and a large-scale installation as part of Klassenverhältnisse (Class Relations), a group show around the subject of class and art at the Kunstverein Hamburg.

Scanlan was Director of the Visual Arts Program from 2009–2017 and was responsible for the total overhaul of the Program. During his tenure he revamped the curriculum, helped build a more ambitious, socially engaged environment for VIS concentrators, and greatly increased the visibility of the visual arts on campus. Most important, Scanlan expanded and diversified the full-time faculty to include Fia Backstrom, Martha Friedman, Deana Lawson, Pam Lins, Moon Molson, David Reinfurt, James Welling, and Jeff Whetstone, as well as part-time faculty Alice Chung, Daniel Heyman, Kurt Kauper, Demetrius Oliver, Yaara Sumeruk, Pacho Velez, and Amy Yao. Along with the long-standing contributions of Eve Aschheim and Su Friedrich, their professional accomplishments, commitment to teaching, and collegiality have transformed Princeton into one of the best undergraduate schools anywhere for studying visual art.

Scanlan is also the holder of U.S. patent no. 6,488,732, which is a process for converting postconsumer waste into viable potting soil. Scanlan holds a BFA in Sculpture from the Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio, and currently lives in New York City.


Campus Address

Program in Visual Arts
185 Nassau Street
Room 212

Campus Phone