Joshua Shannon is a specialist in the history and theory of art since 1945. His areas of research and teaching interest include photography, art and the city, landscape art, as well as modern and contemporary realism.
Shannon's first book, The Disappearance of Objects: New York Art and the Rise of the Postmodern City, was published by Yale University Press in 2009. The book considers art in New York around 1960 as a means for understanding the postwar transformation of everyday urban life. Its principal chapters focus on work by Claes Oldenburg, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Donald Judd. The book is the winner of a Wyeth Foundation Publication Grant from the College Art Association and a General Research Board Award from the University of Maryland. It was also selected as a finalist for the book prize of the Center for the Study of Modern Art at the Phillips Collection.
Shannon is currently working on a new book to be called The Recording Machine: Photography and Truth after Modernism. The book considers the artistic use of photography around 1968 and after, especially its role as a tool for understanding the degree to which the world itself can be understood to hold meaning. Its four chapters are focused respectively on conceptual art, photorealist painting, the landscapes of Gerhard Richter, and staged photography since the 1990s.
Professor Shannon has also written essays and reviews for American Art, Art Bulletin, October, the Journal of Modern Craft, and other publications.
Shannon's teaching is informed by the social history of art, by postmodern theories of culture and representation, and by the practice of close looking. Topics of his recent graduate seminars have included Minimalism, the Art of Gerhard Richter, Photography Since 1989, Methods of Art History, and Models of History in Contemporary Art.
In addition to other awards, Professor Shannon has held the Terra Visiting Professorship at the Freie Universität Berlin, the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Michigan, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and two General Research Board Fellowships at the University of Maryland. He is a founding director of Contemporary Art Think Tank and a founding board member of the Society of Contemporary Art Historians.