Gwyneth Shanks is an Assistant Professor in the Theater and Dance Department at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She begins her appointment in the fall of 2019. Prior to that, she was a Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow in the Whitney Independent Study Program and the Mellon Postdoctoral Interdisciplinary Arts Fellow at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She earned her PhD in Theater and Performance Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Shanks specializes in modern and contemporary performance and conceptual art, with secondary specializations in queer theory and curatorial, museum, and urban studies. Her ongoing research focuses on the political implications of curating performance in museums, while a new project explores the interface among performance, cities, and ecology by examining a series of performances curated in public space in Los Angeles. Shanks is contemporary art curator, with specializations in designing exhibition formats to present performance, dance, and theater. Key to her curatorial practice is working with emerging artists and developing formats that expand artistic practice beyond art world definitions and challenge the tenants of museums and exhibitionary histories.
Her work is published in X-TRA, Performance Matters, Third Text, and the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism. Additionally, her work appears in: Le Musée par la Scéne (Deuxième époque, 2018), Writing the Body: Staging the Other (McFarland Press, 2018), and Theater/Performance Historiography: Time, Space, Matter (Palgrave, 2015).
In addition to her academic work, Shanks is a choreographer and performer. She has been commissioned to create works for Materials & Applications, and her work has been presented by Echo Park Film Center, Highways Performance Space, and Install: WeHo. As a performer she has worked with, amongst others, The Trisha Brown Dance Company, Marina Abramović, Jérôme Bel, Maria Hassabi, and Meredith Monk.