Celeste Connor

Celeste Sabbatino Connor is an art historian, artist, and critic. Connor writes (sometimes under the pseudonym Iris Ronnoc) on issues relevant to modern and contemporary art, from traditional genres to newest media. The artist's book is one current topic/subject of research; the relations between contemporary Italian art and U.S. art is an abiding interest. Cultural identity, gender, class, and consumerism are central concerns in her written and visual works.

Connor's internationally acclaimed view of America's post-war modernisms, Democratic Visions: Art and Theory of the Stieglitz Circle (University of California Press, 2001), was featured at the American Studies spring 2008 website as a "must own." Her essays and reviews appear in such scholarly journals as Women's Studies Journal; smaller independent magazines, such as Plastic Antinomy; biweeklies, such as Artweek; as well as such websites as Stretcher.org and EastBayVoice.com (serving the LGBTQ art-interested communities). Most recently Connor's essays on film and photography have appeared in Italian publications.

Connor has frequently lectured on modern and postmodern American art at universities and colleges, museums, and galleries in the greater San Francisco and Los Angeles areas, as well as at Le Louvre in Paris.

During her years at CCA, Connor has helped to develop the curricula of the Visual Studies Program, piloting many new courses and seminars. Her "Notable Absences" was one of the first courses at the college to explore the application of postmodern theories (Marxian, feminist, queer, and postcolonial) to the visual arts.

"Trashformations" was the first seminar at CCA to explore the theories of eco-art and enviro-art (including arte povera) in an international context. Her "Methods and Theories of Art History and Criticism" seminar introduced to the former Art History Program the ideas on which the current Visual Studies Program was founded.

Additionally, Connor taught for five years "Histories and Theories of Film, Video and Performance," a media history course that introduced new genres and related theories to CCA's Film Program.

Her most recent contribution to the Visual Studies curricula is the popular Art Talk, an introduction to the theories and practices of art-critical writing. Connor is also the co-creator of the college's Graduate Program in Visual and Critical Studies, which she entered in fall 2005 (under the name Rrosa Seconda). Now in her second year, her visual work includes painting, collage, monotype, and image-on prints, performance, and video.

Connor's academic honors and awards include a grant from Istituto Italiano di Cultura and, previously, the prestigious National Kress Foundation Fellowship that supported her first book project.

Connor is a member of the Art Critics Association, The Association of Historians of American Art, and The College Art Association as well as a founding member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Associate Professor, Visual Studies


BA, University of California, San Diego; MA, PhD, University of California, Berkeley