academic accomplishments


For over a twenty-five-year period I lectured, moderated panels and was invited as a guest speaker at museums and galleries in the US and internationally, including such venues as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Armand Hammer Museum of Art, the Orange County Museum of Art, the USC Public Art Forum, the California Institute for the Arts, the Southern California Institute of Architecture, the University of Rhode Island, the Bremen Kunstakademie, the Wittgenstein Haus in Vienna, the Villach Kulturamt, in Villach, Austria, and the Arbois Municipal Museum in France, the last lectures being in German and French.

I have addressed conferences and delivered papers at such venues as the 2007 Indigenous Film and Media Conference at Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, the 2006 Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference in Vancouver, the first Refresh Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology at Banff in 2005, the Siggraph 2002 and 2004 Art Gallery talks, the 2004 Virtual Minds, Congress of Fictitious Figures held at the Bremen Kunstlerhaus, the 2002 Digital Cultures Conference at UCLA, the 2002 WHA Conference on Translation and the Reproduction of Culture, the National Conference on Liberal Arts, School of Visual Arts in New York in 2000, the Digi Debate at the American Film Institute in 1994, and the International Art Critics Association in Vienna in 1992. 

In addition, I coordinated the 2003 Digital Cultures Project conference held at UC Irvine, the Life By Design: Everyday Digital Culture symposium and an exhibition at the Beall Center for Technology, organized UC Irvine's 2003 round table on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and organized and chaired the 1992 panel at the Los Angeles Art Fair “Quality and the Marketplace: What Role for the Art Critic Today?”

My Bachelor's Degree is in Art History from Barnard College, where I passed with distinction in 1988.  I received my Master's Degree in Critical Theory from the Art Center College of Design in 2000, where I worked closely with Dr. Michael Heim.  In 2006, I received my doctorate in Visual Studies from the University of California at Irvine, working closely with Akira Lippit and Anne Friedberg among others. My thesis, The Camera as Camera: New Subjectivities in 3D Virtual Worlds, is available in ereader or print on demand formats.

I love teaching, and was a part time Art History lecturer at the California State University at Northridge (CSUN) from 1995-1998, and was a teaching assistant in Asian Art History at UC Irvine in 2002-2003. Besides my more academic offerings, I continue to teach at such local venues as the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Joslyn Center in San Luis Obispo County, and the Institute for Philosophy and the Arts in Pasadena. I have juried some art shows in Cambria and still enjoy assisting artists with their careers and do some very occasional essays and monographs, such as for the artists Lucas Reiner and Michael Dressel, both in the L.A. area.

Here are a few PDF's of and/or links to some of my talks...

   Here is an archived conversation on "Quantum Information" from Eugenia Butler's "Fire in the Library" series which
   I did in collaboration with my dear colleague Dr. Zhen-Su She at Sci-Arc in 1997.  It is in two parts.

  An Aesthetics of Play 1995 for the Refresh Conference at Banff.  MP4 link

  Center and Periphery: A Faulty Model  1992 AICA Art Critic's conference

  Archival footage online: See me in a trailer for a documentary about brilliant
     avant garde artist & feminist Arleen Schloss.  (Wednesday's at A's is seeking post-
     production funding btw) 

Art Criticism

I have published over 100 chapters, essays and reviews in the US, Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia, in such journals as ArtForum, Art in America,, Artweek, Artspace, L.A. Reader, L.A. Village View, High Performance, New Observations, Sculpture and in Germany, Rogue and Juni, among others. 

Interview subjects include Christo, Komar & Melamid, William Wegman, Dennis Oppenheim, Vito Acconci, David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, Tim Rollins, Tamiko Thiel and Michael Heim, among others.

Here are some PDF's and url's of various texts I have written over the years.  I plan to collect these and other writings into a collection of essays at some point in the future. Sign up for my newsletter to get more info when it unfolds.

 "Hard Candy and Good Humor - the Art of Jean Wells".  Essay included in the forthcoming catalog for shows at Yarger Strauss and various international venues. 2010  [Read text here]

  Preparing the Ground for a Shift in Thinking: Dennis Oppenheim, 1938-2011

  ArtForum on Dennis Oppenheim (1991 cover story)

  Willoughby Sharp, 1936 – 2008 

  “We Are All Made of Stars” in Of the Flesh: The Art of Andrew Krasnow.  Ed. Jonathan Hutt. London: GV Art. October 2008  [PDF to come]

  Andrew Krasnow: Of The Flesh ~ Skin Works 1990-2005  

  For my 2001 essay about the art of the future at the Anthology of Art,
look me up under contributions A-Z.

  Art in America reviews   (excerpts 1992 - 1999)

  L.A. Village View reviews (excerpts 1990 - 1993)

  Hirsch Farm Compleat essay  1998 

  A Vital Matrix  (1995) &  A Scattering Matrix  (1996) for curator Jane Hart

  Nature Notes from the German Countryside (1992) 

Guest Lectures (selected)
"Wellness & Longevity" panel organizer & moderator for OLLI at Cal Poly, with guests Dr. Mark Monnin, Christine Troples and Xiaoping Shanbrom. 2011

"The Writing Life - a Conversation" with husband Mark Onspaugh for OLLI at Cal Poly, winter 2010.

"What's So Important About Art & Beauty?" for OLLI at Morro Bay Library, 2009.

"3D Theory" Art Center College of Design, Pasadena 2009

Guest of M.A. Greenstein's classes on Critical Practice

"3D Theory" School of Visual Arts, NYC 2009
Guest of Joseph Nechvatal's class on the "viractual"

“Playing With Space and Time”, Cornell University  2006  Live, remote guest lecture and inworld presentation Topic: “TCWF: Tobey Crockett’s Wild Frontier”
“Virtual Minds – Congress of Fictitious Figures”, exhibition and symposium 2004 Kunstlerhaus Bremen, Bremen Germany. Live, remote lecture and inworld presentation  Topic: “Virtual Resistance, Virtual Minds”

The Southern California Institute of Architecture, “Fire in the Library” series, created by Eugenia Butler 1997 & 1998. Featured speaker, with Dr. Zhen-Su She
Topics: “Q.I.: Quantum Information”  and “Q.I.: Quantum Information 2”

Orange County Museum of Art, featured speaker  1997
Topic: "The Pursuit of Deity"
"Art Protects You - Municipal Project by Jochen Traar” 1994.
Villach Kulturamt, Villach, Austria  (in German)
“The Art of Arleen Schloss”, Bremen KunstAkademie  1993. Bremen, Germany
“Joseph Nechvatal and Excess in the TechnoMediacratic Society”  1992
Arbois, France (in French)
"The Architecture of Memory and Mischa Kuball" 1990
Wittgenstein Haus, Vienna  (in German)

About Virtual Worlds:

I am very interested in robot and avatar rights and what I call the 'camera' as camera: that every part of digital space is an active agent and author, which requires new theorization of the subjects that are native to cyberspace.  I still lecture on this topic and have been a guest teacher a number of times at the School of Visual Arts in New York and at Art Center in Pasadena.

How did I get here from art history?  I knew early on that I wanted to develop critical theory for digital media, and understand what makes digital media distinct from all the other media that have preceded it.  In 1999, I was fortunate to receive some private grant money to attend the new Critical Theory program at the Art Center College of Design, and happily met my mentor Dr. Michael Heim, who was working on a similar project in 3D virtual worlds.

After completing my masters degree at Art Center, I continued my research briefly at Cal Arts and then was awarded a diversity fellowship for the Doctoral Program in Visual Studies at UC Irvine.  Using 3D virtual worlds in special effects as case studies, I completed my dissertation in 2006.


Papers are listed below.  Some of my published writing in the field includes:

"The 'Camera' as Camera: How CGI Changes the World As We Know It" in Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Reproduction: Film, Pleasure, and Digital Culture Volume 1. Eds. Scott Balzerak and Jason Sperb. From Wallflower Press, UK. 2009. Now available from Amazon

“An Aesthetics of Play, Or How To Understand Interactive Fun” in Mapa do Jogo – relevância cultural dos games, edited by Lucia Santaella and Mirna Feitoza Pereira. Cengage Publishing, Sao Paulo Brazil. 2009.

"The Computer As A Dollhouse (excerpts)" in Video Games and Art
Eds. Andy Clarke and Grethe Mitchell. University of Chicago Press. 2007  Available on Amazon.

Copies of my 2006 PhD Dissertation "The 'Camera' As Camera: New Subjectivities in 3D Virtual Worlds"  are available in both print or as an affordable download from

See my 2004 Intelligent Agent essay on building architecture and ritual into virtual environments.  

Video of TCWF

Please see this mini documentary on YouTube about my own 3D virtual world which I built and developed from 2000-2007.


I frequently used my world TCWF as an alternate to PowerPoint as most academics were unfamiliar with virtual worlds and this allowed me to show and tell with great impact.  Papers included:

“The ‘Camera’ as Camera and Its Global Implications for Indigenous Cinema” at the Indigenous Film and Media in an International Context conference,Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario in 2007.

“The Camera As Camera: How CGI Changes the World As We Know It” at the “Society for Cinema and Media Studies”, Vancouver Canada in 2006.

“An Aesthetics of Play, Or How To Understand Interactive Fun” for the “Refresh! First International Conference on The Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology”, Banff New Media Institute, Banff in 2005.

“Building A Bridge To The Aesthetic Experience: Artistic Virtual Environments and Other Interactive Digital Art” at a panel at Siggraph 2004, 31st International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, Los Angeles in 2004.

"Digital Revolution or Business As Usual?" for the discussion I organized, “The DMCA And You - a Roundtable Discussion on the High Stakes Game of Copyright, Principle and Intellectual Property In the Age of Digital Reproduction”, University of California, Irvine in 2003.

"Virtual Resistance" at UCI's Life By Design: Everyday Digital Culture conference, graduate symposium and exhibition. for which I was the conference organizer in 2003.

"Freud’s Secondary Revision and the Aesthetics of Digital Authorship" for the Western Humanities Alliance 24th Annual Conference, UC Irvine in 2002.

"Fun, Love & Happiness – An Aesthetics of Play and Empathy In Avatar Worlds” at Siggraph's 29th annual Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, San Antonio in 2002.

"The Computer As A Dollhouse: The Seriousness of Virtual Play in Avatar Worlds" for the UCLA Digital Cultures Conference, University of California, 2002.

“TCWF as Self-Portrait” at the exhibition “IMmediate Distance”, California Institute for The Arts, Valencia in 2000.

"I'd Rather Be in Avatar: An Analysis of Virtual Worlds" for the 14th Annual National Conference on Liberal Arts, School of Visual Arts, New York in 1998.