A Filipinx American genderqueer queer based in Chicago, Jan Christian Bernabe (“he, him, Jan”) is the Chief Creative & Operations Director and Founder of FLXST Contemporary, a contemporary art space and incubator in the South Loop focused chiefly on emerging diasporic im/migrant artists, artists of color, and LGBTQ artists. He is also an educator, scholar, curator, and art & culture critic/writer. Jan has over fifteen years of work experiences teaching, researching, and publishing about art history and visual culture in higher education and working in arts management in the nonprofit sector. He continues to work closely with emergent artists, writers, and scholars on curatorial projects within the digital arts and humanities and site-specific art projects. Jan’s taught courses focused on art historical surveys, histories of race and representation, and gender and queer studies in art history and visual culture (among other topics) at the University of Michigan, Cornish College of the Arts, and Whitman College. With a Ph.D. in the Program in American Culture from the University of Michigan, he has written for postions: asia critique, Wasafiri Magazine, Verge: Studies in Global Asias, Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas, the Filipino American Artist Directory and other academic and non-academic outlets. With the artist-scholar Laura Kina, he co-edited Queering Contemporary Asian American Art published by the University of Washington Press (2017) and is at work on the second volume of the project. Jan specializes in art history and visual culture studies in the United States and the historical and cultural work of visual technologies (like print, photography, film, digital media and the Internet) among communities of color. He is invested in surfacing underrepresented visual makers, whether artists, photographer, or filmmakers, in his research, writing, and curating. As a life-long learner and knowledge maker, he is particularly interested in the intersections of Filipinx diasporic art, queer cultural practices, and civic engagement & social justice. When not running FLXST Contemporary or researching and writing about art and photography, Jan has served as a member of the Community Advisory Group for Equality Illinois (2017-2020), a Core Leader for AFIRE Chicago (2018-2019), and a Critique Group Instructor and Portfolio Reviewer for Latitude Chicago (2019). He also supports other local community social justice and arts nonprofit organizations in Chicago. He is a fierce advocate for LGBTQ+ immigrant rights, racial and economic social justice, and transgender affirming policies for Illinois and across the US. Jan believes in the power of art to inspire civic engagement.
Downloadabe PDFs of several publications below can be found onAcademia.com
“Sea, Land, and Air, and the Center for Art and Thought,” co-authored with Clare Counihan and Sarita See in Verge: Studies in Global Asias (2017): 26-34.
“Queer Reconfigurations: Bontoc Eulogy and Marlon Fuentes’s Archive Imperative” in positions: asia critique, Volume 24 (2016): 727-759
“Stephanie Syjuco ‘Blows Up’ the Black Market Series,” Wasafiri: International Contemporary Writing, Volume 28, Issue 3 (August 2013): 24-33
“Filipino Diaspora Queer Killjoy: Recuperating Failure in Jeffrey Augustine Songco’s Guilty Party and BOMH Series in Queering Contemporary Asian American Art, eds. Laura Kina and Jan Christian Bernabe, University of Washington Press (2017)
“Queer Camouflage as Survival, Presence, and Expressive Capital in the Postcolonial Artwork of Kiam Marcelo Junio” in The Postcolonial World, eds. Joytsna Singh and David Kim, Routledge Press (2016): 134-149.
Book Review: “Diasporic Intimacies: Queer Filipinos and Canadian Imaginaries,” eds. Robert Diaz, Marissa Largo, And Fritz Pino. (2019)” Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas
Book Review: “Photography, Film, and the African American Experience: Making a Promised Land: Harlem in 20th-Century Photography and Film by Paula J. Massood; Bearing Witness from Another Place: James Baldwin in Turkey, with the foreword by Charles Johnson; One Shot: A Selection of Photographs by Reuben V. Burrell edited by Vanessa Thaxton-Ward (2013).” International Review of African American Art Plus.
Book Review: “In the Eyes of the Muses: Selections from the Clark Atlanta University Art Collections (2012).” International Review of African American Art Plus
“Kelvin Burzon Queers the Midwest, Catholicism, and Jose Rizal” in Filipino American Artist Directory (St. Louis, 2017): np.
“Nothing to See Here There Never Was —an Essay in Four Parts” in exhibition catalogue for Gina Osterloh (2015): np
Eds. Jan Christian Bernabe, et al., Migrant Musicians: Filipino Entertainers and the Work of Making Music (Durham, NC: Horse & Buggy Press/CA+T, 2013)
“Techniques: Contemporary Asian American Time-Based Art - Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik, Kat Larson, and Gina Osterloh,” in Techniques exhibition publication (Walla Walla: Whitman College—Sheehan Gallery, 2011)
“Archival Heaves: Im/mobilizing Icons and Bodies in the Paintings of John Yoyogi Fortes,” in Out of the Archives: Process and Progress. Eds., Angel Shaw and Sarita See. (New York: Asian American Arts Centre, 2009): 24-37
“Interview with Laura Kina and Jan Christian Bernabe, ‘Queering Contemporary Asian American Art’,” Laura Kina, Christopher B Patterson, and Jan Christian Bernabe, New Books in Asian American Studies.
Art History and Visual Culture Studies 103: Introduction to Art History and Visual Culture Studies
Art History and Visual Culture Studies 257: Asian/American Visual Culture
Art History and Visual Culture Studies 258: Queer Sexualities and Visual Culture
Art History and Visual Culture Studies 259: Post/Colonialism and Visual Culture
Art History and Visual Culture Studies 422: Independent Study—Filipino American Visual Culture Studies
General Studies 245: Critical and Alternative Voices
Humanities and Sciences 115: Race, U.S. Empire, and the American Visual Archives
Humanities and Sciences 119: Modernities, Visual Technologies, and Imagined Communities
Humanities and Sciences 119: War and the Politics of Vision: Reading the American Visual Archives
American Culture 211: Introduction to Ethnic Studies—Introduction to Asian/Pacific Islander American Visual Culture
English 125: College Composition: Writing About Asian/American Visual Culture
American Culture 217: Introduction to Native American Literature
American Culture 301: Asians in American Film and Television
A FEW OF OF FAVORITE ARTWORK AT FLXST CONTEMPORARY (UPDATE: October 26, 2020)
Roberto Jamora, The Sound of Fate Knocking at the Door (New York and New Orleans), oil and beeswax on canvas, 72 x 60 inches, 2019