Dominic Johnson

Fulbright All Disciplines Scholar Award - University of Southern California

Dominic Johnson will be based at the Roski School of Fine Art, University of Southern California in Downtown Los Angeles for four months from January 2024. His larger project is to produce the first scholarly study of the work of the British South Asian artist Hamad Butt, in the context of art and HIV/AIDS. Butt made a series of sculptures that used toxic or noxious materials in volatile-seeming setups, creating environments that threaten or provoke fear in those who encounter them. Johnson is also curating the first comprehensive retrospective exhibition of Butt's work, which will tour to major museums in the UK and Europe in 2024-25. While in Los Angeles, Johnson will research how artists, scholars and curators approach ‘recalcitrant’ art that can be difficult to make, show, or acquire, and that rethinks what art does and why it matters.  

Johnson's research to date has tended to focus on performance art and live art, generally from a queer perspective. He is an art historian based in a Drama department, and looks forward to the new challenges of being based in a fine art context. Johnson is also looking forward to enjoying the esoteric histories of Los Angeles and Southern California. Outside of his research, he plans to spend time in Joshua Tree and the Morongo Valley region, to see the iconic Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Art, and to visit The Integratron, a structure designed by ufologist George Van Tassel as a vehicle for time-travel.