Solveig Nelson is an art critic and PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Chicago. Her work focuses on the intersections between the history and criticism of early video art; the visual and performative strategies of nonviolent direct action; and questions of art and the televisual. She is currently a Mellon (COSI) Curatorial Writing Fellow at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is working on a Mellon Time-Based Media Initiative, a focus that continued from her 2017 Chester Dale Fellowship in the Department of Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Nelson is the 2017-2018 recipient of a Creative Capital Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for the article, “Gretchen Bender’s Total Recall, 1987, and the Feminist Return to Television Art.” She has written art criticism for Artforum since 2012, including longer pieces on Steve McQueen, “The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music 1965-now,” Anna and Lawrence Halprin, and Gretchen Bender. Her MA thesis at The University of Chicago considered Ken Dewey's mixed media installation Selma Last Year, 1966. Self-designed courses taught at the University of Chicago include “History of Early Video Art” (Fall 2013) and “New Queer Cinema/Art of the Culture Wars, 1980s-90s” (Winter 2015). Previously she worked as the fiction editor of The Baffler; collaborated with Sadie Benning on the video installation, Play Pause, 2006; and programmed literary events at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Hyde Park, Chicago.