Monica Lee Steinberg

Monica Lee Steinberg is an historian of modern and contemporary art. At HKU, Steinberg will primarily work on a second book manuscript considering the intersection of contemporary art and law, The Legal Medium: Contemporary Art and Uncivil Obedience. The text draws on legal theory to analyze an aesthetics of uncivil obedience—a looking glass version of civil disobedience comprising the following of rules in an extreme and unanticipated manner (expressing criticism ironically through hyperbolic rule-following rather than rule-breaking).

Steinberg holds a PhD in Art History from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her first manuscript considering pseudonymous artistic practice, Inventing Lives: Fictional Artistic Practice in the Shadow of Cold War Hollywood, is presently under consideration at various presses. Steinberg’s writing has appeared (or is forthcoming in) journals such as American Art, Archives of American Art, and Oxford Art Journal; exhibition catalogues such as Love Me, Love Me Not: Contemporary Art from Azerbaijan and its Neighbours and The Abstract Impulse: Fifty Years of Abstraction at the National Academy, 1956-2006; and an edited volume, Humor, Globalization, and Culture-Specificity in Modern and Contemporary Art.

Prior to taking-up the position at HKU, Steinberg was the 2016-2018 Doheny Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Southern California, as well as the recipient of fellowships awarded by MIT, the Smithsonian Institution, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Amon Carter Museum, the Huntington, the Schlesinger Library at Harvard, Brandeis University, the UNLV Center for Gaming Research, and several other institutions.


Monica Steinberg, “(Im)Personal Matters: Intimate Strangers and Affective Market Economies,” Oxford Art Journal 42, no. 1 (Spring 2019), online: 

Monica Steinberg, “Naming: Heteronymy and the Imaginary Artists of George Herms,” American Art, 2018, v. 32, no. 2, online:


The Patricia and Phillip Frost Essay Award (2019)

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