Nicole Archer

Assistant Professor
History and Theory of Contemporary Art

Nicole Archer researches contemporary art and material culture, with an emphasis in modern textile and garment histories. Further interests include critical and psychoanalytic theory, corporeal feminism, and performance studies. Currently, Nicole is writing a manuscript entitled A Looming Possibility: Towards a Theory of the Textile, which considers how critical understandings of textiles can extend poststructuralist theories of the text. Her research also examines the ways that the textile works to produce and maintain the limits of legitimate versus illegitimate forms of state violence. Nicole’s teaching explores the relations of politics and aesthetics through examinations of style, embodiment, and desire.

Selected Publications: 

  • “Security Blankets: Uniforms, Hoods, and The Textures of Terror.” Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory 24.2 (Winter 2014).
  • “Hand In Glove: Allison Smith’s Set Dressing and the Erotics of Historical Inconsistency,” Allison Smith: Set Dressing, exhibition catalog, 16 October 2014 - 31 January 2015, Arts Club Chicago.
  • “Curtain Calls,” SFMoMA Open Spaces (15.April.2014).
  • Archer, Nicole with Ana Luz Gonzalez, Kimi Lee, Simmi Gandhi, and Delia Herrera. “The Garment Worker Center and The ‘Forever 21’ Campaign.” Working for Justice: The L.A. Model of Organizing and Advocacy. Eds. Ruth Milkman, Joshua Bloom and Victor Narro. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010.
  • Archer, Nicole. “Text(ile)s: How to Fabricate a Body Without Organs.” Textiles: Journal of Cloth and Culture 2.2 (2004).

​Recent Talks:

  • Speaker, “Gorgeous Ideas: Hips Don’t Lie,” Gallery Talk (part of an evening of events celebrating the exhibition Gorgeous) at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum (San Francisco: July 10, 2014).
  • Phillip Warner Lecturer in Fiber. Cranbrook Academy of Art (Bloomfield Hills, MI: March 3-6, 2014).
  • Presenter, “Insecurity Blankets.” Crafting Community Panel: College Art Association Annual Conference (Chicago: February 13, 2014).
  • Speaker, “Loose Threads.” Notes from the Columbarium on Art, AIDS, and Activism with Josh Faught (SFMoMA, at the Neptune Society Columbarium: November 16, 2013).
  • Respondent, “Teresita Fernández in Conversation with Nicole Archer,” organized in conjunction with the exhibition Beyond Belief: 100 Years of the Spiritual in Contemporary Art (San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum: September 29, 2013).
  • Speaker, “Changing Clothes: Rudi Gernreich, Unweaving the Future.” The Townsend Center Working Group in Contemporary Art (University of California - Berkeley: April 4, 2013).


  • PhD, History of Consciousness with a declared emphasis in Visual Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • MA, Cultural History, Goldsmiths College, University of London
  • BA, Art History/Gender Studies, New College of Florida