Associate Professor Contact Areas of Interest

John Paul Ricco
  • Contemporary Continental Philosophy and in particular the work of Jean-Luc Nancy
  • Aesthetics, politics and ethics
  • Late-twentieth-century and contemporary art and visual culture
  • Queer theory and sexuality studies


My research is at the intersection of contemporary art and architecture, queer theory, and contemporary continental philosophy. My first book, The Logic of the Lure (University of Chicago Press, 2003) is the first monograph in queer art history. In it, I combine a close reading of Maurice Blanchot’s philosophy of the outside, with discussions of contemporary queer art and the anonymity, imperceptibility, itinerancy and illicitness of cruising, in order to articulate an ethics and aesthetics of social-sexual promiscuity. In The Decision Between Us: art and ethics in the time of scenes (University of Chicago Press, 2014), I present an extended theoretical mediation on the space of separation that is intimately shared and sustained in aesthetic and ethical social relations to everyday places and things. With my current book project, The Outside Not Beyond, I am completing the third volume in a trilogy of books on “the intimacy of the outside.” This book is part of a larger research program on “The Risks and Pleasures of Bodily Abandonment and Freedom,” that has received a SSHRC Insight Grant for 2015-19, and that also includes a Research Working Group that I have convened on “Sex, Ethics and Publics.” A second research project, on “The Collective Afterlife of Things,” was the focus of my fellowship at the Jackman Humanities Institute, 2015-16. I am currently Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Chair, in the Department of Art History.

Selected Publications


The Decision Between Us: art & ethics in the time of scenes, University of Chicago, 2014.

The Logic of the Lure, University of Chicago, 2003.

Edited Volumes

Journal of Visual Culture, volume 9, number 1, April 2010. Special Issue: “Regarding Jean-Luc Nancy,” (co-edited with Louis Kaplan).

Parallax, 35, volume 11, no. 2, April-June 2005. Conceptual theme: “unbecoming.”


“Showing Showing: reading W.J.T. Mitchell’s ‘queer’ metapictures,” in W.J.T. Mitchell’s Image Theory: Living Pictures, edited by Kresimir Purgar. Routledge, 2016.

“Drool: Liquid Fore-speech of the Fore-scene,” in World Picture, issue on “Abandon” (Spring 2015).

“The Separated Gesture: Partaking in the Inoperative Praxis of the Already-Unmade,” in Jean-Luc Nancy and the Political, edited by SanjaDejanovic, Critical Connection Series, Edinburgh University Press, 2015.

“The Art of the Consummate Cruise and the Essential Risk of the Common,” Feedback, February 2016.

“Pornographic Faith: Two Sources of Naked Sense at the Limits of Belief and Humiliation,” in Porn Archives, edited by Tim Dean, Duke University Press, 2014.

“Us to-come: Francesco Vezzoli’s non-consensual futures,” Journal of Visual Culture, volume 9, number 1, April 2010; Co-Editors John Paul Ricco and Louis Kaplan, special issue: “Regarding Jean-Luc Nancy.”

“The Surreality of Community: Frédéric Brenner’s Diaspora: Homelands in Exile,” Culture Machine 8, 2006, “Community,” edited by Dorota Glowacka.

Accomplishments and Awards

Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant, 2015-19.

Faculty Research Fellow, Jackman Humanities Institute, 2015-16.