Jan Christian Bernabe, Ph.D.
A Filipinx American genderqueer queer based in Chicago, Jan Christian Bernabe (“he, him, Jan") is the Chief Creative & Operations Director and Founder of FLXST Contemporary, a contemporary art space and incubator in the South Loop focused chiefly on emerging diasporic im/migrant artists, artists of color, and LGBTQ artists. He is also an educator, scholar, curator, and art & culture critic/writer. Jan has over fifteen years of work experiences teaching, researching, and publishing about art history and visual culture in higher education and working in arts management in the nonprofit sector. He continues to work closely with emergent artists, writers, and scholars on curatorial projects within the digital arts and humanities and site-specific art projects. Jan's taught courses focused on art historical surveys, histories of race and representation, and gender and queer studies in art history and visual culture (among other topics) at the University of Michigan, Cornish College of the Arts, and Whitman College. With a Ph.D. in the Program in American Culture from the University of Michigan, he has written for postions: asia critique, Wasafiri Magazine, Verge: Studies in Global Asias, Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas, the Filipino American Artist Directory and other academic and non-academic outlets. With the artist-scholar Laura Kina, he co-edited Queering Contemporary Asian American Art published by the University of Washington Press (2017) and is at work on the second volume of the project. Jan specializes in art history and visual culture studies in the United States and the historical and cultural work of visual technologies (like print, photography, film, digital media and the Internet) among communities of color. He is invested in surfacing underrepresented visual makers, whether artists, photographer, or filmmakers, in his research, writing, and curating. As a life-long learner and knowledge maker, he is particularly interested in the intersections of Filipinx diasporic art, queer cultural practices, and civic engagement & social justice. When not running FLXST Contemporary or researching and writing about art and photography, Jan serves as a member of the Community Advisory Group for Equality Illinois, a Core Leader for AFIRE Chicago, and a Critique Group Instructor for Latitude Chicago. He also supports other local community social justice and arts nonprofit organizations in Chicago. He is a fierce advocate for LGBTQ+ immigrant rights, racial and economic social justice, and transgender affirming policies for Illinois and across the US. Jan believes in the power of art to inspire civic engagement.