Jason Vartikar is an Asian-American (matrilineal via Pune, India) scholar and curator. A critical race art historian, his work considers objects that influence how we think about "race," Indigeneity, gender, class, and hierarchy. His dissertation on early-20th-century painter Charles Burchfield explores the influence of the civil rights movement on Regionalism.
His award-winning essay in American Art, “Ruth Asawa’s Early Wire Sculpture and a Biology of Equality” discusses the Asian-American artist’s sculptures as metaphors for racial equality. The Smithsonian American Art Museum hailed the essay as “profound” in light of the “recent rise in attacks, suspicion, and racism of Asian communities.”
Committed to implementing change through the unique power of contemporary art, Vartikar has curated or co-curated exhibitions of world-renowned artists that address topics including Black futurism (Alisha Wormsley: Remnants of an Advanced Technology); feminism (Polly Apfelbaum: Flatland Color Revolt); South-Asian-American life (For America: Rina Banerjee); and decolonization (Companion Species, At What Cost: The Works of Marie Watt).
He is currently a doctoral candidate in Stanford’s department of art and art history, where he has been a recipient of the Jeanette and William Hayden Jones Fellowship in American Art and Culture since 2016.
From 2011-2016 he was a founder and director of the Hansel and Gretel Picture Garden and Pocket Utopia – a critically acclaimed gallery and performance venue in New York City.