Brian T. Leahy works on the relationship between contemporary art, economics, and political imaginaries, especially during the 1980s. He focuses particularly on the relationship between material practices and discursive systems within contemporary art; artists of interest include Tehching Hsieh, David Ireland, Sherrie Levine, Félix González-Torres, David Hammons, and Robert Gober. Ongoing interests include: methods and historiography; durational performance; institutional critique; conceptual and post-conceptual art; rhetoric and contemporary art; art and work; failure, invisibility, and absence; the history of criticism; the art market and the rhetoric of value; experimental art historical forms; contemporary painting.
His research has been supported by a Mellon Cluster Fellowship in Rhetoric and Public Culture at Northwestern, as well as a Graduate Fellowship from the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art History, Theory and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he earned his MA while working as a Graduate Curatorial Assistant in the Sullivan Galleries. He holds a BA in studio art and religious studies from Davidson College.