Risa Puleo researches the entanglement between the Americas and Europe during the early modern period with a focus on how indigenous American objects and people were important to the formation of the Wunderkammer and Early Modern Museum through their collection as objects of wonder, scrutiny, spectacle, and study. Risa came to the early modern period after working as a curator of contemporary art. Her interests include sites of presentation, mechanisms of display, patronage, collection, the formation of institutions of art and empire, and the parallel development of the museum, prison, zoo, library, hospital, university, and museum.
Risa's writing has been published in Art21 magazine, Art in America, Art Asia Pacific, ArtLies, ArtPapers, Glasstire, Hyperallergic, and Modern Painters, among others. She has curated exhibitions at The Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, where she was Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art; Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha; Charlotte Street Foundation, Kansas City; ArtPace, A Foundation for Contemporary Art, San Antonio. Her exhibition Walls Turned Sideways: Artists Confront the American Justice System, opening at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston in August of 2018, is founded on her research into the museum and prison as sister institutions developing from the same cultural logic.