Jessica Baran will continue her critical engagement with art, artists and exhibitions taking place in the greater Midwestern American states—a.k.a. “flyover country”—in the form of regularly published short-form essays and reviews. Based in St. Louis, and aiming to cover art there as well as neighboring cities in need of critical reflection such as Kansas City and Bentonville, Baran will consider how art contributes to critical socio-political conversations and, at times, assists in the culture wars that persist between different regions and their demographics by drawing connections between local practices and national and international art discourses.

Jessica Baran is a critic, curator, and poet. Baran began publishing art criticism on a Yahoo! listserv before writing for local publications such as St. Louis’ Riverfront Times, where she kept a regular art column. She has also written for Artforum and Art in America, among other national and international art journals. The author of three poetry collections, Baran organized public events and published art books and zines at the pioneering alternative art space, fort gondo compound for the arts, and co-founded the 100 Boots Poetry Series at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. She also established an art writing seminar at the MFA program of the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art at Washington University and has taught in St. Louis University’s Prison Arts and Education program.