Mysoon Rizk



  • Mysoon Rizk is Professor of Art History in the College of Arts and Letters at The University of Toledo, in Toledo, Ohio, where they have been teaching courses in humanities and art history, especially modern and contemporary periods, since 2000. From January 2017 until 2019, they served as the Director of the Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities in the College of Arts and Letters. Since January 2021, Rizk has served as Editor-in-Chief of the double-blind peer-reviewed academic journal Arts Inquiries, published by national professional arts organization SECAC.

    Rizk earned a BA in studio art from Oberlin College and a BS in architectural studies, with honors, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).  They returned to UIUC to study the history of modern and contemporary art, earning an MA in 1994 and a PhD in 1997, their dissertation about the New York-based American artist David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992), one of the most significant American artists of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries who died of AIDS-related illnesses. Rizk was the first person to catalog the Estate, during which time they also worked for galleries representing the artist (PPOW and Gracie Mansion). Estate materials were subsequently acqusitioned as anchor for the “Downtown Collection” in New York University’s Fales Library. 

    After three decades of professional research and activities, including some 40 publications as well as numerous exhibitions and public presentations, Rizk has become an internationally recognized expert on the art and times of Wojnarowicz, most recently tapped to join the Board of the David Wojnarowicz Foundation (based in New York). They are working on two book projects regarding this remarkable artist, including a single-authored monograph. 

    Interest in Wojnarowicz and the AIDS crisis steered Rizk toward the histories of disease, medicine, and the “medical humanities,” resulting in a regularly taught course called “Art and Disease.” In Spring 2011, the course became a platform for students to organize a public exhibition at the world-renown Toledo Museum of Art, drawing on the museum’s permanent collection. One of many experience-based classes, this exhibition version of “Art and Disease” helped satisfy a degree in museum studies and moved students beyond studying the history of disease in art, to the full-scale production of a professional art museum exhibition. Researching and curating, drafting all didactic labels, and interpreting the subject for the general public, students coached their audience to let go “of our fear of sickness” while advocating for diminishing “the suffering of the afflicted.”

selected publications

full name

  • Mysoon Rizk


Cumulative publications in Scholars@UToledo