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Jessica Backus is the Director of Learning and The Art Genome Project at Artsy. The Art Genome Project is an ongoing study mapping the characteristics that connect the world’s artists and artworks. There are over 1,000 of these characteristics, including art-historical movements, subject matter, and formal qualities. The Art Genome Project is used by collectors, art advisors, curators, writers, students, teachers and the general public to learn about, discover and collect art. Artsy makes these categories available via an open access github repository and at www.artsy.net/categories.
Prior to joining Artsy in 2011, Jessica worked in special projects and client services at Phillips in New York, a boutique auction house specializing in modern and contemporary art. From 2006 to 2010 she served as associate director of the gallery Peres Projects in Berlin. Jessica holds a B.A in comparative literature and society from Columbia University and an M.A. in art history from Hunter College, where her research focused on post-war German art. She has written, translated or edited publications for the Neue Galerie, the Fondation Beyeler, Steidl Verlag, The New German Review (forthcoming), and many others. Recent talks include “‘Real Modern Art’: Werner Tübke and the Question of Modernism,” Reassessing East German Art: 25 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Iowa State University, Ames IA, September 2014; and “Postmodernism, Allegory and Vergangenheitsbewältigung in Werner Tübke’s Life Memories of Dr. of Law Schulze,” College Arts Association 102nd Annual Conference, Chicago, February 2014.