Joni L. Kinsey received her Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis in 1989 and joined the faculty of the University of Iowa in 1991. She teaches a variety of classes, ranging from surveys of visual culture in the United States to courses on American landscape painting, American print culture, art of the American National Parks, and museum theory and practice. Her research specialties include nineteenth-century landscape painting and art of the American West and Midwest, but her interests range widely and she has written on a variety of other topics, from nineteenth century popular prints to the rise of women artists in the central U.S. She is the author of four books, Thomas Moran and the Surveying of the American West, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992; Plain Pictures: Images of the American Prairie, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996; The Majestic Grand Canyon: 150 Years in Art, First Glance Books, 1998, and most recently Thomas Moran's West: Chromolithography, High Art, and Popular Taste (University Press of Kansas, 2006) and a number of articles and book chapters. In 2014 Professor Kinsey was a Fulbright Fellow in the United Kingdom, working on a new project, Thomas Moran’s Britain: Transatlantic Visions of “The American Turner.” She lectures frequently at professional conferences, symposia, and museums; recent presentations have included “Modernism at a Midwestern Crossroads: The Fateful Relationship of Grant Wood, Lester Longman, and H. W. Janson,” (University of Nottingham, England), “Philip Guston and H.W. Janson” (University of Iowa Museum of Art 2017), and "Thomas Moran's Art, National Parks, and the Conservation Movement" (Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, WY)
Professor Kinsey is also the curator of the Eve Drewelowe Collection, a remarkable corpus of hundreds of paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and personal effects of Eve Drewelowe, who bequeathed the collection to the School of Art & Art History in the late 1980s. Drewelowe received the first Master of Arts in painting at the University of Iowa in 1924 and devoted her life to making art. Because she worked in a wide range of media, changed her style with the times, and wrote thoughtfully about her struggles and inspirations her collection is a remarkably broad ranging and rich representation of modern art and the issues that affected women artists in the twentieth century. One or two art history graduate students are selected every year to work with the collection as research assistants under Professor Kinsey’s supervision.