Carrie Lambert-Beatty is a contemporary art historian. She is the author of the award-winning book Being Watched: Yvonne Rainer and the 1960s (MIT Press, 2008) and the essay "Make Believe: Parafiction and Plausibility," among other writings.


Her current research focuses on parafiction: art in which fiction is presented as fact. She is interested in what artists' trickery can show us about historical change in ways of knowing. Over decades of accelerating epistemic crisis, she argues, art has not only diagnosed truth-problems and their causes, but pointed toward a progressive set of epistemic values and competencies: contemporary ways of knowing different from both the totalitarian-friendly culture of post-truth, and the wishful thinking of a return to liberal epistemic order.


Professor Lambert-Beatty holds Harvard's first faculty postition in contemporary art history, with a joint appointment in the Department of History of Art and Architecture and the Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies. She teaches the history of post-modern and contemporary art, with courses on topics including art and politics, the aesethics of deception, and the humanities'sn production of knowledge about the more-than-human world. Like her writing, her teaching often stresses the different types of viewer experience invited by artists' formal and technical choices, and how these connect to contemporary matters of concern: attention and information economies, globalization after colonialism, climate crisis, and the structural politics of gender and race.