Date Updated



Art and Art History

Academic Rank

Professor Emerita

Year Retired from SJSU


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Jo Farb Hernández

SelectedWorks Profile Page

Jo Farb Hernández

Educational Background

University of California, Berkeley, Museum Management Institute, 1981 Certificate

University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Training in Museum Studies, 1978‑1979

University of California, Davis Extension, Museum Studies, 1978

University of California, Los Angeles, Folklore and Mythology—concentration in Folk Art, 1975 M.A

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Double Major in Political Science and French, 1974 B.A. with Honors

Teaching Experience

Professor, San Jose State University, 2000-2019

Lecturer, University of California, Santa Cruz. 1999-2000

Adjunct Professor of Museum Studies, John F. Kennedy University, San Francisco. 1978

Adjunct Professor, East Texas State University, Commerce, Texas. 1977

Administrative and Professional Experience

Director/Curator of the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery, 2000-2019

Resident Director, California State University International Program, Madrid and Granada, 2015-2016

Director/Curator of SPACES – Saving and Preserving Arts and Cultural Environments—a nonprofit that archives documenting art environments and self-taught arts (, 2006-2019; Director/Curator Emerita, 2019-

Principal, Curatorial and Museum Management Services, 1993-present

Consulting Curator, Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art, Monterey, CA. 1993-2001

Director, Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art. December 1985‑November 1993

Director, Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA. January 1978‑November 1985

Graduate Advisor, San Jose State University, Arts Administration. 1979‑1980

Assistant to the Director, Triton Museum of Art. October 1977‑January 1978

Rockefeller Fellow, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. 1976‑1977

Assistant Registrar, Museum of Cultural History, University of California, Los Angeles. 1974‑75

Assistant Registrar, Folklore and Mythology Department, University of California, Los Angeles. 1975


American Association of Museums

  • National Program Committee, 1992-93
  • Museum Assessment Program Surveyor, 1990, 1994
  • Panelist, Annual Meeting, 1983

United States Information Agency

  • Proposal Review Panelist, 1992
  • Lecturer, 1989
  • Project Director, 1988-89

Western Museums Association (AAM Affiliate)

  • Executive Board and Board of Directors, 1989-1991
  • Program Committee, Annual Meeting, 1991, 1990 (Chair), 1984
  • Chair, panel, Annual Meeting, 1986, 1984
  • Nominating Committee, 1985-1986

California Association of Museums

  • President, Board of Directors, 1991-1992
  • Vice-President, Board of Directors, 1985-1991
  • Executive Board, Board of Directors, 1993-1994
  • Chair, Executive Search Committee, 1993
  • Chair, Annual Meeting, 1990; Panelist 1993
  • Chair, Nominating Committee, 1990, 1988, 1992-3
  • Chair, Membership Committee, 1985-1987

California Arts Council

  • Consultant, Grants Panel, Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, 1999
  • Grants Review Panelist, Visual Arts Organizations, 1986, 1992
  • Grants Review Panelist, Multi-Cultural Entry program, 1989
  • Grants Review Panelist, Traditional Folk Art program, 1988-1990
  • Site Evaluator, Visual Arts Organizations panel, 1985-1990
  • Grants Review Panelist, Artist-in-Residence program, 1983-1985

Lectures widely at museums and universities internationally; juries national, statewide, and regional exhibitions; and has been a panelist for numerous governmental agencies, private foundations, and nonprofit organizations. Consult Curriculum Vitae for lists of Grant Review/Professional Selection Panels and Lectures/Guest Curating and Selected Board Memberships.

Selected Publications

Authored or co-authored over thirty award-winning books and exhibition catalogues; Forms of Tradition in Contemporary Spain won the prestigious Chicago Folklore Prize in 2006, and A.G. Rizzoli: Architect of Magnificent Visions (Harry N. Abrams, 1997) was one of’s “10 Best: Art and Architecture” books that year.

In 2008, received a Fulbright Senior Scholar award to research art environments in Spain. A groundbreaking book resulting from this research, Singular Spaces: From the Eccentric to the Extraordinary in Spanish Art Environments, was published by Raw Vision in 2013; it has been called the “…most impressive single volume of research ever published in the field of self-taught art.” She is continuing her fieldwork in Spain on art environments created by self-taught artists in preparation for a second volume of Singular Spaces.

Regularly publishes articles for a variety of international art journals; Contributing Editor for Raw Vision magazine, serves on the International Editorial Board for Elsewhere – the International Journal of Self-Taught and Outsider Art and Bric-a-Brac Arte Outsider journal

Consult Curriculum Vitae for extensive list of publications, including books, catalogues, journals/collections, published photographs, videos, exhibitions, and television/radio/podcasts.

Personal Commentary


In recognition of scholarly achievements, lauded as San José State University’s “President’s Scholar” in 2014-2015, the highest honor awarded to a member of the faculty. Consult Curriculum Vitae for extensive list of awards.

Professional Fieldwork Research

European “outsider” art environments, 1976, 1997, 1999-present

American Folk Sculptural forms/“outsider” art environments, 1974‑1976, 1997, 2000-present

Traditional ceramics, material culture, and performance events, Spain, 1999-2005, 2007-present

Yaqui Semana Santa Observances, 1992, 1995, 2014

Mexican Day of the Dead Observances, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1981

California Day of the Dead Observances, 1980, 1982, 2000- present

Northwest Coast Native American Carving Techniques, 1981

Vernacular Architecture, Eastern Europe, 1981

Bulgarian‑American Easter customs, Los Angeles, 1976

American quilts and quilters, Texas and Arkansas, 1975‑1977

Macedonian folk dance, art, and traditional material culture, 1973, 1976

Bibliographical Listings

Who’s Who in America

Who’s Who in American Art

Who’s Who of American Women

Who’s Who in the West

Who’s Who of Women in Education

World’s Who’s Who of Women



Download Curriculum Vitae (330 KB)

Hernández, Jo Farb