James Trainor writes about art, history, landscape, urbanism and contemporary culture. His columns, essays, editorials, interviews and reviews have appeared in Frieze (where he was US Editor from 2004 to 2009), Artforum, Artsy, Art in America, Cabinet, Art Asia Pacific, Bomb, Border Crossings, Contemporary, Metropolis, Programma, The Eggemoggin Reach and other periodicals. His articles have concerned a range of topics including: the ecological costs of publishing an art magazine, radical playground design of the 1960s-1970s, art tourism and the American West, the quixotic quest for the “Center of the World”, a forgotten Land Art site in the forests of Northern Maine, graphic novel journalism in zones of conflict, urban gardening and the anti-lawn movement, and the question of “relevance” in contemporary art.
As a teacher, he is committed to new models of boots-on-the-ground, experiential pedagogy and interdisciplinary exchange. He has taught numerous experimental field seminars with artist Andrea Zittel, including the Institute of Investigative Living at A-Z West in Joshua Tree, CA (2012-ongoing), as well as O! Wounderous Place! (sic) at Mildred's Lane, in collaboration with Experience Economies (August 2015). James has lectured at Columbia University, New York; Cornell University; University of Southern California, Los Angeles; Bezalel Academy of Art, Tel Aviv; City College of New York, Department of Architecture, and Mildred's Lane. He studied fine art and art history at Parsons School of Design/The New School for Social Research, New York. In January 2015, he was awarded an Arts Writers Grant from Creative Capital / The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. In 2015 he was granted a writing fellowship at the MacDowell Colony for the Fall 2015 session, and was subsequently named the Mary Carswell Fellow for 2015-2016. In May 2016 he was awarded a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.
James lives and works in New York City, where he was born.