Robert Atkins is a writer, art historian, and journalist. Trained at the University of California/Berkeley, he has written for more than 100 publications throughout the world ranging from the New York Times and Newsday, to Japanese Wired and Esquire, and contributes regularly to Art in America. He is a former staff columnist for The Village Voice, and is the co-author, most recently, of Censoring Culture: Contemporary Threats to Free Expression (published by The New Press in 2006). His other books include ArtSpeak: A Guide to Contemporary Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords (Abbeville Press, available in an updated edition in five languages), its companion volume ArtSpoke: A Guide to Modern Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords 1848-1944 (1993), and From Media to Metaphor: Art About AIDS (Independent Curators Inc., 1991), the book/catalog for the accompanying exhibition of the same name. He is currently at work on an anthology of his writing and on Thanks for Sharing! A Resource Book About Collaboration In the Visual Arts & Beyond.
He teaches (most recently as the Roman J. Witt Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan) and lectures widely about contemporary art and culture, new media and technology. These interests have catalyzed more than two dozen exhibitions at far-flung venues including Between Science and Fiction (which he organized for the Sao Paulo Bienal, 1985) and Fusion! Artists in a Research Setting (for Carnegie Mellon University, 2001), as well as the creation of pioneering websites such as the City University of New York-sponsored TalkBack! A Forum for Critical Discourse, which he founded in 1995, and Artery: The AIDS-Arts Forum, originated four years later. He was also arts editor of The Media Channel, vice-president/editor-in-chief of the Arts Technology Entertainment Network (a New York Times Video start-up company), and is an associate (fellow) of the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University.
He is a co-founder of Visual AIDS, the creators of Day Without Art and the Red Ribbon, as well as 911The September 11 Project: Cultural Intervention in Civic Society. He is a former board member of the American branch of the International Art Critics' Association (AICA) and the recipient of awards for arts criticism and cultural commentary from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Penny McCall Foundation, among many others. He lives in San Francisco and Palm Springs, California.