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 U.S. editor and staff writer from 2004 to 2009), Artforum, Artsy, Art in America, Cabinet, Art Asia Pacific, Bomb, Border Crossings, Metropolis, Programma, The Eggemoggin Reach and other periodicals. His writing has 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 a forgotten Land Art site in the forests of Northern Maine, graphic novel journalism in zones of conflict, 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!" at Mildred's Lane artist residency in Narrowsburg, NY in 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. 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/Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. He lives and works in New York City.