Esther Choi (b. Toronto, Canada) is a New York City-based artist and scholar working across the disciplines of art and architecture. Trained in photography and architectural history, her artistic practice and scholarship explore how notions of identity and concepts of nature—and, by extension, beliefs about what is normative, natural and inevitable—have shaped and been shaped by the aesthetic and sociopolitical dimensions of modern worldmaking practices. Her scholarship centered on the historical entanglements between modern architecture, technology and the life sciences informs many of her artistic projects, which tend to focus on projective, speculative fictional approaches to understanding the synthetic or "second" natures of contemporary life.
She is the founder of Office Hours, a socially-engaged art initiative that cultivates the sharing of liberatory worldmaking knowledge amongst practitioners who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). In 2022, Office Hours will launch Breaking Waves, a web series featuring leading BIPOC artists, designers and cultural theorists that explores strategies to catalyze radical social change in the cultural industries—and beyond.
In 2019, she published a James Beard nominated artist's book titled Le Corbuffet (Prestel), which adopts the form of a cookbook to imagine alternate modes of engaging with art and design history. She has published critical essays in Artforum, Architectural Review, Art Papers, E-Flux Architecture, Journal of Architectural Education and SSENSE, and contributed book chapters to publications including Hippie Modernism (Walker Art Center, 2015), Reaper (JRP Ringier, 2015) and Radical Pedagogies (MIT Press, 2022). Choi is the coeditor of Architecture At the Edge of Everything Else (MIT Press, 2010) and Architecture Is All Over (Columbia U, 2017).
From 2022-2023, she will be a Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellow. Choi is an Adjunct Associate Professor at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Previously, she held a cross-appointment in the Departments of Photography, Criticism and Curatorial Practice, and the Interdisciplinary Masters Program at OCAD University from 2008 to 2016.
Choi earned a BFA from Toronto Metropolitan University, her MFA from Concordia University, her MDeS from Harvard, and her Ph.D. in the History and Theory of Architecture from Princeton University. She has received a number of grants and fellowships for her work from the Graham Foundation, Getty Foundation, ACLS, Richard Rogers Fellowship, Canada Council for the Arts and The Ford Foundation, among others.