Kemp is an artist, poet, and curator and serves as the Dean of Graduate Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was named a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow in Fine Arts. Kemp received his M.F.A. from Stanford University, and a B.A./B.F.A. In English literature/studio art from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts.