Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts
I gained my BA (2003) and MA (2004) in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, and my PhD in Art History and Theory from the University of Essex (2010). I held a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Getty Research Institute (2009-2011), where I continued as a Research Associate and Managing Editor of the Getty Research Journal until joining the University of Nottingham in September 2012.
I am due to be on research leave in the Autumn 2018 semester, though will still supervise doctoral students during this period.
My area of expertise lies primarily in histories of American art, criticism, and curating post-1945, with a particular emphasis on the role of California, the West, and the Midwest in art historical narratives; issues of regional cultural identity in the United States throughout the twentieth century; and counter-cultural or otherwise alternative sites of artistic production, dissemination and display.
My work has also addressed the American legacies of surrealism, in particular the writing of the French dissident surrealist Antonin Artaud, and the theoretical and art historical narratives of modernism and postmodernism.
I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).
My teaching focuses primarily on American art, criticism and curating post-1945. I am also interested in European avant-gardes of the 1920s and 1930s, especially surrealism, and their legacies. Examples of modules that I teach are:
- Art in America 1945-1975
- Art, politics and protest in twentieth-century America
- Art and architecture in Los Angeles, 1940-1980
- Performance Art
- Surrealism and its legacies
- Institutional Critique
- Exhibition Histories and Practices (MA)
- Visualising Conflict (MA)
- Image and Identity (MA)
My teaching is informed by the notion that art history is not only about acquiring knowledge but also about producing meanings. A goal of my pedagogical practice is to encourage student to interrogate dominant historical narratives and to be cognisant of their own subjective position in viewing and understanding works of art and visual culture. My teaching methods are aimed at encouraging students to feel a sense of ownership over material that they are studying and the process of learning and at creating a democratic classroom where students can develop confidence in their own critical voice and their ability not only to understand but also to shape society.
I am currently working on a book, provisionally entitled No More Masterpieces: Modern Art After Artaud, which is an analysis of American art of the 1950s to the 1970s through the lens of the American… read more
I welcome proposals that relate to any aspect of American art post-1945, especially those that engage with conceptual and/or performance practices, alternative or countercultures, discourses of regionalism and topics that relate to art centres and cultural networks beyond New York.
I currently supervise the following doctoral projects:
- Evan Jones, "The Xerox machine: its use and influence in business, subculture and the arts" (AHRC funded project, second supervisor)
- Katherine Doniak, "Conceptual Art and counterculture in Sixties America" (Midlands3Cities funded project, lead supervisor).
- Lucy Mounfield, "Vivian Maier: the Amateur Photographer" (Midlands3Cities funded project, second supervisor)
I am currently working on a book, provisionally entitled No More Masterpieces: Modern Art After Artaud, which is an analysis of American art of the 1950s to the 1970s through the lens of the American reception of the French writer Antonin Artaud.
Recent publications include editing the collected volume Lawrence Alloway: Critic and Curator (Getty, 2015), which was awarded the Historians of British Art prize for exemplary multi-authored volume.
Recent research events include the two-day workshop and symposium Rethinking regionalism: the Midwest in American Art History (8-9 June 2017, University of Nottingham), with support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.
My doctoral thesis on the American reception of Antonin Artaud is the foundation of my current book project. My doctoral research also produced two articles. One, published in Art History in 2012, focuses on the Californian artist Wallace Berman's quotation of Artaud; the second explores the impact of Artaud's model of the Theatre of Cruelty on John Cage's theories of indeterminacy. In both, as in my thesis, I make the case for Artaud's importance in post-1945 American art history, and to understanding the theoretical formation of postmodernism.
In the two years following my PhD, as a postdoctoral fellow at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, I worked on a project entitled Pacific Standard Time: Art in Los Angeles 1945-1980, which included an exhibition and accompanying publication, for which I co-authored two chapters. The first focused on the rise of the fledgling Los Angeles art scene through the concurrent development of a gallery scene and a series of alternative cultural practices associated with "beat" culture, assemblage art, and a widespread rejection of Bay Area abstract expressionism. The second chapter examined the rise of pop art in Los Angeles as a peculiarly expansive practice focused on craftsmanship and the exploration of new material techniques and processes. More broadly, my research during this period focused on the alternative sites of artistic production, dissemination and display that characterised Los Angeles during the 1950s and 1960s.
I am currently developing two new projects: one on the ways in which protest movements revisit, reuse, and reinvent past protest imagery; and one on the role of fictional biography and life narrative in American art of the 1970s and 1980s.