History of Art


Previous Events


Monday 15th March 2021, 5pm - The Disappointing Apocalypse: Visualising Climate in Art Since the 1960s

Andrew Patrizio (University of Edinburgh)

Much of Andrew Patrizio’s recent writing and teaching has promoted the value of art history to represent and resist the climate crisis. His work, alongside a rising number of other scholars and artists, seeks to mobilise the discipline to make visible and tangible the conditions of the Anthropocene.

This talk is based on a work-in-progress chapter exploring the complex relationship between the idea of eco-apocalypse and visual art practice since 1960. It will offer a picture of the current apocalyptic condition as deeply undramatic and, in that sense, disappointing. 
‘Apocalypse’ has been depicted by numerous artists globally (from medieval manuscript illuminators to the Romantics), first as a visualisation of Christian doctrinal warning and then more generally as a cultural trope for a variety of apocalyptic forms (nuclear war, migration, racial tension, famine). Climate collapse, global warming, pollution, toxicity and plastic proliferation, genetic mutation and viral spread are recently ecologically-framed manifestations on a similar register. These formations are worked on by artists, particularly those employing systemic, critical, relational and conceptual approaches. The disaster is now materially unfolding and seems disappointingly unconcerned with redemption and human futures, whilst being at the same time entirely caused by industrialised humans (expressed through resource depletion, rising waters and mass extinction). It is now difficult to imagine in the visual arts the notion of apocalypse without registering the material presence of climate crisis.

Among the art practices discussed will be Helen Mayer and Newton Harrison, The Lagoon Cycle (1974-1986), Ursula Biemann, Black Sea Files (2005), Trevor Paglen, The Last Pictures (2012), Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho, El Fin del Mundo (The End of the World) (2012) and Margaret Wertheim and Christine Wertheim, Crochet Coral Reef (2005-ongoing).

Wednesday 3rd February 2021, 2pm - The Whole Picture: A Conversation with Alice Procter of Uncomfortable Art Tours

In collaboration with the Research Seminar Series. More details: 

PDF iconthe_whole_picture_-_alice_procter.pdf


Monday 11 March 2019 - Out of the Confines: early modern and contemporary research-in-progress

Rosemary Moore and Jacob Paskins (UCL History of Art)

Monday 25 February 2019 - Looking for the Ideal Form: How the French Revolution shaped prison architecture and the writing of its history

Caroline Soppelsa (Research associate, Université de Tours)

Looking for the Ideal Form
Monday 18 February 2019 - Hideouts: the architectural analysis of the secret infrastructure of Jewish survival during the Second World War

Natalia Romik

Pola Dwórnik “kryjowka”( Hideout)

Monday 28 January 2019 - Panel Discussion: Land and Confinement

Ben Pollitt, Helene Birkeli, Gabriella Nugent, Kimberly Schreiber

Land and Confinement
Monday 3 December 2018 - Inside/Out: Sculpture and Concealment in Fifteenth-Century Europe

Jessica Barker (Lecturer in Medieval Art, Courtauld Institute)

Monday 12 November 2018 - Queer Space in West German Film

Tom Wilkinson (Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Warburg Institute)

Monday 29 October, 2018 - Filmscreening and discussion of 'Taxi zum Klo' (Frank Ripploh, Germany 1980, 91 min)

Tom Wilkinson (Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Warburg Institute)

Monday 15 October 2018 - Past Imperfect Potluck: "Confinement"


2017 - 2018

Friday 25 May 2018, 6pm - IAS Book Launch: Derek Jarman's Medieval Modern

Location: IAS Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building

Please join us for this IAS Book Launch for Derek Jarman's Medieval Modern by Robert Mills (UCL History of Art). The event will feature the author in conversation with Mark Turner (English Department, King's College London).

Monday 21 May 2018, 6pm - The Impossibility of Socialist Realist Art

Maria Mileeva - The Impossibility of Socialist Realist Art

Maria Mileeva (UCL History of Art)

Tuesday 30 January 2018, 6-8pm - Exhibition visit, METADATA: HOW WE RELATE TO IMAGES

The exhibition, currently showing at the Lethaby Gallery, is the result of a collaboration between Central Saint Martins and the research project 'Bilderfahrzeuge: Aby Warburg's Legacy and the Future of Iconology' at the Warburg Institute.

Hans Christian Hoenes, one of the organisers of METADATA, will join us and say a few words about the concept and genesis of this collaborative exhibition project.

We will meet at 6pm inside the Lethaby Gallery

Monday 22 January 2018 - Exploratory Workshop, Orientations and Horizons

Presentations by -
Bronwen Wilson (UCLA)
Maria H Loh (Hunter College)
Rose Marie San Juan (UCL)
followed by seminar discussion and reception

poster for the event (pdf)