History of Art


Professor Briony Fer



Briony Fer

Contact Details

Office: 305, 21 Gordon Square
Office hours: Tuesdays 12-1pm
+44 (0)20 3108 4030 (internal 54030)
Email: b.fer@ucl.ac.uk


Professor of History of Art, Research Director and a Fellow of the British Academy

Dept of History of Art

Faculty of S&HS

Research Themes

Modern and Contemporary art

Art Design and Architecture


Research Summary

Key publications include her books On Abstract Art (2000) and The Infinite Line (2004), both published by Yale University Press. She has written on many contemporary artists, including Gabriel Orozco, Roni Horn, Vija Celmins, Ed Ruscha, Rachel Whiteread and David Batchelor. Much of her research has focused on the work of the American sculptor Eva Hesse, writing for the 2002 retrospective of the artist curated by Elisabeth Sussman at SFMOMA in 2002.


Teaching and Supervision

PhD students

Linzi Stauvers Stein through the Sixties: Minimal and Conceptual artists practice Gertrude Stein's Poetics
Klara Kemp Welsh Restrained Actions: Subversion of Central European Post-Conceptualism 1965-89
Cliff Lauson In Vancouver as Elsewhere: Modernism and the 'Vancouver School'
Patricia Lee Dematerialisation and Spectacle from Flavin to Eliasson
Wenny Teo Scripted Subjectivities: body/ Language in Contemporary Chinese Art
Janice Hitchens Figuration and Configuration in Contemporary Sculpture
Sergio Martins Urban Schemas: Imaginary Trajectories in Contemporary Brazilian Art
Bryony Bery  Replicas and Reconstructions:  Case Studies in 20th Century Art

Simon Elmer The Colour of the Sacred
Simon Baker: Surrealism and the French Revolution
Frances Stracey: Pursuit of A Situationist Subject
Mark Godfrey (with Tamar Garb): The Memory of Modernism: Abstract art and the Holocaust
Jo Applin: The Secret Art of the Sixties
Tamara Trodd: Mediums and Technologies Beyond Modernism
Kristen Hutchinson: The Body as Fragment
Ed Krcma: Drawing time: Trace, Materiality and the Body in drawing after 1940


Briony Fer is Professor of History of Art. She graduated from Sussex University with BA Hons in History of Art (major) with French (minor) in 1979. She then went on to the Department of History of History and Theory of Art at Essex University where her doctoral research on the Russian and French avant-gardes was supervised by Professor Dawn Ades and Professor Michael Podro. She was awarded her PhD in 1988.

In 1980 she joined the History of Art Department at the Open University as a Lecturer working on groundbreaking courses there and publishing essays in the Modernity and Modernism textbooks, published jointly by the Open University and Yale University Press in 1993.

She joined University College in 1990 and was made a Reader in 1997 and Professor in 2005. She has published extensively on 20th century and contemporary art