Professor Mignon Nixon
Mignon Nixon is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art and an editor of October. She joined the History of Art department at UCL in 2016 after twenty stimulating years teaching post-war American art at the Courtauld Institute of Art and following a term as the Diane Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Visiting Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Cambridge in autumn 2015. Her work focuses on interactions of art with feminism, gender and psychoanalysis and on questions of sexuality, peace and war. Her current book project is Sperm Bomb: Art, Feminism, and the American War in Vietnam. Earlier publications include Fantastic Reality: Louise Bourgeois and a Story of Modern Art and the Eva Hesse October File. She has recently published critical essays on Carolee Schneemann, Mary Kelly, Louise Lawler, Yayoi Kusama, Yvonne Rainer, and Nancy Spero. Her research has been supported by the Getty Research Institute, the Clark Art Institute, the Terra Foundation, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is particularly interested in hearing from potential research students engaging with psychoanalysis and politics (together) and with questions of sexuality and peace (together).
Office: 403, 20 Gordon Square
Office hours: Monday 11.15am-12.15pm and Thursday 4.15-5.15pm
+44 (0)20 3108 4015 (internal 54015)
Professor in History of Art
Dept of History of Art
Faculty of S&HS
Modern and contemporary art; questions of feminism, gender, sexuality and subjectivity; artistic resistance to militarism and war; psychoanalysis; violence; the politics of peace
Mignon's current research focuses on intersections of art, sex, war and peace. Her current research project, Sperm Bomb: Art, Feminism, and the American War in Vietnam, explores the dynamic interaction between feminist thought and artistic resistance to war.
Her publications include Fantastic Reality: Louise Bourgeois and a Story of Modern Art (2005) and an edited anthology of writings on Eva Hesse (2002). An anthology on Mary Kelly is forthcoming in 2016. She has published extended critical essays on artists including Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler, Yayoi Kusama, Nancy Spero, Carolee Schneemann, and Silvia Kolbowski, and on such topics as the psychoanalytic couch, transference and the "woman artist," sculpture and the part-object, and the house museum.
Mignon is interested in interdisciplinary modes of inquiry and in writing across disciplines.
Books (edited and authored)
Mary Kelly (MIT Press/October Books, 2016).
Fantastic Reality: Louise Bourgeois and a Story of Modern Art (MIT Press/October Books, 2005).
Eva Hesse (MIT Press/October Books, 2002).
The Duchamp Effect, co-editor with Martha Buskirk (MIT Press/October Books, 1996).
Journal special issues
October 113 (Summer 2005), special section on psychoanalysis.
Louise Bourgeois special issue, Oxford Art Journal, vol. 22, no. 2 (1999). Guest editor.
Feminist IssueS, special issue, October 71 (Winter 1995). Co-editor with Silvia Kolbowski.
Chapters and catalogue essays
"Schneemann's Personal Politics," in Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Painting, ed. Sabine Breitwieser and Branden Joseph (Prestel, 2015).
"Minimal Difference: On Siblings, Sex and Violence," in Juliet Mitchell and the Lateral Axis: Twenty-First Century Psychoanalysis and Feminism, ed. Robbie Duschinsky and Sue Walker (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
"Infinity Politics," in Yayoi Kusama, ed. Frances Morris (London: Tate Publishing, 2012), pp. 176-185.
"L," in Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed, ed. Philip Larratt-Smith (London: Robert Violette, 2012).
"Book of Tongues," in Nancy Spero: Dissidances. Barcelona and Madrid: Museo d'Art Contemporáni and Museo National Centro de Art Reina Sofia, 2008, pp. 21-53.
"Reconstructing the Past: Louise Bourgeois and Psychoanalysis," Louise Bourgeois. London: Tate Publishing, 2007, pp. 228-233.
"The She Fox: Transference and the 'Woman Artist," in Women Artists at the Millennium, ed. Carol Armstrong and Catherine de Zegher (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press/October Books, 2006), pp. 275-303.
"'Child Drawing,'" in Eva Hesse Drawing, ed. Catherine de Zegher (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), pp. 27-56.
"Eva Hesse: A Note on Milieu," in Sculpture and Psychoanalysis, ed. Brandon Taylor (Leeds: Ashgate Press and Henry Moore Institute, 2006), pp. 161-176.
"What's So Funny about Fetishism?" in Everyday Extraordinary: Encountering Fetishism with Marx, Freud, and Lacan, ed. Christopher M. Gemerchak (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2004), pp. 97-115.
"Oral Histories: Silvia Kolbowski and the Dynamics of Transference," in Silvia Kolbowski: Inadequate . . . Like . . . Power. Vienna and Cologne: Secession and Walter Koenig, 2004, pp. 93-102.
"Ringaround Arosie: 2 in 1," in Eva Hesse (MIT Press/October Books, 2002), pp. 195-218.
"Psycho-Phallus, Qu'est-ce que c'est? Louise Bourgeois's Fillette," in A Companion to Art Theory, ed. Paul Smith and Carolyn Wilde (Blackwell, 2002), pp. 397-408.
"The Gnaw and the Lick: Orality in Recent Feminist Art," in Janine Antoni, activitats esculturals (Barcelona: Fondació La Caixa, 1996), pp. 14-19, 30-31; reprinted in Art and Feminism, ed. Helena Reckitt (Phaidon Press, 2001), pp. 275-76.
"Why Freud? Asked the Shrew: Psychoanalysis and Feminism, the Post-Partum Document, and the History Group," Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society vol. 20, no. 2 (June 2015), special section: 40th Anniversary of Juliet Mitchell's Psychoanalysis and Feminism, pp. 131-140.
"Louise Lawler: No Drones," October 147 (Winter 2014), pp. 20-37.
"Anatomic Explosion on Wall Street," October 142 (Fall 2012), pp. 3-25.
"Spero's Curses," October 122 (Fall 2007), pp. 3-30.
"War Inside/War Outside: Feminist Critiques and the Politics of Psychoanalysis," Texte zur Kunst, vol. 17, no. 68 (December 2007), pp. 65-75, pp. 134-138.
"o + x," October 119 (Winter 2007), pp. 6-20.
"Dream Dust," October 116 (Spring 2006), pp. 63-86.
"On the Couch," October 113 (Summer 2005), pp. 39-76.
"Eva Hesse Retrospective: A Note on Milieu," October 104 (Spring 2003), pp. 149-156.
"Posing the Phallus," October 92 (Spring 2000), pp. 99-127.
"Eating Words," Oxford Art Journal, Louise Bourgeois special issue, vol. 22, no. 2 (1999), pp. 55-70.
"After Images," October 83 (Winter 1998), pp. 115-30.
"Bad Enough Mother," October 71 (Winter 1995), pp. 71-92; reprinted in October: The Second Decade (Cambridge: Mass: MIT Press, 1997); translated in Divan: A Journal of Psychoanalysis and Culture (Stockholm, 1999).
"'You Thrive on Mistaken Identity,'" (on Barbara Kruger), October 60 (Spring 1992), pp. 59-81.
Interviews and conversations
"Feminist Time: A Conversation," Grey Room 31 (Spring 2008), pp. 33-67.
"A Conversation with Juliet Mitchell," with Tamar Garb, October 113 (Summer 2005), pp. 9-26.
"Round Table: Tate Modern," October 98 (Fall 2001), pp. 3-25.
"Round Table: A Conversation on Recent Feminist Art Practices," October 71 (Winter 1995), pp. 49-69.
Teaching and Supervision
Mignon has supervised doctoral research in art history in the University of London since 1999. At UCL, she is particularly interested in supervising topics concerned with feminism, gender and sexuality, and with anti-militarism and the politics of peace. Proposals with an interdisciplinary dimension are welcome.
Levi Prombaum, "The Black Figure in Mid 20th Century America" (UCL)
Theodore Gordon, "Photographic AIDS Elegy: The Art of Indexing the Dead, 1987-1996" (Courtauld Institute of Art)
Edwin Coomasaru, "Contested Bodies: Northern Irish Masculinities and the Legacy of the 'Troubles" (Courtauld Institute of Art)
Past (Courtauld Institute of Art)
Anna Dezeuze, "The 'Do-It-Yourself Artwork': Spectator Participation and the Dematerialization of the Art Object, New York and Rio de Janiero, 1958-1967," 2003.
Anna Lovatt, "Seriality and Systematic Thought in Drawing, 1966-1976," 2005.
Jerzy Kierkuc-Bielinski, "Confinement and Illusions of Freedom: The Dialogue between Polish and American Conceptual Art," 2005.
Antony Hudek, "Invisible Painting: Mimetic Pictorialism in Postmodern New York, 1977-1987," 2006.
Ruth Rosengarten, "Narrating the Family Romance: Passion and Power in the Work of Paula Rego, 1990-2001," 2006.
Catherine Grant, "Queer Bodies/Queer Looks: Performance and Performativity in Contemporary Photographic Portraits," 2006.
Judith Batalion, "Women's Collaborations in the Visual Arts (US, UK, Canada, 1970-2003)," 2007.
Dominic Johnson, "Touching the Dead: Performance, Testimony, Writing and Death" (on Jack Smith), 2007.
James Boaden, "The Avant-Garde as Swain? The Perpetually Outmoded and the Pastoral Attitude in the United States, 1950-1965," 2009.
Kristin Patterson, "Framing Reception: The Biographical Discourses of Hesse and Mendieta," 2009.
Kathleen Campagnolo, "The Art of Walter De Maria, 1960-1971," 2009.
Kate Random Love, "The Adolescent Condition: A Report on Postmodernism," 2010.
Shir Aloni, "Brushstrokes: The Use of Hair in the Work of Contemporary Women Artists," 2012.
Meredith Brown, "A History of the AIR Gallery, New York: Feminism and the Art Institution," 2012.
Ana Balona de Sa' Oliveira, "Fort/Da: Unhomely and Hybrid Displacements in the Work of Ângela Ferreira, c. 1980-2010," 2012.
Henrietta Stanford, "Affective Afterlives: Encountering Ulrike Meinhof in Yvonne Rainer's Journeys from Berlin/ 1971 (1980), Gerhard Richter's October 18, 1977 (1988) and Silvia Kolbowski's A Few Howls Again? (2010)," 2015.
Ph.D. supervision as co-supervisor
Paula Feldman, "Made to Order: American Minimal Art in the Netherlands, Late 1960s to early 1970s" (co-supervised with Christopher Green), 2005.
Karin Kyburz, "The Right to Indifference: Abstraction in the Work of Gego and Jesŭs Soto" (partly co-supervised with Dr Shulamith Behr), 2008.
Adele Tan, "Embodying Eros, Ethics and Justice: Situating the Stakes of Performance Art and Its Challenges in China" (partly co-supervised with D. Henry Zhao, SOAS, University of London), 2009.
Mignon Nixon has taught history of art in the University of London since 1996, when she was appointed Lecturer in American Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She became Professor at the Courtauld in 2006. She joined the History of Art department at UCL in January 2016. At UCL, she plans to pursue interdisciplinary research across histories and theories of art, gender studies and psychoanalysis.
Mignon has held research fellowships from the Getty Foundation (1999-2000), the Clark Art Institute (2006 and 2012) and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University (2010-11) and has been a senior scholar at the Terra Foundation for the Arts, Giverny (2007). She is the Diane Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Visiting Professor at the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies in autumn 2015.
Mignon was educated at Harvard University (A.B. Visual and Environmental Studies, 1983), the School of Visual Arts, New York City (M.F.A. Sculpture, 1987) and City University of New York Graduate Center (Ph.D., history of art, 1997).
She is a co-editor of October, where many of her writings have also appeared. She has published extensively on later twentieth-century and contemporary art in the perspectives of feminism, psychoanalysis, and gender, including a critical study of the work of Louise Bourgeois (2005) and anthologies of critical writings on Eva Hesse (2002) and Mary Kelly (2016). Recent texts include essays on Louise Lawler, Yayoi Kusama, and Carolee Schneemann, and on the psychoanalytic writings of Juliet Mitchell.