History of Art


Louis Shankar

PhD supervisor: Mignon Nixon and Bob Mills 
Working title for PhD: “We Are Born Into A Pre-Invented Existence” — towards a psychoanalytic analysis of David Wojnarowicz’s late work (1987–92)

My PhD project is an interrogation of the late work of David Wojnarowicz (1954–92), focussing on three separate exhibitions from 1989: a solo exhibition at the P.P.O.W. gallery, ‘In the Shadow of Forward Motion’; a group exhibition curated by Nan Goldin at Artists Space, ‘Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing'; and ‘ITSOFOMO’, a collaborative performance piece with Ben Neill, which debuted at the Kitchen. I am drawing primarily on psychoanalytic theory, particularly the work of Lacan and Freud, as well as a variety of queer theory. I am situating my analyses within wider critical and cultural responses to the AIDS crisis in America, drawing on theoretical understandings of trauma and its relationship to representation.


  • Shortlisted for International Awards for Art Criticism, 2020

Conference Papers and Presentations 

  • ‘“Criminal, loner, drifter” — metonymic citation in the collages of David Wojnarowicz’ at Citations, June 2021, CSCA at UCL.


  • HART0001 History of Art Core Course 2021–22
  • BFA 2 Critical Studies at the Slade 2021–22