Skip to contents

Featured Media

Book cover
Book cover "What we do is secret: Contemporary Art and the Antinomies of Conspiracy", 2023

Slade School of Fine Art
University College London
Gower Street


Larne Abse Gogarty is Lecturer in History and Theory of Art at the Slade School of Fine Art. Larne’s primary research interests lie in modern and contemporary art, as well as theories relating to Marxism, race and gender. Previously, she was the Terra Foundation for American Art Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte at the Humboldt University, Berlin (20016-2018). She has also taught in the History of Art Department, UCL, Chelsea College of Fine Art and Goldsmiths College. Larne completed her PhD in the History of Art department at University College London in 2015, which was a comparative history of social practice art during the 1990s, and cultural work produced within the proletarian avant-garde during the 1930s in the United States. This research led to my first book, Usable Pasts: Social Practice and State Formation in American Art with the Historical Materialism book series (Brill 2022). She completed an MA at UCL in 2010, and a BA at SOAS in 2008. Between 2008-2015, Larne worked freelance as a Production Assistant for Artangel, on projects by artists including Oreet Ashery, Sarah Cole and Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler, and she also worked for between 2010-2012. She frequently works collaboratively, and is in the organising group for the Marxism in Culture seminar. In 2018, Larne organised the conference “Eccentric, realist, populist, procedural: The Politics of Figuration in American Art”, which took place in May at the Humboldt Universität. In 2016 she co-organised ‘Reality Check: a symposium on art, psycho-politics and the limits of community’ (University College London) and in 2011, co-organised the conference ‘Performance and Labour’ (UCL and Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Kingston) She is in the editorial collective for Cesura//Acceso, a journal for music, politics and poetics. She regularly writes criticism, mainly for Art Monthly.

Research Summary

My research broadly concerns the relationship between art and politics. I recently published my first book, Usable Pasts: Social Practice and State Formation in American Art (Brill 2022). This book addresses the mythic and material afterlives of the New Deal in order to write a new history of social practice in the United States. I analyse projects by Suzanne Lacy, Rick Lowe and Martha Rosler in relation to experimental theatre, modern dance, and photography produced within the leftist Cultural Front of the 1930s. The book’s comparative methodology allows for a multi-temporal approach to contemporary art history that avoids nostalgia, or an excessive valorisation of the present. This also relates to my other major interest in theories of history, and how these inform art history and theory.

I am also in the final stages of completing my second book, entitled What we do is Secret: Contemporary Art and the Antinomies of Conspiracy. Written in the wake of the far-right populist turn in Europe, the US, and beyond, this book addresses aesthetic and intellectual affinities between recent art and conspiracy, proposing a theory of conspiracy that is not primarily concerned with conspiracy theory. Here, conspiracy is not used pejoratively but is instead examined as an accusation levelled at varying modes of political thought and action, from often opposing quarters, because it is seen as undermining “common sense” and reasonable behaviour. This inquiry take shape across chapters on the politics of post-internet art aesthetics; the sublime and possessive individualism in recent “critical” art; Cady Noland's security fences and silkscreens of the Symbionese Liberation Army and mutuality, secrecy and improvisation in the work of Ima Abasi Okon. Across these chapters, I explore the relationship between culture and contemporary liberalism, following on from David Lloyd's proposition that through its compensatory qualities, the aesthetic sphere naturalizes forms of life lived under the rule of property. What kind of art can work against this? Can art exist as a conspiracy capable of corroding that rule?

Other topics I have written on include an essay on usefulness in contemporary art and politics for Third Text; an essay on Mark Bradford’s work in the American Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale for the Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, and I recently contributed to a roundtable on contemporary culture and neo-fascism for Third Text. I have written catalogue essays on Sam Gilliam, Alice Neel and for the exhibition "Constructing the World: Art and Economy 1919-1939." I sometimes write about non-art related matters, most recently the essay "Communist Feelings" for the New Socialist, co-authored with Hannah Proctor. I also regularly write criticism, mainly for Art Monthly.

Teaching Summary

My current teaching at the Slade includes leading and co-teaching (with studio staff) an introductory course for all first year undergraduate students (BA and BFA) and a BA2 course called “Performance after Institutionalisation”, which explores the practices and debates that have shaped contemporary performance, asking what it means that a field formerly associated with ephemerality, transgression and radicality is now frequently deployed to maximise the “entertainment” offerings of museums, galleries, art fairs and biennales. I also supervise undergraduate Independent Studies and MA research essays and reports, and will be convening the MA2 research seminar in the Spring term 2019.
In the past I’ve taught courses including:
- American Art and the Stakes of Criticism, 1933-1980

- Blackness in American Art and Visual Culture
- Utopia and Dystopia in California Art and Culture

- Performance and Social Transformation

- Modernism and the Avant-Gardes


What We Do Is Secret Contemporary Art and the Antinomies of Conspiracy
- Book , MIT Press 2023/06/06

Burning Issues: Hannah Black interviewed by Larne Abse Gogarty
- Journal Article for Art Monthly , published by Brittania Art Publications Ltd 2022/11/01

Art and the Antinomies of Conspiracy
- Book , Sternberg Press 2022/08/09

Inert universalism and the info-optimism of legibly political art
- Journal Article for Selva 2022/12/15

Usable Pasts Social Practice and State Formation in American Art
- Book , BRILL 2022/03/16

“Monsters of Mutilation, Death and Decay”: The Tragic Figures of Monster Roster
- Chapter in Humans , published by Terra Foundation for the Arts , edited by Bieger L,Shannon J,Weems J 2022/01/05

“Disalienation, Life-Work, Practice: A Conversation on Illiberal Arts”
- Chapter in Illiberal Arts , published by HKW Berlin , Berlin , edited by Stakemeier K,Franke A 2021/09/11

Profile: Adam Farah
- Journal Article for Art Monthly , published by Brittania Art Publications Ltd 2021/11/01

I won't draw you, you're the enemy
- Chapter in Alice Neel: An Engaged Eye , published by Acc Art Books 2021/09/13

“Alex Margo Arden and Caspar Heinemann: The farmyard is not…”
- Journal Article for Art Monthly , published by Brittania Art Publications Ltd 2020/02/03

Anti-fascist Art Theory: A Roundtable Discussion
- Journal Article for Third Text , published by Informa UK Limited 2019/07/04

"Anne Imhof: Sex”
- Journal Article for Art Monthly -London- , published by Brittania Art Publications Ltd 2019/05/01

New Masses and print culture on the left in 1930s America
- Chapter in Constructing the World Art and Economy 1919-1939 , published by Kerber Verlag , edited by Gillen E 2018/01/01

Sam Gilliam's Aesthetic Optimism
- Chapter in The Music of Color. Sam Gilliam 1967-1973 Katalog Zur Ausstellung Im Kunstmuseum Basel, June 9-September 30, 2018 , published by Walther Konig Verlag 2018/11/07

Feeling and Form in Mark Bradford's American Pavilion
- Journal Article for Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte , published by Deutscher Kunstverlag 2018/12/01

Art, Agency and Identification
- Chapter in Artists in the City SPACE in '68 and Beyond , published by Space , edited by Anna H 2018/01/01

Check it Out: Kerry James Marshall Interviewed by Larne Abse Gogarty
- Journal Article for Art Monthly -London- , published by Brittania Art Publications Ltd 2018/11/01

The Art Right
- Journal Article for Art Monthly -London- , published by Brittania Art Publications Ltd 2017/04/01

‘Usefulness’ in Contemporary Art and Politics
- Journal Article for Third Text Vol. 1 2017/10/03

- Journal Article for Cesura//Acceso 2017/01/10

Commitment and Desire in Sharon Hayes’s Ricerche: three 2013
- Journal Article for Tate Papers Vol. 25 , published by Tate Papers 2016/07/07

State Violence, Mirrors and the Perspective on Infinity
- Chapter in Waiting for Tear Gas 1999–2000 by Allan Sekula , published by Tate , edited by Schwartz S 2016/11/01

“Faith Ringgold’s Who’s Afraid of Aunt Jemima?”
- Journal Article for Kunst und Politik Jahrbuch der Guernica-Gesellschaft 2016/01/05

Citizen Artist: Tania Bruguera interviewed by Larne Abse Gogarty
- Journal Article for Art Monthly -London- , published by Brittania Art Publications Ltd 2016/10/03

Rehearsals, Reproduction and the Art of Living: Historicising Social Practice in the United States
- Thesis/Dissertation 2015/09/28

Wage Rage
- Journal Article for Art Monthly -London- , published by Brittania Art Publications Ltd 2015/04/01

Capitalism, reproduction and ‘lifelike art’: responding to Alana Jelinek'sThis Is Not Art
- Journal Article for Journal of Visual Art Practice Vol. 3 , published by Informa UK Limited 2014/09/02

art & gentrification
- Journal Article for Art Monthly -London- , published by Brittania Art Publications Ltd 2014/02/01

- Journal Article for Art & the Public Sphere Vol. 1 , published by Intellect 2014/12/01

- Journal Article for Philosophy of Photography Vol. 1 , published by Intellect 2014/04/01

Rehearsals for Revolution: Communities and Collective Movement
- Journal Article for Object 2014/09/09

Martha Rosler: The Bowery in Two Inadequate Descriptive Systems, written by Steve Edwards
- Journal Article for Historical Materialism Vol. 3-4 , published by Brill 2014/01/01

Review of Suzanne Lacy, “Leaving Art: Writing on Performance, Politics and Publics 1974-2007”
- Journal Article for Object 2012/01/10