Julian Stallabrass

Julian Stallabrass

Former affiliations
1990 …2022

Research activity per year

Personal profile


Julian Stallabrass a lecturer, writer, photographer and curator with a particular interest in the relations between art and political issues. His research and teaching is in areas of modern and contemporary art, including the globalisation of art and the biennial scene, the history of photography and new media art. Most recently, he has been working on documentary photography, film and video, especially in the depiction of war. He has also been researching populism in contemporary art and politics.

His first book, Gargantua (Verso 1996) was about aspects of visual mass and popular culture, including street art, amateur photography and computer games. High Art Lite (Verso 1999) remains the only serious critical and analytical account of ‘young British art’, and was the subject of much controversy on its launch. With the Royal Academy, Julian wrote Paris Pictured (2002), an account of the rise and fall of street photography in the city, and the conditions for its flourishing in leftist politics, rent control and regulated development.Internet Art (Tate 2003) was the first book about the subject, and examined the challenges it presented to the art world and to conventional critical discourse. Art Incorporated (later published and updated as Contemporary Art: A Very Short Introduction) (Oxford, 2004/ 2006) analysed the globalisation of the art world, and art’s place in contemporary culture and society. It has been translated into six languages.

In 2008 Julian curated the Brighton Photo Biennial, Memory of Fire: Images of War and the War of Images, nine contrasting exhibitions about war photography. Materials from the exhibitions, and essays on the subject and interviews with photographers were later collected into the book, Memory of Fire (Photoworks 2013).

Julian has also written shorter essays and art criticism for many publications, including Artforum, Texte zur Kunste, Bazaar Art and the London Review of Books.

Julian left The Courtauld in 2022. 


Research interests

  • The globalisation of contemporary art
  • History of photography
  • New media
  • Art and visual mass culture
  • The politics of modern and contemporary art
  • Photographic Depictions of warfare
  • Populism in art and politics


  • Sole curator of Failing Leviathan: Magnum and Civil War, inaugural exhibition at the National Civil War Centre, Newark, May-November 2015.
  • ‘Actually Existing Sculpture’, a photo-essay, Noble Gas Qtrly, no. 202.4, 2015: http://noblegas.org/issue-202-4/julian-stallabrass/actually-existing-sculpture/
  • Contribution to the Venice Agendas publication, Rights of Passage, 56th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, 2015.
  • Slide display, ‘The Anatomy of Photography’, 3rd International Canakkale Biennial, Fictions and Dissensions, Canakkale, Turkey, September-November 2012.
  • ‘Ways of Selling’, Journal of Visual Culture, Special Issue: The Ways of Seeing 40th Anniversary Issue, vol. 11, no. 2, August 2012, pp. 207-11.
  • Hotel room installation, ‘The Architecture of the Pavement’, in Non-Sleep in Non-Home: Art Living in a Historical Hotel, JJ-W Hotel, Tainan, Taiwan, May-June 2012.
  • Slide display, ‘Thrown Down’ exhibited at On the Ephemeral in Photography, Hotshoe Gallery, London, 19 January-5 March 2011.
  • ‘Thrown Down’, Hotshoe: Contemporary Photography, no. 169, December 2010-January 2011, pp. 40-9.
  • Sole curator of the Brighton Photo Biennial, ‘Memory of Fire: Images of War and the War of Images’. See www.bpb.org.uk/2008
  • ‘The Anatomy of Photography: Extracts 1982-2004’, Photoworks, Spring/ Summer 2005, pp. 16-21.
  • ‘The Anatomy of Photography’ shown at 11th International Month of Photography Festival, Athens: Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre, Anatomy of Photography, 7-13 October 2004.
  • Proposal in Leo Fitzmaurice and Neville Gabie, eds., Furthermore: A Book of Proposals, Further a Field, Liverpool, 2004.
  • ‘The Anatomy of Photography’ at Ways of Telling: Photography and Narrative, Photosynkria 2004, Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, February 2004.
  • Shadow, slide display at Further Up in the Air, Linosa Close, Liverpool (group exhibition curated by Leo Fitzmaurice and Neville Gabie), April 2003: Catalogue: ‘Shadow’, in Further Up in the Air, Further a Field, Liverpool, 2003.
  • Curator of Art Now: Art and Money Online, Tate Britain, 6 March-3 June 2001.
  • Text and images for Lise Autogena’s project, Breathing, 1997: http://www.autogena.org/Pages/home.html
  • Slide display at Gargantua, Beaconsfield, London 1996.

Special Awards, Honours & Distinctions

  • International Scholar/ Bliss Carnochan Visitor, Stanford Humanities Center / Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, April 2010.
  • Consulting Editor for The International Literary Quarterly, from 2009.
  • Visiting Professor, University of Brighton, May 2009-June 2012.
  • Harn Eminent Scholar, University of Florida, November 2007.
  • Associate Member of the Centre for Art International Research (CAIR), from 1998.

Editorial and Advisory Boards

  • Consulting Editor for The International Literary Quarterly, from 2009.
  • Editorial board of Art History from 2008-13.
  • Advisory board of Visual Culture in Britain from 2006-20012.
  • Editorial board of Third Text from 1999-2012.
  • Editorial board of New Left Review, from 1998.
  • Advisory Board of Forum Kunst und Markt, Technische Universita:t, Berlin, from 2015.
  • Selection panel for the Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Awards, 2016.
  • Selection panel for the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea,  Hanjin Shipping Box Project 2016: selection of artist for 10-month, £350,000 project for the most prominent space at the MMCA, November 2014.


  • BA History of Art Year 2: Marxism and Art History (multi-period)
  • MA History of Art: Documentary reborn: Photography, film and video in global contemporary art

PhD Students


  • Jasmine Chohan, ‘The Uninvited Artists of the Havana Biennial’
  • Boris Cuckovic, ‘Historicity of Production Forms in the Post-medium Condition: Digital Source Materials in Trajectories of Contemporary Art’
  • Nayun Jang, ‘Collective Memory in East Asian Art’
  • Amanda Delorey, ‘Art, Architecture and Urban Space in the Latin American City’
  • Liz Kim, ‘Meaning and Economic Cycles in Video Art’
  • Zehra Jumabhoy, ‘Postcolonial Theory and the Émigré Indian Artist’
  • Yasmin Amaratunga, ‘Inherent Vice and its Relation with Meaning and Value in Postwar Art’ (co-supervised by Dr Aviva Burnstock)
  • Fiona Butcher, ‘The Contours of Identity: British Landscape Painting in the Cold War, 1945–63’

Recently completed

  • Kaija Kaitavuori, ‘Art of Engagament: Audience Participation and Contemporary Art’ (2015)
  • Jiyoon Lee, ‘The Impact of Globalisation on Korean Contemporary Art since 1989’ (2014)
  • Jeannine Tang, ‘Double Agent: Art and the Politics of Information in 1970s America’ (2014)
  • Sara Knelman, ‘Exhibiting the Everyday: Photography and the Art Museum, 1967-2007’ (2014)
  • Emilia Terraciano, ‘Discrepant Modernism: Art, Emergency and the Emergence of Modernity in India’ (2013), (co-supervised with Professor Deborah Swallow), AHRC joint doctorate with the Victoria and Albert Museum.
  • Pei-Kwei Tsai, ‘Making the Political Personal and the Personal Political: A Multiple Case Study of August Sander, Andy Warhol, Trinh T. Minh-Ha, and Chen Chieh-Jen’ (2013).
  • Shang-min Chien (co-supervised with Dr. Edward Vickers at the Institute of Education), ‘Distributed Aesthetics and Net Creation in Taiwan’ (2012)
  • Benedict Burbridge, ‘Is That All There Is? The Place of Early Scientific Photography in Contemporary Photographic Art’, passed (2011)
  • William Roberts, ‘Human Resources: Artistic Labour and Critique in American and European Art of the 1990s’ (2011)
  • Antigoni Memou, ‘From the Globalisation of the Movement (1968) to the Movement against Globalisation (2001): Social Movements, Photography and Representation in the Late Twentieth Century’ (2009). Published as Photography and Social Movements: From the Globalisation of the Movement (1968) to the Movement Against Globalisation (2001), Manchester University Press, Manchester 2013.
  • Rachel Wells, ‘Scale in Contemporary Sculpture: the Enlargement, the Life-size, the Miniaturisation’ (2008). Published as Scale in Contemporary Sculpture: Enlargement, Miniaturisation and the Life-Size, Ashgate Publishing, Farnham 2013.
  • Noah Horowitz, ‘Value-Added: Contemporary Art in a Global Financial Marketplace’ (2008). Published as Art of the Deal: Contemporary Art in a Global Financial Market, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ 2011.
  • Sarah James, ‘Negative Aesthetics: The Late Art of East and West German Photography, After 1968’ (2008). Published as Common Ground: German Photographic Cultures Across the Iron Curtain, Yale University Press, New Haven 2013.
  • Louise Sorenson, ‘Discrete Analogies: The Use of Digital Imaging Technologies in Contemporary Art Photography’ (2007)

Education/Academic qualification

'The Mechanical Arts: Science, Mind and Mechanism in Art. Paris 1918-1931', The Courtauld Institute of Art

… → 1992

The Concept of the Primitive, The Courtauld Institute of Art

… → 1986

University of Oxford

… → 1982

External positions

University of California, Berkeley


University of Oxford


New Left Review



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