Dr Alice Butler

Centre for the Art of the Americas Postdoctoral Fellow 2021-22

Dr Alice Butler is the 2021/2022 Centre for American Art Terra Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. An interdisciplinary scholar and art writer, she specialises in the intersections of feminist art and writing to explore questions of sickness, sexuality, and gender, via intersectional feminist and queer perspectives and experimental approaches to archive and autotheory. She is particularly interested in developing feminist, affective, practice-based methodologies of research that depart from creative writing experiments, as ways of thinking and writing ‘with’ the artists, artworks, and objects she studies. This approach underpins the research project she is developing at the Centre, involving an events series and a number of related writing projects.

The events series, “‘What a hazard a letter is’: Correspondence in Feminist Art, Art Writing, and Art History,” newly figures the role of the researcher as working, thinking, feeling, and writing, in close proximity to their subject, to explore the meanings, manifestations, materials, and methods of ‘correspondence’ in feminist art, art writing, and art history. Consisting of workshops, talks, readings, performances, and presentations that traverse theory and practice, the series sets out to explore the sticky relationship between correspondence as a letter-object or epistolary artwork to be studied, and correspondence as an affective and methodological position that underpins and sustains our feminist lives and work.

Alice is currently finalising work on a number of book/long-form article projects that intersect with the series, including a monograph on the sick desires and epistolary pleasures of Kathy Acker and Cookie Mueller’s interdisciplinary art writing, an edited collection on gesture in feminist art, writing, and theoretical practices, and a co-authored long-form article on the interrelation of care and letter-writing practices. Alice is also extending this research in a new book project on the relationship between textiles, sickness, and perversion, as represented and performed in feminist art and writing practices.

Prior to coming to The Courtauld, Alice has previously held fellowships with the Paul Mellon Centre, the Freud Museum London, and the AHRC. Recent publications include “‘Have you tried it with three? Have you?’ Ann Quin, Love Triangles, and the Affects of Art/Writing,” in Capacious: Journal for Emerging Affect Inquiry (2021) and the essay “Fan Letters of Love,” in Fandom as Methodology: A Sourcebook for Artists and Writers (2019). She has also recently published essays on textiles in the art writing anthologies ON CARE (2020) and ON FIGURE/S: Drawing After Hans Bellmer (2021) (both published by MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE). Alongside her scholarship, Alice is also a practising art writer and critic.