Professor Julian Stallabrass

Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art

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.

PhD Supervision


  • 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)

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

Recent publications

Books and edited books

  • Lanfranco Aceti, Susanne Jaschko and Julian Stallabrass, eds., Red Art: New Utopias in Data Capitalism, Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Volume 20 Issue 1, January 15, 2014 (250 pages). My introduction: ‘Why Digital Art is Red’, pp. 18-20.
  • Memory of Fire: Images of War and the War of Images, Photoworks, Brighton, 2013 (224 pages). In addition to my essay, ‘The Power and Impotence of Images’, I conducted interviews for the book with Broomberg and Chanarin, Ashley Gilbertson, Philip Jones Griffiths and Trevor Paglen.
  • Documentary, Whitechapel Gallery/ The MIT Press, Reader in the series ‘Documents of Contemporary Art’, London 2013 (240 pages).
  • Art Incorporated: The Story of Contemporary Art, Oxford University Press, 2004 (229 pages). Republished in a modified form as Contemporary Art: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2006. Slovenian edition: Sobodna Umetnost: Zelo Kratek Uvod, Krtina Publishing House, Ljubljana 2007. Greek edition: TO BHMA Publishers, Athens 2007. Turkish edition: Sanat A.Ş.: Çağdaş Sanat Ve Bienaller, Iletişim, Istanbul 2009. Bilingual English and Chinese edition: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, Beijing 2010. Persian edition: Nashre Cheshmeh Publication House, Tehran, n.d. Arabic edition: Hindawi Foundation for Education and Culture, Cairo 2014. Editions to appear in French (Macula) and Korean (April Books Publishing Company, Seoul), Japanese (Koyo Shobo).
  • High Art Lite: British Art in the 1990s, Verso Books, London 1999 (346 pages). Revised and updated edition: High Art Lite: The Rise and Fall of Young British Art, published by Verso in 2006 (352 pages). Spanish edition: High Art Lite: Esplendor y ruina del Young British Art, Brumaria, Madrid 2010. Forthcoming Russian edition: GARAGE Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow.
  • Internet Art: The Online Clash of Culture and Commerce, Tate Gallery Publishing, London 2003 (165 pages).
  • Paris Pictured, Royal Academy of Arts, London 2002. Editions also in French and German: Paris Photographié 1900-1968, Hazan, Paris 2002; Paris in Bildern 1900-1968, Dumont, Cologne 2002. An extract was republished in Sri-Kartini Leet, ed., Reading Photography: A Sourcebook of Critical Texts 1921-2000, Lund Humphries, Farnham, Surrey 2011, pp. 284-7; the entire text was republished in International Street Photographer, November-December 2013, pp. 18-26.
  • Gargantua: Manufactured Mass Culture, Verso, London 1996 (224 pages). Chapter 8, ‘Trash’ reprinted in Fiona Candlin and Raiford Guins, eds., The Object Reader, Routledge, London 2008.
  • With David Mitchinson, Henry Moore, Ediciones Polígrafa, Barcelona, 1992/ Academy Editions, London 1992. Editions in French, Spanish and Japanese. The book fell into two sections, covering pre- and post-war periods of Moore’s artistic output. My section was entitled ‘Henry Moore: 1940-1986’, pp. 17-26.
  • Locus Solus: Technology, Identity and Site in Contemporary Art, co-edited with Duncan McCorquodale, Black Dog Publishing, London 1999 (158 pages). My essay is entitled ‘Memories of Art Unseen’, pp. 14-29; my role as editor, in collaboration with McCorquodale included the conceptualisation of the book, commissioning of essays and design, especially the choice of illustrations.
  • Occupational Hazard: Critical Writing on Recent British Art, co-edited with Duncan McCorquodale and Naomi Siderfin, Black Dog Publishing, London 1998 (221 pages). My essay is entitled ‘A Place of Pleasure: Woodwork, Vauxhall Spring Gardens and Making Audiences for Art’, pp. 170-207. My role as editor was similar to that for Locus Solus.
  • Ground Control: Technology and Utopia, co-edited with Duncan McCorquodale and Lolita Jablonskiene, Black Dog Publishing, London 1997 (190 pages). My essay is entitled ‘Money, Disembodied Art and the Turing Test for Aesthetics’, 62-111. Again, my role as editor was similar to that for Locus Solus, and included work in Lithuania.

Essays, articles and reviews

  • ‘The Missile and the Paperclip’, in Lisa Barnard, Hyenas of the Battlefield, Machines in the Garden, Gost Books, London 2014, pp. 6-15. Extract also published in British Journal of Photography, special issue ‘This is War’, vol. 161, no. 7827, August 2014, pp. 66-9.
  • ‘Young British Art on the Global Stage’, Contemporary Art Journal (Seoul), vol. 15, 2013, pp. 55-64.
  • ‘The Canon After the Internet’ (Discussion with Katrina Sluis and Christiane Paul), Aperture, no. 213, Winter 2013, pp. 37-41.
  • ‘A nova cartilha da guerra’ [Broomberg and Chanarin’s War Primer 2], Zum: Revista de Fotografia (São Paulo), no. 5, October 2013, pp. 166-81. Published in Portuguese and English.
  • ‘Elite Art in an Age of Populism’, in Alexander Dumbadze/ Suzanne Hudson, eds., Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present, John Wiley & Sons, Oxford 2013, pp. 39-49. Korean translation: Visual (Korea National University of Arts, Seoul), vol. 9, 2012, pp. 39-69. Portuguese translation: ‘Arte de elite em uma era de populismo’, Revista-Valise (Porto Alegre), vol. 4, no. 7, July 2014. pp. 151-68:
  • ‘Brand Strategy of Art Museum’, in Wang Chunchen, ed., University and Art Museum, Tongji University Press, Shanghai 2011, published in Chinese. Also published in Cornelia Klinger, ed., Blindheit und Hellsichtigkeit: Künstlerkritik an Politik und Gesellschaft der Gegenwart, Akademie Verlag, Berlin 2013, pp. 303-16; and in a revised and updated version as ‘The Branding of the Museum’, Art History, vol. 37, no. 1, February 2014, pp. 148-65.
  • ‘Radical Camouflage at Documenta 13’, New Left Review, new series, no. 77, September/ October 2012, pp. 123-33.

Recent/major grants

  • Korean Arts Council (ARKO) grant for the international conference, ‘Between Tradition, Modernity and Globalisation: Korean Contemporary Art’, June 2012.
  • Paul Mellon Centre Senior Fellowship, replacement teaching grant, 2011-12.

Editorial Boards

  • Art History from 2008.
  • Left Review, from 1998.

Member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) since 1990.