Tom is a historian of Film and Media art after 1960. His interdisciplinary research is concerned with intersections of art, cinema, and new media in the postwar period with a particular focus on the role of cinema and television in the global Pop art movement; the history of TV art; and the New York Downtown Avant-Garde of the 1970s and 1980s. He is also interested in the intersection of art and politics, in particular how politics is manifested and thought through in art practice in relation to urban history, sexuality and spatial politics.
Tom was educated at the University of Sussex and the University of Edinburgh where, after completing his PhD, he was a Teaching Fellow at the Edinburgh College of Art. He organised courses on the history of film and media and oversaw all final year dissertations in the School of Design and Screen Cultures. He previously has held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art/Yale Center for British Art where he worked on a project titled ‘Making it Function Differently: TV Sculpture’ which looks at a variety of artists from the 1960s and 1970s who employed television monitors as elements in radical sculptural assemblages. He was the 2020-2021 Terra Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for American Art at the Courtauld.
He is currently writing a monograph on the influence of television in the New York Downtown scene of the 1970s and 1980s. The book explores artists who used television as both an apparatus and subject matter to analyse timely points of political, racial and gendered contestation in relation to the mass media; urban spatial politics; American identity; and history. Artists examined in the project include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gretchen Bender, Keith Haring, Ann Magnuson and Tom Rubnitz. The book argues that television acted for these artists as a ‘political imaginary’, a symbolic space that questions how we know the political and how the political is made legible through technologies of image making
Tom regularly teaches public courses for the Courtauld on American art. Most recently he has led courses on Californian art after 1945 and on the New York Downtown Avant-Garde and will offer a Summer School course on Pop art in 2021.
He leads the MA Special Option at the Courtauld entitled ‘”Drop Dead” New York: Art, Film and Activism Downtown, 1971-1992’.
MA, BA (Sussex)
BA1 Topics: Contemporary Art in London Collections
BA3 Special Option: Video Art Since 1965
MA in History of Art: “Drop Dead” New York: Art, Film and Activism Downtown, 1971-1992
- ‘Becoming Media: Surveillance, Violence and the Policing of Queer Bodies in the Art of Keith Haring’, Eyes on the Street: Art and Policing panel at the 2022 Association for Art History Annual Conference, Wednesday 6 – Friday 8 April 2022.
- ‘Spectacle Nation: The Political Imaginary of Television and the Configuration of the Human in the Art of Keith Haring’, American Art and the Political Imagination March 18–19, 2022, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.
- ‘Jeff Keen’s Pop Cinema Collage: The Saturation of Media and the Politics of Images’, Conference: Cutting Edge: Collage in Britain, 1900-Now, Tate Britain, October 2021.
- ‘False Advertising: The Reception of Television and the Creation of Art in the East Village’, part of lecture series ‘The Moving Image as Subject and Practice in American Art, 1900-1990’, Courtauld Institute of Art, March 2021.
- With Jo Applin, ‘Jann Haworth in Conversation’,‘The Moving Image as Subject and Practice in American Art, 1900-1990’, Courtauld Institute of Art, March 2021.
- ‘Times Square as Readymade: William Klein’s Broadway by Light (1958)’, part of the panel ‘Towards a Pop Cinema’, co-organised with Glyn Davis, Society of Cinema and Media Studies, Annual Conference, Denver, April 2020 [Cancelled]
- ‘Jeff Keen’s Pop Cinema Collage: The Saturation of Media and the Politics of Images’, Conference: Cutting Edge: Collage in Britain, 1900-Now, Tate Britain, 27–28 March 2020 [Postponed]
- ‘Pop Eats Itself: Andy Warhol Eating a Hamburger (1982)’, Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Seminar Series, May 2019
- ‘The Temporality of Moving-Image Décollage’, part of the panel ‘Invisible Images’, Society of Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference, Seattle, March 2019
- ‘John’s Movies: Sincerity, Stupidity and Metamodernism’, Film-Philosophy Annual Conference, University of Gothenburg, 3-5 July 2018
- ‘Heading Uptown: Art and Activism in The Bronx’, Association for Art History, Annual Conference, University College London, 12-14 April, 2023.
- With Fiona Anderson (Newcastle University), ‘Approaching Downtown: Avant-Garde Cultural Production in New York City, 1970s-1990s – An Interdisciplinary Workshop‘, Courtauld Intitute of Art, 11-14 July, 2022. Full Programme here.
- ‘The Moving Image as Subject and Practice in American Art, 1900-1990’, artist talk and lecture series, Courtauld Institute of Art, March-June 2021.
- ‘Towards a Pop Cinema’, panel ‘Towards a Pop Cinema’, co-organised with Glyn Davis, Society of Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference, Denver, April 2020 [Cancelled].
- ‘Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Seminar Series’, May 2019-May 2020
- ‘Border Crossings: A Workshop on Film and the Other Arts’, University of Edinburgh, 11 May 2018.
- ‘Don’t Look: Representations of Horror in the 21st Century’, Conference, University of Edinburgh, 28 April 2018 (Reviewed in Journal of European Popular Culture, 9:2 (2018), 131-134)
Research and Teaching Interests
- Film, Video and Media Art
- The History of American Art (broadly conceived)
- New York Downtown Avant-Garde, 1960s-1990s
- Pop Art
- Art, Activism and Social Justice
- Gender and Sexuality
- TV Generation: Art and The Political Imaginary of Television on the Lower East Side, 1978-1987 (In preparation)
- Pop Cinema, co-edited with Glyn Davis (under contract with Edinburgh University Press, 2023)
- ‘Mediating Broken Windows: Keith Haring, Public Sex and Surveillance in New York City c.1985’ (in preparation).
- ‘“No Art” Protests: Restricting and Withdrawing Artistic Labour Downtown, 1961-1986’, Panorama (Commissioned, forthcoming, 2024).
- ‘Total Cinema’ [Review of The Films of Andy Warhol Catalogue Raissone, 1963-1965], ASAP/Journal (online, 2022)
- ‘Making it Function Differently: TV Sculpture’ (Under review).
- ‘Andy Warhol Eating a Hamburger and the Pop Portrait Film’, Short Film Studies, Vol. 10, No. 2, 153-156 (2020)
- ‘Andy Warhol’s Productivity’, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, in conjunction with the exhibition ‘Warhol/Paolozzi: I Want to be a Machine’, 24 November 2018-2 June 2019 (2019).
- ‘The Rest is Noise: Talking Heads and the Downtown Avant-Garde’, in Sean Albiez and David Pettie (eds.), Talking Heads (Forthcoming).
- ‘Cycles of Censorship: David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly (1986-1987/2010) and the politics of queer moving-image art’, in Mark McKenna (ed.) Screening Controversy (Routledge, forthcoming)
- Times Square as Readymade: ‘Broadway by Light (1957) and William Klein’s Pop between Stillness and Movement’, in Tom Day and Glyn Davis (eds.) Pop Cinema (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming)
- ‘Towards a History of Pop Cinema’, co-authored with Glyn Davis, in Tom Day and Glyn Davis (eds.) Pop Cinema (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming)
- ‘Pop Collage and the Pop Underground: Craig Baldwin’s Wild Gunman (1978)’, Craig Baldwin: Avant To live! (in press, Incite! Journal of Experimental Media and The San Francisco Cinematheque, 2022), 94-112.