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Department of History of Art


EXD table MG 0354

Professor Alyce Mahon , Dr Amy Tobin and Dr Jennifer Powell

Modern and Contemporary Art is a rapidly growing research area for the History of Art department. The subject was consolidated in the year 2000 when Professor Alyce Mahon joined the Department and has been expanded with the recent appointment of Dr Jennifer Powell and Dr Amy Tobin. Dr Powell is a Lecturer in the Department and the Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Dr Tobin holds a joint post between the Department and Kettle’s Yard Gallery. These positions have expanded the range of our research profile and provide a concrete connection to the primary space for Modern and Contemporary Art in Cambridge, as well as the opportunity for research undertaken in the department to inform exhibitions. We also have strong links with the Fitzwilliam Museum, the New Hall Collection at Murray Edwards, and with institutions outside the University including David Parr House, and Wysing Arts Centre.


Our specialisms range across the Modern and Contemporary periods, with particular strengths in art theory, as well as British, French and North American art and sculpture. Professor Mahon is a specialist in Surrealism and its legacies, Modern and Contemporary Art and Theory, as well as the history of Erotic Art from the Enlightenment to the present. Dr Powell’s research centres on modern and contemporary British sculpture from c. 1900-1960, as well as Anglo-French and Anglo-American exchanges and exhibition cultures particularly after 1945. Dr Tobin’s research has focused on art and feminism in the 1970s, particularly in relation to collaboration and collectivity, but she is broadly interested in activist and experimental practices as well as questions around art and representation, from identity politics to technologies of reproduction.

Professor Mahon, Dr Powell and Dr Tobin work closely with other Modernists and Contemporary Art specialists across the University. Our Modern and Contemporary specialists also regularly collaborate with, and contribute teaching to, the interdepartmental centres for Film and Screen, Gender Studies and Latin American Studies. We also advise on and support the exhibition, display and discussion of Modern and Contemporary Art across the University, its colleges and beyond.

Associated Research Staff:



Marquis de Sade and the Avant Garde PUP 2020 Cover

Kettles Yard LINDERISM publication 1

Kettles Yard Richard Pousette Dart Beginnings Publication 1

Dorothea Tanning   Mahon

London Art Worlds

eroticism cover

politics eros cover