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Dr Theo Gordon

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow


I am a historian of modern and contemporary art, specialising in HIV/AIDS, and queer and postcolonial practices across diverse media.

I have a BA in English from University College London, and an MA and PhD from The Courtauld Institute of Art.

I have held teaching positions and postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Sussex, The Courtauld, Birkbeck College, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. At York, I am working on a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship.


In my new project, 'Viral Landscapes: Art and HIV/AIDS in the UK', I shall provide the first book-length account of the significance of HIV/AIDS to the history of contemporary British art. I aim to connect two previously divergent critical contexts: the AIDS-inflected practices of artists responding to the social and political upheaval of HIV/AIDS in the UK, and the aesthetic and institutional transformation of the British art world across the 1980s and 90s. I shall show that HIV/AIDS and the affected populations were, and continue to be, powerful drivers of shifts in cultural production in the UK. This fellowship builds on my previous work on art, subjectivity and politics, especially as understood through psychoanalytic theory. You can read more about the project in the Leverhulme Trust's September 2022 newsletter


  • art and HIV/AIDS, globally
  • feminism, queer and postcolonial studies
  • subjectivity and politics
  • psychoanalytic theory, history, and methodology

Publication Highlights

(ed.), We Were Here: Photography, Sexuality, and Cultural Difference - Selected Essays by Sunil Gupta (New York: Aperture, 2022).

'Re-Reading Mourning and Militancy and its Sources in 2021', InVisible Culture 33 (January 2022)


'Art History at the Water's Edge', Oxford Art Journal, 43:3 (December 2020), 486-491. (

'Spit or Swallow? - Orality in the Art of Felix Gonzalez-Torres', Art History 43:4 (September 2020), 774-801



Contact details

Dr Theo Gordon
History of Art
University of York

Tel: 01904 322987

Current office hours are available to view here