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BA, MA, PhD (Courtauld Institute of Art, London)
James Boaden is lecturer in Modern and Contemporary art with a focus on American art from the mid-twentieth century to the present. His research looks in particular at the crossover between experimental film culture and the art world in the mid Twentieth Century. James has published essays in journals including Oxford Art Journal, Art History, Tate Papers. He has organised film screenings at BFI Bankside, Tate Modern, Nottingham Contemporary, and The Hepworth Wakefield.
James is on research leave from September 2016 until March 2017
James is particularly interested in the way in which both experimental film and video have intersected with more traditional artistic mediums throughout the Twentieth Century. His work often focusses on the way in which personal narratives are mediated by moving image technologies. James completed his PhD in History of Art at the Coutauld Institute of Art, London in 2008. The thesis used newly available archival material to examine the work of the filmmaker Stan Brakhage and his relationship with a diverse range of artists such as Joseph Cornell, Carolee Schneemann, and Jess in the years between 1950 and 1965. The subject of the persistence of Surrealist practice and the place of queer sexuality during the Second World War and after, which were explored in that thesis, were considerably expanded through a post-doctoral role at the University of Manchester’s Centre for the Study of Surrealism and its Legacies working on the project Surrealism and Sexuality.
James is currently revising his PhD thesis into a book length study examining the filmmaker Stan Brakhage’s collaborations with American artists. By examining the leading American post-war experimental filmmaker in relationship to his artistic contemporaries we can gain a greater understanding of relationships between art and film more generally – providing an archaeology for the predominance of moving image work in the museum today. This project also highlights the way in which Surrealism remained a central guiding force in the art world of the United States throughout the post-war period, in contrast to the dominant theory of a ‘neo-avant-garde’ reviving Dada and Constructivist styles in this period. He is beginning a new project looking at the way in which American artists and experimental filmmakers used life narratives in their work in the 1970s.
James is interested to hear from students interested in pursuing doctoral research in post-war and contemporary art history generally. Areas of specific expertise include art in California, Pop Art, Neo-Dada, film and video, photography, queer theory and politics in relation to artistic practice, feminist art, postmodernism.
Current PhD supervisees:
Ilaria Grando, Visualizing AIDS: Re-codify the body to re-codify society (co-supervised with Michael White)
Grace Linden, The Work of the Bowery School in New York (co-supervised with Michael White)
Kyveli Lignou-Tsamantani, (In)visible Atrocity Images in Contemporary Art: Towards a Reconsideration of the Ethics of Photographing and Viewing Atrocities (co-supervised with Michael White)
‘Mutual Exchange: Videotapes by Robert Morris and Lynda Benglis’, Tate Papers 25, (Spring 2016)
‘Gardeners and Outlaws, or Playing Hide and Seek with Edward James and Pavel Tchelitchew’, Papers of Surrealism, Issue 10, (Summer 2013)
‘Moving Houses: Jess and Robert Duncan’s Queer Domesticity’, Oxford Art Journal, 36:2 (2013), 257-280.
‘Black Painting (with Ashville Citizen)', Art History, 31:1 (Feb 2011), 166-191.
‘A Queer Turn? Proto-Pop and the Shadow of Abstract Expressionism’, Immediations – The Research Journal of The Courtauld Institute of Art, Issue 2, (Spring 2005).
‘San Francisco: Ruin of the Nineteenth Century: The Assemblage Work of Bruce Conner’, Papers of Surrealism, Issue 2, (Summer 2004).
Chapters in edited volumes:
‘Peculiar pleasure in the ruined Crystal Palace’ in Sarah V. Turner and Kate Nichols (eds), After 1851: The Material and Visual Cultures of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, (Manchester University Press, 2017)
‘Be Somebody with a Body’, catalogue essay, Jessica Beck (ed.), Andy Warhol: My Perfect Body, (Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, 2016)
‘The Optical Age? Maria Lassnig and American Experimental Film’, catalogue essay, Lauren Barnes (ed.), Maria Lassnig, (Tate Publications, London, 2016)
‘Dada, Surrealism and their Heritage? The North American Reception of Dada and Surrealism’, in David Hopkins (ed), A Companion to Dada and Surrealism, (Wiley Blackwell, Chichester, 2016), pp. 400-415.
Shorter Pieces and digital:
‘Look First: Deakin Double Exposures’, discussion with Paul Rousseau in films by Jonathan Law, British Art Studies, Issue One, December 2015, http://tinyurl.com/nqcj65a
‘Gregory Markopoulos’, Sight and Sound, November 2014
‘Warren Sonbert’, a blog for Tate Online, October 2013, http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/andy-warhol-filmmaker-warren-sonbert
‘Revisiting Brakhage’ a five-part blog completed as writer in residence for Lux: Artist’s Film and Video, Summer 2013. http://lux.org.uk/tags/james-boaden
‘Parker Tyler, ‘Myra Breckinridge and Mae West’, Little Joe, Issue 2, 2011.
‘Asbestos Curtain: A New Phase in Comic Abstraction’, catalogue text, (London: Galleries Goldstein, 2011).
James has also written a number of reviews for The Burlington Magazine, Contemporary Theatre Review, CAA Reviews, and Art History as well as contributing to the magazine Little Joe and the Lux: Artists' Moving Image blog as their 2013 writer in residence.
Film Screenings Organised