History of Art and Architecture

Alex J. Taylor

Assistant Professor and Academic Curator

Area of Specialization

Modern Art and Visual Culture


Constellation(s): Identity, Mobility/Exchange

Alex J. Taylor is an historian of modern American art and visual culture. His research strives to locate works of American art within the histories of global capitalism and consumption. His interests include transnational modernisms, studio practice, artistic self-fashioning, patrons and patronage, advertising, consumer cultures, and the intersections between artistic, political and economic life.

As Academic Curator, Taylor leads the activities of Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh, a network of local museums and cultural institutions working together to foster collaborative collection-based research and learning.

From 2014-2016, Taylor was the inaugural Terra Foundation Research Fellow in American Art at Tate, where he led the Refiguring American Art initiative, encompassing scholarly publications, academic workshops and gallery displays. Before shifting his focus to American art, Taylor spent a decade working as an arts administrator, critic and curator in Australia.

Taylor's current book project is a history of corporate art patronage in the 1960s, and he is also continuing his ongoing research into the work of sculptor Alexander Calder. He welcomes enquiries from potential graduate students interested in studying American, British and Australian modern art, visual and material culture in their global contexts.

Education Details

D.Phil University of Oxford (2014)

M.St University of Oxford (2010)

B.A. Hons University of Melbourne (2003)

Selected Publications

Books and Edited Collections

Modern American Art at Tate, 1945-80, Tate Research Publication, 2019

Perils of the Studio, Australian Scholarly Press with the State Library of Victoria, 2007

Selected Articles and Essays

‘Art and Economics Beyond the Market’, American Art, Fall 2019, Special section on Art and Economics edited by John Ott and Robin Veder (co-authored with Sophie Cras and Maggie Cao) (forthcoming)

‘Optics: James Rosenquist and the Politics of Vision’, James Rosenquist: Visualising the Sixties (exhibition catalogue), Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London (forthcoming)

‘Refiguring American Art’, Modern American Art at Tate, 1945-80, Tate Research Publication, 2019

‘Rusting Giant: U.S. Steel and the promotional material of sculpture’, in Monica Jonanovich-Kelley and Melissa Renn (ed.), Corporate Patronage of Art & Architecture in the United States, Late 19th Century to the Present, Bloomsbury Publishing: New York, 2019, pp. 206-224.

‘American Art Under John Rothenstein’, Modern American Art at Tate, 1945-80, Tate Research Publication, 2019

‘Alexander Calder’s Industrial Revolution’, in Anne Grace and Elizabeth Hutton Turner (ed.), Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor (exhibition catalogue), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 2018, pp.181-185.

‘Our Synthetic Environment: The Political Landscapes of Allan D’Arcangelo’, Allan D’Arcangelo: Without Sound, 1974-1982 (exhibition catalogue), Garth Greenan Gallery, New York, pp. 4-12.

‘Theodore Roszak’s The Unknown Political Prisoner (Defiant and Triumphant)’, Tate Research Publication, 2019

‘In Focus: Sue Fuller’s String Composition #128, Tate Research Publication, 2018

‘Transnational Transactions: Trade, Diplomacy and the Circulation of American Art’, American Art, Summer 2017, pp. 89-95.

‘In Focus: James Rosenquist’s Silo’, Tate Research Publication, 2017

‘In Focus: Kenneth Noland’s Gift’, Tate Research Publication, 2017

'In Focus: Louise Nevelson’s Black Wall', Tate Research Publication, 2016

‘Calder’s Carnival’, in Borchardt-Hume (ed.), Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture, Tate Publishing, 2016

‘Impure Modernism’, Art History, v.38, no.1, February 2015, pp. 230–233.

‘Henry Moore and the Values of Business’, in Griffin and Mundy (eds.), Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015

‘The Calder Problem: Mobiles, modern taste and mass culture’, Oxford Art Journal, Vol. 37, No. 1, 2014, pp. 27–45.

‘Unstable Motives: Propaganda, politics and the late work of Alexander Calder’, American Art, Spring, Vol. 26, No. 1, March 2012, pp. 24–47   

‘Wolseley’s Lines’, in Hoorn (ed.), Reframing Darwin: Evolution and Art in Australia, The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Publishing, 2009

Selected Awards

Terra Foundation for American Art International Essay Prize, 2011

Terra Foundation for American Art Predoctoral Fellowship, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2011

Clarendon Fund Scholarship, 2009

Selected Exhibitions

This is Not Ideal: Gender Myths and their Transformation (project lead for student curated exhibition), University Art Gallery, University of Pittsburgh, 2018

Refiguring American Abstraction, Tate Liverpool, 2017

Lie of the Land: New Australian Landscapes, Embassy of Australia, Washington DC, 2012

My Doubtful Mind (co-curated with Jan Duffy), Linden Centre for Contemporary Art, St Kilda, 2008

Melbourne Bohemia: Artist’s Studios 1900-1940, City Museum, Melbourne, 2007