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, Environment

Alex J Taylor is an historian of modern American art and visual culture. His research interests include transnational modernisms, studio practice, artistic self-fashioning, patrons and patronage, consumer cultures, and the intersections between art, politics and capitalism.

As Academic Curator, Taylor leads the activities of Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh, a consortium 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. He held key roles at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and Experimenta Media Arts, and as a board member and chair of National Exhibition Touring Support (Victoria), oversaw more than fifty presentations of contemporary art, craft and design in regional and remote communities.

Taylor's current book project is a history of corporate art patronage in the 1960s. He is continuing his ongoing research into the work of sculptor Alexander Calder, and is developing a new project concerning modern taste, connoisseurship and consumerism.

Education Details

D.Phil University of Oxford (2014)

M.St University of Oxford (2010)

B.A. Hons University of Melbourne (2003)

Selected Publications


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

Selected Articles and Essays

‘Transactions: Trade, Diplomacy and the Circulation of American Art’, American Art, Vol. 31, Number 1, forthcoming 2017

‘Rusting Giant: U.S. Steel and the Promotional Material of Sculpture’, in Renn and Jovanovich-Kelley (eds.), Patronage, Inc.: Corporate Commissions of Art and Architecture in the United States 1886-2010, Ashgate, London, forthcoming 2017

'In Focus: Black Wall 1959 by Louise Nevelson', 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

Refiguring American Abstraction, Tate Liverpool, forthcoming 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