Emeritus Professors

Professor Margaret Iversen

Position in departmentEmeritus Professor
Telephone01206 872200

Margaret Iversen is one of the leading international authorities in the field of art theory and contemporary art. Her first book was on one of the founders of Art History as a discipline: Alois Riegl: Art History and Theory (1993). Since then she has continued to write occasionally about the history of art history ('Retrieving Warburg's Tradition'), but has made her main areas of study psychoanalytic art theory, publishing  Beyond Pleasure: Freud, Lacan, Barthes (2007). Her present and future research is devoted to the overlapping fields of photography and contemporary art. She was director of a large AHRC research project called Aesthetics after Photography (2007-2010), an interdisciplinary project in partnership with Diarmuid Costello of the Philosophy Department, University of Warwick. Other publications include a monograph on the contemporary artist Mary Kelly and an essay on the American painter Edward Hopper which appears in the catalogue of the 2004 Tate Modern exhibition of his work. Recently published work includes a book called Writing Art History (with Stephen Melville) and two articles, 'Analogue: Zoe Leonard and Tacita Dean' and 'Index, Diagram, Graphic Trace.'. She is currently working a book to be called Photography, Trace and Trauma.

Professor Iversen continues to accept and supervise PhD students.


 1971, BA cum laude, Wellesley College, Massachusetts

1973,   M. Litt, two-year research degree on Kant's Aesthetics,
University of Edinburgh, Scotland

1980,  PhD, University of Essex, title: Alois Riegl's Historiography

Current research

Recent publications are

 ‘Index, Diagram, Graphic Trace,’ for special issue of Tate Papers,18, Special issue: Involuntary Drawing, ed. Iversen,  Autumn, 2012

‘Involuntary Photography,’ in Anna Dezeuze and Julia Kelly (eds.), Found Sculpture and Photography from Surrealism to Contemporary Art, edited by Anna Dezeuze and Julia Kelly, Ashgate, 2012

‘Analogue: On Zoe Leonard and Tacita Dean,’ Special Issue on ‘Agency and Automatism: Photography as Art since the 1960s,’ Iversen and Diarmuid Costello, eds. Critical Inquiry vol.38, n.4, Summer, 2012.

Chance, MIT Press/Whitechapel Art Gallery, March 2010

Research interests
  • Contemporary Art and Theory
  • Photography since the Sixties
  • Psychoanalytic Aesthetics
  • Historiography of the History of Art History
PublicationsLink to publications for Margaret Iversen

Conferences and presentations since 2009:

 Keynote Speaker, Kunsthistorisches Institut, Universität Zürich and Centre for Photography in Winterthur,Switzerland, for launch of MA and PhD programme in History and Theory of Photography, 2009

Invited Speaker, Department of Philosophy, The Queens College, Oxford, ‘Aesthetics of Chance’ in lecture series on ‘Twentieth-Century Philosophy and Theory of the Visual Arts,’ June 12 2009

Invited Speaker, Symposium at Centre for the Study of Contemporary Art, UCL, Sub-object and Studiowork, ‘Falling, dropping, letting go’, Feb. 6, 2010.

Symposium Convenor with David Lomas, Involuntary Drawing, University of Westminster 

Invited Speaker, London Aesthetics Forum at the Institute of Philosophy, University of London, ‘Photography, Trace and Trauma,’ June 6, 2012

Conference Lecture, Edward Hopper and the Cinema, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, ‘Trains, Cars, and Moving Pictures: Hopper’s Vehicles of Perception’, June 19th-22nd, 2012.

In conversation with Brian O’Doherty, Drawing Room, London, October 12, 2012

Convenor and Speaker: Symposium: Involuntary Drawing: Art and Automatism, Art Exchange, Friday 16 November, 2-6pm; paper title: Desire and the Diagrammatic

Conference Lecture, Edward Hopper and the Cinema, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, ‘Trains, Cars, and Moving Pictures: Hopper’s Vehicles of Perception’, June 19th-22nd, 2012.

Speaker, Twelfth Franklin M. Ludden Lecture in Art History and Criticism, Ohio State University, April 4, 2013.

<< Back