Dr Gavin Grindon

School of Philosophy and Art History
Dr Gavin Grindon
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 873445

  • Location

    6.135, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Wed 11-12 Thu 1-2 (Autumn 2017)



I recently co-curated The Occupation Museum in Banksy's Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, Palestine, presenting a Palestinian-led narrative of the history and everyday experience of Israel's colonial occupation of Palestine. In 2015, he curatedThe Museum of Cruel Designs, at Banksy's Dismalandin Westom-Super-Mare. This was an exhibition about the design of objects for social control, from CCTV and anti-homeless spikes to border fences and rubber bullets,Before this I co-curated the exhibition Disobedient Objects at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, about objects of art and design produced by protest movementsinternationallysince the late 1970s. It was the museum's most visited exhibition since 1946. My research focuses on twentieth century art, specifically activist-art and institutional critique and its futures. I have published in Art History, the Oxford Art Journal and Third Text. In 2010 I co-wrote the pamphlet A User's Guide to Demanding the Impossible, which has been translated into a number of languages. I am currently completing a book on the history of activist-art. I have an interest not only in the particular histories of activist-art, but in new theoretical, methodological and curatorial approaches to social movement cultures which research and display with movements as well as on them. My PhD, completed at Manchester University under Prof. Terry Eagleton, comprised an intellectual history of theories of revolution-as-festival, which attempted to engage with affect and aesthetics in social movements, from dissident surrealist writers through to aspects of the 1990-2000s global justice movement.


  • PhD English Studies, University of Manchester, 2007

  • MA Cultural Criticism, University of Manchester, 2001

  • BA English Literature and Language, University of Leeds, 2000

Research and professional activities

Research interests

modern and contemporary art history

art and politics; activist-art; institutional critique and its futures

visual and material cultures of social movements and of social control

aesthetics and affect in social movements

curatorial studies; intersections of curating, critique and political organising

Conferences and presentations

'Confronting Activist Art and Design From a Museological Perspective', M+ Museum, Hong Kong, 21 March 2016.


'Disobedient Objects',Design e Conspiração: Ziguezagues Entre Arte e Filosofia, Universidade Anhembi Morumbi, Sao Paulo, 29 March 2016.


'Disobedient Objects,'Warsaw Under Construction,' Warsaw Museum of Contemporary Art, Warsaw, 15 Nov 2014.


The Museum Divide: Beyond Institutional Critique, The Natural History Museum, Queens Museum, New York,with Hans Haacke and Mark Dion, 24 Oct 2014.


Contemporary Art and Social Movements, Art and Radical Democracy After Occupy, UCL, with Chantal Mouffe and Mark Fisher,5 Dec 2013.


Exodus From Art, Creative Dissent, York University, with TJ Demos and Irit Rogoff,5 June 2013.


Disobedient Objects, Radical Gestures, Central Saint Martins, 1 June, 2013.


Black Mask Contravention, Architecture Association, 25 May, 2013.


organiser, The Politics of the Social in Contemporary Art, Tate Modern, 15 Feb 2013.


The Socialist Surrealism of the Orange Alternative and the Contested Legacy of the Avant-Garde, Polish Art in Public Space, Courtauld Institute, 6 Dec 2012. Translated into Polish and published on the website of the Warsaw Centre for Contemporary Art.


Activist-Art, Tactics of Protest, Royal College of Art, 1st Feb 2012.


'Disobedient Objects: Agency and Determination in Activist-Art, Whose Participation? Spaces of Interaction in Contemporary Art and Architecture, Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, Switzerland, organised by ETH Zurich, 16-17 Dec 2011.


organiser with Dean Kenning, Art... What's the Use?, Whitechapel Gallery, 2011.'Disobedient Objects,'Warsaw Under Construction,' Warsaw Museum of Contemporary Art, 15 Nov 2014.


Second-Wave Situationism: Artists' Participation in Social Movements, 1964-77, CUNY Graduate Centre, New York, 10 May 2011.


Black Mask: 1960s Destruction Art and Civil Disobedience, Visual Culture Seminar, Goldsmiths University, 6 Oct 2011.


Teaching and supervision

  • Collect, Curate, Display (AR221)

  • Contemporary Art: 1980 to the Present (AR312)

  • Art and Ideas III (AR323)

  • Managing Galleries and Exhibition Projects (AR912)

  • Curating Inside Out (AR942)

  • Exhibition and Portfolio (AR952)

  • Exhibition (Joint Project) (AR953)

  • Individual Project (AR958)

  • Crisis of the American Idea (CS261)

  • Preparation for your placement year (CS702)


Journal articles (11)

Grindon, G., (2015). Fantasies of Participation: The Situationist International and New Forms of Labour in Art and Politics. Nordic Journal of Aesthetics. 24, 49-50

Grindon, G., (2015). Fantasies of participation: The situationist imaginary of new forms of labour in art and politics. Nordic Journal of Aesthetics. 24 (49-50), 62-90

Grindon, G., (2014). Poetry Written in Gasoline: Black Mask and Up Against the Wall Motherfucker. Art History. 38 (1), 170-209

Grindon, G., (2013). Revolutionary Romanticism: Henri Lefebvre's revolution-as-festival. Third Text. 27 (2), 208-220

Grindon, G., (2011). Surrealism, Dada and the refusal of work: autonomy, activism and social participation in the radical Avant-Garde. Oxford Art Journal. 34 (1), 79-96

Grindon, G., (2010). Alchemist of the revolution: the affective materialism of Georges Bataille. Third Text. 24 (3), 305-317

Grindon, G., (2010). Art and activism. Art Monthly. 333, 9-12

Grindon, G., (2010). Bike Bloc stories. Groundswell (1), 2-12

Gerdes, B., Grindon, G. and Nunes, R., (2010). Protests past and protest futures: a critical conversation about the state of protest and cultural composition. The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. 7

Grindon, G., (2009). Second-wave situationism?. Fifth Estate (350), 11, 50-51

Grindon, G., (2004). Carnival against capital: a comparison of Bakhtin, Vaneigem and Bey. Anarchist Studies. 12 (2), 147-161

Books (1)

Fyrich, W. and Grindon, G., (2014). Lives of the Orange Men A Biographical History of the Polish Orange Alternative Movement. Autonomedia. 9781570272691

Book chapters (3)

Grindon, G., (2015). Disobedient Objects. In: Participation in Art and Architecture: Spaces of Participation and Occupation. Editors: Stierli, M. and Widrich, M., . I B Tauris. 9781784530303

Grindon, G., (2015). The Museum of Cruel Designs. In: Dismaland Bemusement Park, Catalogue. Editors: Banksy, . Dismaland

Grindon, G., (2007). The breath of the possible. In: Constituent imagination: militant investigations, collective theorization. Editors: Shukaitis, S. and Graeber, D., . AK Press. 94- 107. 9781904859352

Conferences (1)

Kanngieser, A. and Grindon, G., (2013). Introduction

Exhibitions (1)

Flood, C. and Grindon, G., Disobedient Objects

+44 (0) 1206 873445


6.135, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Wed 11-12 Thu 1-2 (Autumn 2017)