BFA, 1987, Emerson College; PhD, 2006, The University of London. Books: Against Ambience (2013); In The Blink of an Ear: Toward a Non-Cochlear Sonic Art (2009); One Reason To Live: Conversations About Music (2006). 



  • Against Ambience (London: Bloomsbury, 2013)
  • In The Blink Of An Ear: Toward A Non-Cochlear Sonic Art (London and New York: Continuum/Bloomsbury Academic, 2009, reissued 2013)
  • One Reason To Live: Conversations about Music, Audio Issues (Berlin: Errant Bodies, 2006)

Articles and essays

  • "Dams, Weirs, and Damn Weird Ears" in Marcel Cobussen, Barry Truax and Vincent Meelberg, eds., The Routledge Companion To Sounding Arts, ed. (London and New York: Routledge, forthcoming 2015)
  • "N.B.," in Andrea Andersson, ed., Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming 2015)
  • "Steven Connor's Theater of the Naïve," Critical Quarterly (forthcoming 2014)
  • "Burden Bangs Joy: Sound Art and the Returns of Rock and Roll," Leonardo Music Journal 23 (2013)
  • "Forever Got Shorter," in John Lely and James Saunders, eds., Word Events: Perspectives on Verbal Notation (London and New York: Continuum/Bloomsbury Academic, 2012)
  • "Doug Aitken's Sonic Pavilion," in Caleb Kelly, ed., Sound: Documents of Contemporary Art (London: Whitechapel Gallery with MIT Press, 2011)
  • "I Have Something To Say, But I'm Not Saying It: John Cage's Denials," Tacet, Journal of Experimental Music (September 2011)
  • "The Hole Truth: Doug Aitken's Sonic Pavilion," Artforum (November 2009)
  • "Stephen Vitiello," Nam June Paik Award (Cologne: Museum of Applied Arts, 2006). [catalogue essay]

Selected Curatorial Work

  • Curatorial Seminar Contributor, Inventing Abstraction: 1910–1925, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2011
  • Curator, Non-Cochlear Sound, Diapason Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, 2010
  • Curator, Gramophones, Films, Typewriters, Tate Modern, London, 2008
  • Curator, Aloud/Allowed Experimental Sound Series, Firehouse 12, New Haven, Connecticut, 2007
  • Curator, Open Sound Systems, Tate Modern, London, 2005
  • Curator, The Sound of Heaven and Earth, Tate Modern, London, 2005
  • Founder and Curator, The Cardigan Festival, Lounge Ax, Chicago, 1993–1997

Personal Statement

Seth Kim-Cohen is one of the few sound scholars working under the auspices of a U.S. Art History department. Kim-Cohen's scholarship take a broad approach to sound, interrogating rock and roll, experimental and electronic music, and sound art. He writes about sound as a medium, a tradition, and a problem, in the history of art. More specifically, his work aims to contextualize experimental sonic practice within a broader notion of conceptualism. His most recent book, Against Ambience (Bloomsbury 2013), interrogates the turn toward ambient, immersive experience in a spate of New York exhibitions in the summer of 2013. His previous book, In The Blink of an Ear: Toward a Non-Cochlear Sonic Art (Continuum 2009), has become a touchstone text in the burgeoning field of the sonic arts. 

Kim-Cohen is also an artist and musician. He has presented work at venues around the world, including Tate Modern, The Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, the Singapore Biennial, Peer Gallery in London, and Audio Visual Arts in New York. In the 1990s, he founded the Chicago-based rock bands Number One Cup and The Fire Show, releasing seven full-length albums, performing throughout North America and Europe, and recording two Peel sessions. 


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.