Lifton Lecture in Art History

Hussein Shariffe, Tigers are Better Looking (film still), 1979
Hussein Shariffe, Tigers are Better Looking (film still), 1979

Join us for the 33rd annual Norma U. Lifton Lecture in Art History.

Friday, October 15, 12:00 p.m. CT

Ming Tiampo
Contrapuntal Modernisms between Imperialism and Decolonization: Critical Unlearning and the Slade School of Art

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Contrapuntal Modernisms between Imperialism and Decolonization: Critical Unlearning and the Slade School of Art

When the Slade School of Fine Art was established in 1871 as a school and department of the University College London, it became the first art school in England to admit students of any race, gender, or religion, and the school trained students from throughout the British Empire and around the world. 

This lecture explores new geometries and scales of writing global art history through the notion of transversal lines that are used to narrate a global microhistory of the Slade. By using the Slade as a transversal line that connects multiple people and histories from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, Britain, and beyond, this essay proposes new ways of writing histories of contrapuntal—not multiple—modernisms as well as understanding art in Britain itself as a product of empire.

As art schools and universities today grapple with their increasingly global classrooms, this lecture also reflects upon how artists of the past have responded to the pedagogies that they encountered and their practices of critical unlearning. 

Ming Tiampo is professor of art history and co-director of the Centre for Transnational Cultural Analysis at Carleton University. She is interested in transcultural models and histories that provide new structures for understanding and reconfiguring the global. She has published on Japanese modernism, global modernisms, and diaspora. Tiampo’s book Gutai: Decentering Modernism (University of Chicago Press, 2011) received an honorable mention for the Robert Motherwell Book Award. In 2013, she was co-curator with Alexandra Munroe of the International Art Critics Association (AICA) award-winning Gutai: Splendid Playground at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Her current book projects include Transversal Modernisms: The Slade School of Fine Art, a study which reimagines transcultural intersections through global microhistory; Intersecting Modernisms, a collaborative sourcebook on global modernisms; and Jin-me Yoon, an Art Canada Institute book on the diasporic Korean Canadian artist. Tiampo is an associate member at ICI Berlin; a member of the Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational Advisory Board; a fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre on the London, Asia project; a founding member of TrACE, the Transnational and Transcultural Art and Cultural Exchange network and co-lead on its Worlding Public Cultures project.

This event will be live captioned by CART. Persons with disabilities requesting accommodations should visit