James Elkins


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Further reviews and online interviews are listed on Wikipedia. Print interviews are below. For works in progress see this page.

Several hundred book reviews are on Goodreads and LibraryThing. Music reviews are on Piano Notes. 

Most recent writing is not on this vita because I usually post online, either on Academia, on Facebook, or on one of the live writing projects that are being written online.

A calendar of upcoming lectures is here, and a map of all my travels is on the Facebook app TravelBrain. Country count = 75. Books = 48, including edited books. Articles = 120. h index = 27. i10 index = 53.

Please send all correspondence through the website.

Brief bio

James Elkins is E.C. Chadbourne Professor in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His most recent book is What Photography Is.

He writes on art and non-art images; recent books include Chinese Landscape Painting as Western Art History (Hong Kong University Press) and Art Critiques: A Guide (New Academia). In October 2015 he will stop writing monographs in order to concentrate on an experimental writing project that is not related to art.


Born: 10/13/55, Ithaca, New York

Marital Status: Married (Margaret MacNamidhe)

Citizenship: USA

Contact information

Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism

Department of Visual and Critical Studies

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

112 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL 60603

312 345 3789 (fax)

Email: jelkins@saic.edu, jameselkins@fastmail.fm

Facebook: facebook.com/jamesprestonelkins

Amazon aStore (to buy books): astore.amazon.com/jameselkins

Blogs, 2011-12: search the Huffington Post.


PhD with honors, University of Chicago, Department of Art, 1984–1989. Dissertation: “Perspective in Renaissance Art and in Modern Scholarship,” 6 vols.

MA, University of Chicago, Department of Art, 1984. Thesis: “Hegelianism in the Contemporary Practice of Art History.”

MFA, University of Chicago, Committee on Art and Design, 1983. Practice of art and thesis concerning the theory of art education in a studio setting.

BA cum laude, Cornell University, 1977. Honors Thesis: “Gesture in Renaissance Art,” 5 vols.

Honorary degree

PhD honoris causa, Göteborg University, Sweden, 2008.

Areas of Special Interest

Theories of images

Non–art images (maps, schemata, heraldry, etc.)

Writing in art history and in the humanities

Connections between science and art

Historiography of art history

Relation of studio art practice and art history

Representations of the body


E.C. Chadbourne Professor in the Department of Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1989–present. (Chadbourne Chair since 1999.)

Visiting Associate Professor, Northwestern University, spring 1996.

Visiting Associate Professor, University of Chicago, spring 1996.

Visiting Associate Professor, University of California at Berkeley, fall 1996.

Visiting Research Scholar, Duke University, fall 2000.

Head of History of Art, University College Cork, Ireland, 2003–6.

Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor in art history, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown MA, 2011-12.


In chronological order. Non–academic books are marked *. See the separate listings of Edited Books and Anthologies.

1) The Poetics of Perspective (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994).

2) * The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996).

1. Paperback edition (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1997).

2. Excerpt in Religion, Art, and Visual Culture, edited by S. Brent Plate (New York: Palgrave, 2002), 40–45.

3. Excerpt in Czech: “Dívat se jinam a vidět přiliš mnoho,” Vizuální Teorie, edited and translated by Ladislav Kesner, second edition (Prague: H&H, 2005), 351-66. ISBN 80-7319-054-0.

4. Excerpt in Re-Enchantment.

5. Excerpt in Russian, in The Visual World.

6. Excerpt in (detail), exh. cat., edited by Andrew Bracey (London: Transition Editions, 2014), 161–6. ISBN 978-0-9568814-3-4.

7. One sentence of this book has been translated into Yoruba in David Doris, Vigiliant Things: On Thieves, Yoruba Anti-Aesthetics, and the Strange History of Ordinary Objects in Nigeria (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011).

3) Our Beautiful, Dry, and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing (University Park, PA: Penn State Press, 1997).

1. Paperback edition, with new preface (New York: Routledge, 2000).

2. German and French excerpts: see articles 45 and 79.

4) On Pictures and the Words That Fail Them (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998, reprinted 2011).

        1. Italian edition planned, edited by Francesco Peri (Rome: Bollati Boringhieri).

        2. Excerpt in Russian, in The Visual World.

        3. German translation of the first chapter.

4. Chapter in French as “Désoccidentaliser la pensée du visuel: les concepts d’image en Chine, en Perse, et en Inde,” in Penser l’image II [vol. 2], Anthropologies du visuel, edited by Emmanuel Alloa (Paris: Les Presses du réel, 2015), 257–88.

5. Chapter in French as “Marques, traits, splendours. Pourqoui la peinture résiste à la sémiotique,” in Penser l’image II [vol. 3], Comment lire les images?, edited by Emmanuel Alloa (Paris: Les Presses du réel, 2017), 75–116.

5) * What Painting Is (New York: Routledge, 1998).

1. Excerpt published in Slovenian as “Brez korakov / Steplessness,” Likovne besede [Art Words], translated by Mojca Zlokarnik 55–56 (2001): 90–99.

2. Excerpt in Russian, in The Visual World.

3. Italian translation, La pittura cos’è, introduction by Tiziana Migliore, translated by George and Giuliana Camerino, with a new Preface for the Italian edition (Gemona del Friuli: Mimesis Edizioni, 2012).

        (a) Reviewed in Psicoart.

        (b) Reviewed on Rai.tv.

6) Why are Our Pictures Puzzles? On the Modern Origins of Pictorial Complexity (New York: Routledge, 1999).

        1. Excerpt in Russian, in The Visual World.

7) The Domain of Images, On the Historical Study of Visual Artifacts (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999).

1. Chapter 1 has appeared in Danish as “Kunsthistorie og billeder, der ikke er kunst,” Periskop 9 (2000): 49–80.

2. Chapter 1, excerpt, in Images: A Reader, edited by Sunil Manghani, Arthur Piper, and Jon Simons (London: Sage, 2007), 300-303.

3. Chapter 2 has appeared in Spanish as “La historia del arte como la historia de la cristalografía,” in Archivos de Cultura, edited by Jorge Blasco Gallardo (Valladolid: Gráficas Verona, 2005): 181–96 + plates. ISBN 84–9718–308–8.

4. Chapter 1 has appeared in Italian (see the citation under “Art History and Images That are Not Art”)

5. Excerpt in Russian, in The Visual World.

6. Chapter 1, in Portuguese, translated by Daniela Kern as “Historía da Arte e imagens que não são arte,” Porto Arte, Revista de Artes Visuais 30 (May, 2011):7–42.

7. Chinese translation in preparation for  江苏人民出版社 (People's Publishing House of Jiangsu), translated by Jiang Qigu.

8) Chinese Landscape Painting as Western Art History, with an introduction by Jennifer Purtle (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010).

Reviewed in International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) Newsletter 57 (2011); Art Bulletin 93 no. 2 (2011): 249–52; History and Theory 51 (February 2012).

1. The book was published in Chinese ten years before the English edition, which is completely revised. See 《西方美术史学中的中国山水画》潘耀昌,谷灵译,杭州中国美术学院出版社 1999 Xi fang mei shu shi xue zhong de Zhongguo shan shui hua, translated from the English by Pan Yaochang 潘耀 and Gu Ling 谷灵 (Hangzhou: Zhongguo mei shu xue yuan chu ban she [National Academy of Art], 1999). ISBN 871019707X

2. English excerpt from another early version in Stones From Other Mountains, edited by Jason Kuo (Washington, DC: New Academia, 2009), chapter 3, pp. 67–118. (See also the letters exchanged with Jim Cahill.)

3. Chinese translation of the 2010 Preface, in World Sinology 9 (2012): 118–27. This also has a Chinese translation of Jennifer Purtle’s introduction.

9) Pictures of the Body: Pain and Metamorphosis (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999).

This book is out of print. The book is being rewritten as an e-book; parts are online.

1. “Esquemos secos,” excerpt of the final chapter in Spanish, translated by Fernando Quesada, in Cairon [Madrid], special issue “Cuerpo y Arquitectura,” “Body and Architecture,” 12 (2009): 155–85.

2. Excerpt in Russian, in The Visual World.

3. Excerpt in French: “Les corps inversées,” Palais, le magazine du Palais de Tokyo 20 (2014): 109–14.

10) * How to Use Your Eyes (New York: Routledge, 2000).

(Please don’t buy this in the Kindle edition: the book makes use of large-scale printed images.)

1. Excerpt (final chapter) in The Chronicle of Higher Education, section 2 (November 10, 2000), p. B 17.

2. 视觉品味 (Chinese translation), trans. by Ding Ning (Beijing, 2006). ISBN 7-108-02356-3.

3. Excerpt in Russian, in The Visual World.

4. “How to Look at Mondrian’s Works” (Chinese translation by Fang Hui), in Poetry Calligraphy Painting 2 (2011):  220–22.

5. “Looking at the Sky: Ice Halos”: expanded version of chapter 25, Huffington Post, January 18, 2011.

11) * Pictures and Tears: A History of People Who Have Cried in Front of Paintings (New York: Routledge, 2001).

1. Chapter reprinted in the Chronicle of Higher Education, section 2 (November 9, 2001), pp. B7–B10. Online here.

2. Chinese translation (Taipei: Rive Gauche Publishing, 2012). ISBN 9789866723575.

3. Chinese translation, with a new Preface (Beijing: Jiang Su Fine Art Press, 2009).

4. Czech translation, Proè lidé pláèou pøed obrazy, translated by Marketa Blazkova (Prague: Academia, 2007), ISBN 978-80-200-1509-9.

5. Italian translation, Dipinti e lacrime (Milan: Paravia Bruno Mondadori Editori, 2007).

Reviewed by Lorenzo Mondo, “E’ un quadro così bello che viene da piangere,” in La Stampa, March 9, 2007; by Giulio Brotti (see under Interviews); and in Corriere del Ticino (March 13, 2007).

6. Korean translation, [ ], translated by [ ] (Geonggi-do, Korea: Artbooks Publishing, forthcoming).

7. Farsi translation by Hesamaddin Rezai [Rezaei] (Tehran: Herfeh Nevisandeh, 2012 [sic: 2014]).

8. “How Long Does it Take to Look at a Painting?” revised version of the chapter on Bouts, in Huffington Post, November 6, 2010.

9. “The Most Beautiful Painting in the World,” revised version of half the chapter on Bellini, in Huffington Post, March 16, 2011.

10. Reviewed (very strangely) on Chinese TV, April 19, 2013.

12) Why Art Cannot be Taught: A Handbook for Art Students (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2001).

1. Korean translation, 학교 안의 미술 학교 밖의 미술 (Seoul: Chaek–Se–Sang, 2006). ISBN 89-7013-570-7 03600

2. Chinese translation [Art Is Not Out to Teach, or Art Is Self-Learnt, according to two websites, by James Elkins, 詹姆斯·埃尔金斯 Zhanmusi Erjinsi], translated by Luo Jie (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2012).

3. Russian translation (Moscow: Ad Marginem, 2015). ISBN 978-5-91103-265-4, www.admarginem.ru

See also the conversation on the book.

13) Stories of Art (New York: Routledge, 2002).

        1. Korean translation (Seoul: Artbooks, 2005). ISBN 89–898000–44–7 03600

        2. Excerpt in Russian, in The Visual World.

14) Visual Studies: A Skeptical Introduction (New York: Routledge, 2003).

1. Excerpt, in Danish, as “Visual Studies: En skeptisk introduktion,” Passepartout 24 (2004): 17–36.

2. Excerpt, in Russian [Джеймс Е Злкинс, «ШЕСТЬ СПОСОБОВ…» “Six Ways to Make Visual Studies More Difficult”], Topos 15 (European Humanities University Press, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2007): 26-56.

3. Chinese translation (Beijing: Jiang Su Fine Art Press, 2010).

4. Spanish translation, edited by José Luis Brea, with a new introduction and an Afterword, “Farewell to Visual Studies” (Madrid: Akal, forthcoming). In the Akal series on visual studies.

5. Excerpt (pp. 21–30), in Chinese, translated by Chen Fang, in Art and Design Research, edited by Peng Feng (2010).

15) * On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art (New York: Routledge, 2004).

1. Excerpt reprinted in Re-Enchantment.

2. Excerpt, in Spanish, in Exit Express magazine (Madrid), forthcoming.

3. Excerpt, in German, in Glaube und Spiritualität, forthcoming.

4. In Farsi (forthcoming)

See also the symposium on the book.

16) * What Happened to Art Criticism? (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press [distributed by University of Chicago Press], 2003).

1. Abbreviated translation into Chinese in Art Museum, translated by Chen Lei, edited by the Guangdong Art Museum, 2004.

2. Excerpt reprinted as “A Criticism of Contemporary Art Criticism” (一种对当代美术批评的批评, yizhong dui dangdai meishu piping de piping), China Art Weekly (美术报, meishu bao, Hangzhou), Feb. 2, 2008, p. 45; Feb. 9, 2008, p. 39; Feb. 16, 2008, p. 38.

3. Excerpt reprinted as “A Criticism of Contemporary Art Criticism” (一种对当代美术批评的批评, yizhong dui dangdai meishu piping de piping), Culture Daily (中国文化报, zhongguo wenhua bao), Beijing, Jan. 14, 2007, p. 3.

4. Excerpt in State of Art Criticism, vol. 4 of The Art Seminar.

5. Excerpt, in Spanish, in "El Cultural," 23 October 2007.

6. Excerpt, revised and updated, in Swedish, “Dan Jönsson om James Elkins” and “Sju verklösa kurer för konstkritiken,” Bildskriften TAL no. 30-31 (2009): 83–93.

7. Excerpt, posted (without permission) on Scribd.

17) Master Narratives and Their Discontents, with an introduction by Anna Arnar. Theories of Modernism and Postmodernism in the Visual Arts, vol. 1. (Cork, Ireland: University College Cork Press; New York: Routledge, 2005).

        See below, “Edited books,” for others in the series.

18) Six Stories from the End of Representation: Images in Painting, Photography, Microscopy, Astronomy, Particle Physics, and Quantum Mechanics, 1985-2000 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008).

Reviewed in Isis 99 no. 4 (2008); Nature [   ].

1. Revised excerpt of Chapter 3 on astrophysics in German as “An den Grenzen des Darstellbaren: Bilder in der neueren astrophysikalischen Bildgebung,” in Maßlose Bilder, edited by Ingeborg Reichle (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2009), 296–318.

2. Excerpt in Russian, in The Visual World.

(In chronological order, Chinese Landscape Painting as Western Art History would belong here.)

19) Nationalism, Design, and the Ideology of Engineering: Images of the Bulgarian Repeating Rifle (Cheshire: New Graphics Press, 2012). Pamphlet, 32 pp.

20) The Sense of the Infinite on the Western Shore of Lake Victoria Nyanza (Kisumu: University of Nairobi-Kisumu Papers, 2011).

Review by Alain Norpois, Inperspective 3 (2012), online.

        Review by Stephen Atieno Odhiambo, Magazine Reel, October 19, 2011, p. 7.

21) What Photography Is (New York: Routledge, 2012).

1. Excerpt published in History of Photography.

2. Excerpt in Portuguese, “‘Escrever’ e ‘Selenite, Geo, Sal,” translated by Mariana Pinto dos Santos, Intervalo, special issue O Híbrido 5 (2012): 69–100.

Review (in French) here.

Reviewed (in German) by Steffen Siegel in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Sept. 20, 2012, p. 32 by Steffen Siegel.

Reviewed (in Dutch) by Jeroen Laureyns, in Rekto Verso 50 (January–February 2012).

22) * Art Critiques: A Guide (Washington, DC: New Academia, 2011). Second edition, 2012.

This book was first published in color and black and white versions; a new edition will appear every year.

Review of the first edition by Sharon Butler.

23) You Rock My World: An Illustrated History of the Rocking Chair, Rocking Cradle, and Rocking Hammock, 1854-1923 (Butler, CT: Birchbark Press, 2013).

        Review by Beth Palmer, Daily Journal (Kankakee IL), March 17, 2015, online.


24) What Heaven Looks Like (Laboratory Books, edited by David Fabricant, forthcoming, 2017).

Excerpts in the Huffington Post, in four parts: 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Excerpts in Fungiculture.

25) What is Interesting Writing in Art History?, with a Foreword by Maria Fusco, Andrew Carnegie Lecture Series, no. 1 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh College of Art, 2015).

Anthologies of my work

Russian anthology:

Джеймс Элкинс Исследуя визуальный мир [The Visual World: A Collection of Writing by James Elkins [in Russian], под ред. Альмиры Усмановой и Анастасии Денищик [edited by Almira Ousmanova  and Anastassiya Denishchik] (Vilnius, Lithuania: European Humanities University, 2010).  (Вильнюс: Издательство ЕГУ, 2010), 534 pp.

This anthology has a different selection of texts, and a different introduction, than the Spanish or German one.

Reviewed in НЛО (Новое литературное обозрение), 2011.

Spanish anthology:

The Visual World: A Collection of Writing by James Elkins [in Spanish], edited by Patricia Zalamea Fajardo (Bogotá, Colombia: Universidad de los Andes; Barcelona, Spain: Akal, forthcoming, 2016).

German anthology:

Kritik der visuellen Kultur / Critique of Visual Culture [in German], edited and with an Afterword by Gustav Frank (proposed, 2011; stalled, 2014).

Estonian anthology:

Tänapäeva kunsti probleemidest. James Elkins'i valitud kirjutised / Problems in Contemporary Art: Selected Writing of James Elkins [in Estonian], edited by Andri Ksenofontov. (Tallinn: Tallinn University Press, forthcoming),  c. 200 pp.

This anthology is a selection of texts that are also in the Spanish anthology, with a new introduction and different illustrations.

Works in progress

I am in the process of wrapping up my nonfiction writing. These are the remaining projects.

Our Visual Worlds (Oxford University Press), co-written with Erna Fiorentini.

The Impending Single History of Art

Excerpt, in Chinese:  “Are Art Theory, Art Instruction, Literary Criticism, and the Novel Global Phenomena?,” translated into Chinese by Wang Xiaofei as 詹姆斯·埃尔金斯,有全球艺术史学吗? [you quan qiu yi shu shi xue ma], China National Fine Arts [Zhong guo guo jia mei shu], vol. 6, 2014, pp. 5-7.

Writing with Images

This is online; it is c. 200 pp. as of 2015.

What Is Interesting Writing in Art History?

This is online; it is c. 150 pp. as of 2015.

A Journey (working title for an experimental novel)

This is the fiction project, to be completed 2020.

An excerpt has appeared in Manual: An Anthology of the Manual, edited by Amze Emmons et al. (Austin TX: Printeresting.org, 2014), 23–27.


In chronological order.

1) “Michelangelo and the Human Form: His Knowledge and Use of Anatomy,” Art History 7 (1984): 176–86.

(a) Reviewed in Leonardo 18 (1985): 205.

(b) Reprinted in Michaelangelo: Selected Readings, edited by William Wallace (New York: Garland, 1999), 652–66.

(c) In French as “Michel–Ange et la forme humaine. Sa connaissance et son utilisation de l’anatomie,” in l’Anatomie chez Michel–Ange: de la réalité à l’idéalité edited by Chiara Rabbi–Bernard (Paris: Hermann, 2003), 89–112.

2) “Piero della Francesca and the Renaissance Proof of Linear Perspective,” The Art Bulletin 69 (1987): 220–30.

3) “Remarks on the Western Art Historical Study of Chinese Bronzes, 1935–1980,” Oriental Art 33 (autumn 1987): 250–60.

Revised version in Our Beautiful, Dry, and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing.

4) “Two Conceptions of the Human Form: Bernard Siegfried Albinus and Andreas Vesalius,” Artibus et historiæ 14 (1986): 91–106.

5) “Psychoanalysis and Art History,” Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought 9 (1986): 261–98.

6) “Art History Without Theory,” Critical Inquiry 14 (1988): 354–78.

7) “Did Leonardo Develop a Theory of Curvilinear Perspective?—Together with Some Remarks on the ‘Angle’ and ‘Distance Axioms’,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 51 (1988): 190–96.

(a) Reprinted in Leonardo’s Science and Technology: Essential Readings for the Non–Scientist, edited by Claire Farago (New York: Garland, 1999).

8) “‘Das Nüßlein beisset auf, Ihr Künstler!’—Curvilinear Perspective in Seventeenth Century Dutch Art,” Oud Holland 102 (1988): 257–76.

9) Reply to E. H. Gombrich, Critical Inquiry 14 (1988): 893.

Reply to Gombrich’s response to the article “Art History without Theory.”

10) “On the Arnolfini Portrait and the Lucca Madonna: Did Jan Van Eyck Have a Perspectival System?” The Art Bulletin 73 (1991): 53–62.

11) “The Case Against Surface Geometry,” Art History 14 no. 2 (1991): 143–74.

12) “Mannerism: Deformation of the Stage,” Storia dell’Arte 67 (1989): 257–62.

13) “Clarification, Destruction, Negation of Space in the Age of Neoclassicism” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 56 no. 4 (1990): 560–82.

14) “Comparative Studing [sic] on [sic] Chinese Painting and Eastern [sic] Painting, Written. [sic] by James Elkins Tvanslated [sic] by Feng Lemin” [in Chinese except for the title], History and Theory of Fine Arts, Beijing 2 (1991): 103–111.

(a) Revised version in Xi fang mei shu shi xue zhong de Zhongguo shan shui hua.

15) “Uccello, Duchamp: The Ends of Wit,” Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft 36 (1991 [published 1993]): 199–224 and 10 plates.

16) “An Ambilogy of Painted Meanings,” Art Criticism 8 no. 2 (1992): 26–35.

Revised version in Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?

17) “On Modern Impatience,” Kritische Berichte 3 (1991): 19–34.

        Revised on the Huffington Post:

(a) “Are Artists Bored by Their Work?” Huffington Post, December 15, 2010.

(b) “Exploring Famous Unfinished Paintings in Google Art Project: Cézanne, DeKooning, Ofili,” Huffington Post, February 15, 2011.

18) “On the Impossibility of Stories: The Anti–Narrative and Non–Narrative Impulse in Modern Painting,” Word & Image 7 no. 4 (1991): 348–64.

19) “Studio Art Critiques as Seductions,” Journal of Aesthetic Education 26 no. 1 (1992): 105–107.

Abridged version in Why Art Cannot be Taught.

20) “The Snap of Rhetoric: A Catechism for Art History,” SubStance 68 (1992): 3–16.

Revised version in Our Beautiful, Dry, and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing.

21) “Renaissance Perspectives,” Journal of the History of Ideas 53 no. 2 (April–June 1992): 209–230.

22) “On the Conceptual Analysis of Gardens,” Journal of Garden History 13 no. 4 (1993): 189–98.

Revised version in Our Beautiful, Dry, and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing.

Excerpt in Landscape Theory, vol. 6 of The Art Seminar.

23) “The ‘Fundamental Concepts’ of Pictures,” The Journal of Speculative Philosophy 6 no. 2 (1992): 143–151.

24) “On the Unimportance of Alchemy in Western Painting,” Konsthistorisk tidskrift 61 (1992): 21–26.

25) “From Copy to Forgery and Back Again,” The British Journal of Aesthetics 33 no. 2 (1993): 113–20.

Reprinted in: Ethics and the Arts, edited by Alan H. Goldman (New York: Garland Press, forthcoming).

26) “On Visual Desperation and the Bodies of Protozoa,” Representations 40 (1992): 33–56.

Revised version in Pictures of the Body.

27) “The Drunken Conversation of Chaos and Painting,” Meaning 12 (1992): 55–60.

28) “The Unease in Art History,” Qui parle 6 no. 1 (fall/winter 1992): 113–33.

Revised version in Our Beautiful, Dry, and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing.

29) “Style,” article in The Grove Dictionary of Art (New York, Grove Dictionaries, 1996).

In Grove Art Online / Oxford Art Online, here.

Reviewed by Richard Brilliant, in The Art Journal 56 no. 2 (1997): 84–85; and by Joseph Rykwert, in London Times Literary Supplement (November 1, 1996): 18–19.

30) “Abstraction’s Sense of History: Frank Stella’s Working Space Revisited,” American Art 7 no. 1 (winter 1993): 28–39.

31) “The Failed and the Inadvertent: The Theory of the Unconscious in the History of Art” International Journal of Psycho–Analysis 75 part 1 (1994): 119–32.

        Revised version (2001).

32) “A Hagiography of Bugs and Leaves: on the Dishonesty of Pictured Religion,” Journal of Information Ethics 2 no. 2 (1993). 53–70.

Reprinted in Religion and the Arts 1 no. 3 (1997): 73–88.

33) “Art History and the Criticism of Computer–Generated Images,” Leonardo 27 no. 4 (1994): 335–42 and color plate.

Also in electronic format in SIRS Renaissance, CD–ROM (Boca Raton, FL: Social Issues Research Series, 1995).

34) “On Monstrously Ambiguous Paintings,” History and Theory 32 no. 3 (1993): 227–47.

Revised version in Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?

35) “What Really Happens in Pictures? Misreading with Nelson Goodman,” in Word & Image 9 no. 4 (1993): 349–62.

Revised version in The Domain of Images.

36) “The Question of the Body in Mesoamerican Art,” Res 26 (1994): 113–24.

37) “Parallel Art History / Studio Program,” The Art Journal (1995): 54–57.

38) “There are No Philosophic Problems Raised by Virtual Reality,” Computer Graphics 28 no. 4 (1994): 250–54.

39) “Art Criticism,” article in The Grove Dictionary of Art (New York, Grove Dictionaries, 1996).

In Grove Art Online / Oxford Art Online, here.

40) “Marks, Traces, Traits, Contours, Orli, and Splendores: Nonsemiotic Elements in Pictures,” Critical Inquiry 21 (1995): 822–60.

Revised version in Pictures and the Words That Fail Them.

French translation: see Pictures and the Words that Fail Them.

The reply to Mieke Bal’s response to this essay is listed below.

German translation, abbreviated, in Sichtbarkeiten 3: Umreißen: Eigenwege der Zeichnung, edited by Mira Fliescher, Lina Maria Stahl, and Elena Vogman (Berlin: Diaphanes, 2014), 7–16.

41) “Different Horizons for the Concept of the Image,” Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft 43 no. 1 (1998): 29–46.

Revised version in Pictures and the Words That Fail Them.

42) “Between Picture and Proposition: Torturing Paintings in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus,” Visible Language 30 no. 1 (1996): 73–95.

Revised version in The Domain of Images.

43) “On the Impossibility of Close Reading: The Case of Alexander Marshack,” Current Anthropology 37 no. 2 (1996): 185–226.

An abridged version, without the responses and ensuing discussion, appears in Our Beautiful, Dry, and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing.

44) “Art History and Images that are Not Art,” The Art Bulletin 77 no. 4 (1995): 553–71.

        This was revised for The Domain of Images.

(a) Danish translation (see The Domain of Images)

(b) Italian translation: “La storia dell’arte e le immagini che arte non sono,” translated by Pietro Conti, in Teorie dell’immagine: il dibattito contemporaneo, edited by Andrea Pinotti and Antonio Somaini (Milan: Raffaello Cortina, 2009), 155–208.

(c) Portuguese translation (see The Domain of Images)

45) “Histoire de l’art et pratiques d’atelier,” translation of “Why Art Historians should Draw: The Case for Studio Experience,” Histoire de l’art 29–30 (1995): 103–112. [French]

Revised version of a chapter in Our Beautiful, Dry, and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing. See also essay no. 79.

46) “Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles? Some Thoughts on Writing Excessively,” New Literary History 27 no. 2 (1996): 271–90.

Revised version in Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?

47) “Is It Still Possible to Write a Survey of Art History?” Umeni (Prague) 43 (1995): 309–16.

Revised version in Stories of Art.

48) “La Persistance du ‘tempérament artistique’ comme modèle: Rosso Fiorentino, Barbara Kruger, Sherrie Levine,” Ligeia 17–18 (October 1995/June 1996): 19–28. [French]

49) “What Are We Seeing, Exactly?,” contribution to a forum on digital images, The Art Bulletin 79 no. 2 (1997): 191–98.

Response to a letter to the editor, by Charles Rhyne: “Digital Culture and Art History: High–Quality Images are Available Now,” The Art Bulletin 80 no. 1 (1998): 194.

Revised version in Visual Practices Across the University.

50) “A Thought Experiment, For a Book to be Called Failure in Twentieth–Century Art [critical review of David Carrier’s work],” Journal of Aesthetic Education 32 no. 4 (1998): 43–51.

51) “Logic and Images in Art History,” response to Peter Galison’s Image and Logic, in Perspectives on Science 7 no. 2 (1999): 151–80.

52) “On Some Useless Images [in Physics],” Visual Resources 17 (2001): 147–63.

Revised version in Six Stories from the End of Representation.

53) “Why it Is Not Possible to Write the Art History of Non–Western Cultures,” translated into Chinese by Ding Ning, in Mei yuan/Journal of the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing) 3 (2002): 56–61.

(a) Reprinted in English and Slovenian in Minulost’v Prítomnosti: Súcasné umenie a umeleckohistorcké myty / The Past in the Present: Contemporary Art and Art History’s Myths, edited by Ján Bakoš (Bratislava: Nadácia–Centrum Súcasného Umenia, 2002 [sic: 2003]), 229–55.

54, 55) “What is the Difference Between the Body’s Inside and Its Outside?” and “The Limits of Phenomenology: On the Inconceivable and the Unrepresentable in Skin and Membrane Metaphors,” in The Imagination of the Body and the History of Bodily Experience, edited by Shigehisa Kuriyama (Kyoto: International Research Center for Japanese Studies, 2001), 9–16, 261–67.

56) “The End of the Theory of the Gaze,” in Knowing Bodies, Feeling Minds: Embodied Knowledge in Arts Education and Schooling, edited by Liora Bresler (Kluwer, forthcming.)

Revised version in Spanish: “El final de la teoría de la mirada,” translated by Noelia García Pérez, in Debats 79 (2002–3): 76–89.

Posted (without permission) on Scribd.

57) “The Most Interesting Things That Can be Done with Representation [essay for the artist Vik Muñiz],” [   ].

Reprinted on the Saatchi Gallery website, May 2007.

58) “What Does Peirce’s Sign System Have to Say to Art History?” Culture, Theory, and Critique 44 no. 1 (2003): 5–22.

(a) In Italian as “Cosa può dire la teoria peirciana del segno alla storia dell’arte?” in Rivista on-line dell’ AISS, Associazione Italiana Studi Semiotici.

59) “Preface to the book A Skeptical Introduction to Visual Culture,” Journal of Visual Culture 1 no. 1 (2002): 93–99.

Revised version in Visual Studies: A Skeptical Introduction.

60) “Four Ways of Measuring the Distance Between Alchemy and Contemporary Art,” Hyle 9 no. 1 (2003): 105–18.

Russian translation (2008), journal of the Department of Philosophy, St. Petersburg State University, translated by Vitaliy Morozov.

61) “From Bird-Goddesses to Jesus 2000: A Very, Very Brief History of Religion and Art,” Thresholds [MIT] 25 (2002): 76–83.

Includes an exchange with Caroline Jones.

(a) Reprinted in Faith, exh. cat., edited by James Hyde (Hartford CT: Real Art Ways, 2005-2006), 79-90.

62) “Ako je mozné písat’ o svetovom umení?” [“How is It Possible to Write About the World’s Art?”] Ars [Bratislava] 2 (2003): 75–91, with English summary provided by the editors. [Slovakian]

63) “Words and Images Most Severely Distorted,” Circa [Dublin] 204 (2003): 55–57.

64) “The State of Irish Art History,” Circa [Dublin] 106 (2003): 56–59. Online.

In Slovenian as “Stanje umetnostne zgodovine na irskem,” translated by Tina Košak, Umetnostna kronika 15 (2007): 31-34.

        See also no. 80.

65) “What Have We Inherited? [on the place of Joyce in contemporary art]” in Christa–Mia Lerm Hayes, Joyce in Art: Visual Art Inspired by James Joyce (Dublin: Lilliput, 2004), 325–29.

66) “Two Forms of Judgement: Forgiving and Demanding (The Case of Marine Painting),” Journal of Visual Art Practice 3 no. 1 (2004): 37–46.

This is a draft chapter for The Project of Painting.

67) “Preface” to Eduardo Kac, Telepresence and Bio Art: Networking Humans, Rabbits, and Robots (Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press, 2005).

68) “Why Nothing Can Be Accomplished in Painting, And Why It Is Important To Keep Trying,” Circa 109 (2004): 38–41.

(a) Reprinted in part in “The Fenton Gallery in the Context of International Art,” in Representing Art in Ireland (book for the Fenton Gallery, Cork, Ireland), edited by Nuala Fenton (Cork, 2008), 217–26. ISBN 978-0-9544843-8-5.

69) “Theoretical Remarks on Combined Creative and Scholarly PhD Degrees in the Visual Arts,” Journal of Aesthetic Education 38 no. 4 (2004): 22–31.

70) “The Very Theory of Transgression: Bataille, lingchi, and Surrealism,” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art 5 no. 2 (2004): 5–19.

(a) Revised version published as: “The Most Intolerable Photographs Ever Taken,” in The Ethics and Aesthetics of Torture: Its Comparative History in China, Islam, and Europe, edited by Timothy Brook and Jérôme Bourgon (London: Rowman and Littlefield, 2012).

(b) In Portuguese as: “As fotografias mais intoleráveis já tiradas,” in Leituras do Corpo, edited by Christine Greiner and Claudia Amorim (São Paulo: Annablume, 2003), 27–63. ISBN 85-7419-358-5.

71) “Harold Edgerton’s Rapatronic Photographs of Atomic Tests,” History of Photography 28 no. 1 (2004): 74–81.

Revised version of an exhibition catalog essay (New York: Roth Horowitz, c. 2003).

(a) German translation, slightly abridged, as “Harold Edgertons rapatronische Fotografien von Atomversuchen,” translated by Josephine Fenger, in Atombilder: Ikonographien des Atoms in Wissenschaft und Öffentlichkeit des 20. Jahrhunderts, edited by Jochen Hennig and Charlotte Bigg (Berlin: Wallstein Verlag, 2009).

72) “What Do We Want Photography to Be? [reply to Michael Fried’s “Barthes’s Punctum] Critical Inquiry 31 no. 4 (2005): 938–56.

(a) Reprinted in Photography Degree Zero: Reflections on Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida,” edited by Geoffrey Batchen (Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press, 2009), 171–86.

73) “Afterword: On Beyond Research and New Knowledge,” in Thinking Through Art: Reflections on Art As Research, edited by Katy Mcleod and Lin Holdridge (London: Routledge, 2005), 241–47.

On PhD programs in visual art. This is an abbreviated version of the text in Printed Project.

74) “Einige Gedanken über die Unbestimmtheit der Darstellung [On the Unrepresentable in Pictures],” in Das unendliche Kunstwerk: Von der Bestimmtheit des Unbestimmten in der ästhetischen Erfahrung, edited by Gerhard Gamm and Eva Schürmann (Berlin: Philo, 2006), 119-40. ISBN 978-3-86572-632-2 [German]

75) “Una nota sulle ‘prospettive’ non–occidentali” in Orienti e Occidenti della Rappresentazione, edited by Agostino de Rosa (Venice: Il Poligrafo, 2005), 249–53. [Unillustrated excerpt from “The Visual: How it is Studied”] ISBN 88–7115–446–0 [Italian]

76) “Afterword” to Discovering Chinese Painting: Dialogues With Art Historians, edited by Jason Kuo, second edition (Dubuque, IO: Kendall/Hunt Publishing, 2006), 249–56.

77) “Naïfs, Faux-Naïfs, Faux Faux-Naïfs, Would-Be-Faux-Naïfs: There is No such Thing as Outsider Art,” in Inner Worlds Outside, exh. cat., edited by John Thompson (Dublin: Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2006), 71–79.

78) “Can We Invent a World Art Studies?” in World Art Studies, edited by Wilfried van Damme and Kitty Zijlmans (Leiden: Valiz, 2008), 92–102.

79) “Warum Kunsthistoriker malen lernen sollten—ein Plädoyer für Werkstatterfahrung,” in Subjekt und Medium in der Kunst der Moderne, edited by Michael Lüthy and Christoph Menke (Zurich and Berlin: Diaphanes, 2006), 87-114. [German]

Revised version of a chapter in Our Beautiful, Dry, and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing; expanded version of essay no. 45.

80) “The State of Irish Art History Revisited,” Circa 116 (summer 2006), and “Response” [to eight letters responding to the original essay, by Joan Fowler, Lucy Cotter, Maeve Connolly, Mia Lerm Hayes, Róisín Kennedy, Rosemarie Mulcahy, Sheila Dickinson, and Siún Hanrahan], Circa 118 (winter 2006): 45-47.

        The essay is here, and the responses here.

        See also no. 64.

81) “Über die Unmöglichkeit des close reading,” in Was aus dem Bild fällt: figuren des Details in Kunst und Literatur, [Festschrift für] Friedrich Teja Bach zum 60. Geburtstag, edited by Edith Futcher, Stefan Neuner, Wolfram Pichler, and Ralph Ubl (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2007), 107–40. [German]

Abridged version of chapter 3 in Our Beautiful, Dry, and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing, which is in turn abridged from article no. 43. This version has introductory material on the contemporary interest in close readings and details.

82) “Writing About Modernist Painting Outside Western Europe and North America,” in Compression vs. Expansion: Containing the World’s Art, edited by John Onians (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 188-214.

Revised version published as “Writing About Modernist Painting Outside Western Europe and North America,” Transcultural Studies [Heidelberg University, online], 1 no. 1 (10 Nov 2010).

        This is a draft chapter for The Project of Painting.

83) “Camera Dolorosa [excerpt from What Photography Is],” History of Photography 31 no. 1 (2007): 22-30.

84) “Is Anyone Listening?” [one-page assessment of the debates in Photography Theory] Photofile 80 (winter 2007): 80.

85) “Ten Reasons to Mistrust the New PhD in Studio Art,” Art in America (May 2007): 108-9.

Spanish translation: “Diez razones para desconfiar del PhD en Estudios Artísticos,” translated by Fernando Uhia, Cuadernos Grises 4 (Bogotà: Departamento de Arte, Universidad de los Andes, 2009), 155–60. ISSN 1900 1681

86) “Is There a Canon in Art History?” in Partisan Canons, edited by Anna Brzyski (Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2007), [ ].

87) “The Mottled Discourse of Chinese Studies,” response to Jonathan Hay, “The Mediating Work of Art.” In a set of “Interventions,” The Art Bulletin 89 no. 3 (2007). Hay’s essay is pp. 435-59; my response, pp. 482-86.

88) “Photography Between History and, Well,” in Three Hours Between Planes, exh. cat. (Chicago Cultural Center / Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig, 2008).

89) “The Three Configurations of Studio Art PhDs,” in Mapping Landscapes in Performance as Research: Scholarly Acts and Creative Cartographies, edited by Shannon Rose Riley and Lynette Hunter (London: Palgrave, 2009), 107–13.

        An earlier version of part of a chapter in Artists with PhDs.

90) “Über das Buch Landscape Theory,” translated by Jean-Marie Clarke and Richard Schindler, in Points of View: Landschaft verstehen, Geographie und Ästhetik, Energie und Technik, edited by Richard Schindler (Freiburg i. Br., Modo Verlag Freiburg, 2008), 45–54. [German]

        Assessment of the book Landscape Theory.

91) “On Some Limits to Film Theory (Mainly from Science),” in Cinema and Technology: Cultures, Theories and Practices, edited by Bruce Bennett, Marc Furstenau, and Adrian Mackenzie (Houndsmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 [New York: St Martin’s Press LLC]), 53–70.

92) “How Pictures Die,” posted on Richard Woodfield’s site.

This is a sketch for part of chapter 1 of Six Stories from the End of Representation.

93) “The Idea of Painting as a Whole,” Tampa Journal of Art History 3 (2008), online.

        This is a brief summary of The Project of Painting.

94) “Liquid Thoughts on the Body and Religion,” introduction to Fluid Flesh: The Body, Religion and the Visual Arts, edited by Barbara Baert (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011).

95) “Iconoclasm and the Sublime: Two Implicit Religious Discourses in Art History,” in Idol Anxiety, edited by Josh Ellenbogen and Aaron Tugendhaft (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011), 133–51.

96) “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” [title changed by Frieze; the original is “Reasons Not to Be Optimistic About Visual Studies],” Frieze 118 (2008): 252–59. Online here.

97) “Two Ends of the Emblem,” Emblematica [    ].

98) “Aesthetics and the Two Cultures: Why Art and Science Should be Allowed to Go Their Separate Ways,” in Rediscovering Aesthetics, edited by Tony O’Connor, Frances Halsall, and Julia Jansen (New York: Columbia University Press).

99) “Gegen das Erhabene” [“Against the Sublime”], in Das Erhabene in Wissenschaft und Kunst: Über Vernunft und Einbildungskraft, edited by Roald Hoffmann and Iain Boyd Whyte (Berlin: Surhkamp: 2010): 97–113.

(a) English edition: Beyond the Finite: The Sublime in Art and Science, edited by Roald Hoffmann and Iain Boyd Whyte (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 20–42.

100) “On Some Limits of Materiality in Art History,” 31: Das Magazin des Instituts für Theorie [Zürich] 12 (2008): 25–30. Special issue Taktilität: Sinneserfahrung als Grenzerfahrung, edited by Stefan Neuner and Julia Gelshorn. ISSN 1660-2609, ISBN 978-3-906489-10-0.

(a) Reprinted in Retorica del visibile: strategie dell’immagine tra significazione e comunicazione, vol. 1, Conference, edited by Tiziana Migliore (Rome: ARACNE, 2011), 137–48. ISBN 978-88-548-3850-5.

101) “On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art: A Symposium,” edited by Theodore Prescott, Books and Culture:  A Christian Review (May / June 2009): 24–25.

        Response to five readings of On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art.

        A version of this is posted here.

102) “Ten Reasons Why E.H. Gombrich is Not Connected to Art History,” Human Affairs [Bratislava] 19 no. 3 (2009).

(a) This is also posted on the Gombrich website, under “Forum.”

(b) Italian translation, “Le ragioni per cui Ernst H. Gombrich non può essere considerato uno storico dell'Arte,” Estetica, 2010.

103) “Introduction to Art Theory in the West, 1980-2010,” in Chinese, edited and translated by Shen Yubing,  Art Research (美术研究), edited by Yin Shuangxi, published by the China Central Fine Art Academy (中央美术学院) (2011?).

104) “What Do Artists Know? A Preliminary Report,” Mahkuzine [Utrecht] 8 (winter 2010):27–30.

        A report on the conference that led to the book, What Do Artists Know?

105) “Afterword,” in Judgment and Contemporary Art Criticism, edited by Jeff Khonsary and Melanie O’Brian (Vancouver: Artspeak, Fillip Editions, 2010). ISBN 978-0-9738133-6-4.

This is a response to Diedrich Diederichsen, Maria Fusco, Tom Morton, Jeff Derksen, Sven Lütticken, and Tirdad Zolghadr, on the subject of contemporary art criticism. See also the book State of Art Criticism.

106) “Why Art History is Global,” in Globalization and Contemporary Art, edited by Jonathan Harris (London: Blackwell, 2011), 375–86.

A review of the literature from c. 2005 - 2010, and a brief critique of positions taken by visual studies.

107) “Keynote Essay: Towards an International Visual Studies Reader,” Artefact [Dublin] 4 (2010): 6–13.

        A draft of the introduction to the book  Theorizing Visual Studies.

108) “How to Look at a Mondrian,” Huffington Post, October 13, 2010. One of six essays on the Huffington Post.

109) “Introduction: Art Critiques: Forgotten Children of the Academy,” to The Art of Critique, edited by Stephen Knudsen ([     ], 2013).

Response to thirty essays by Danto, Schjeldahl, Camnitzer, Gopnik, Jaar, Schwabsky, and others, in the form of an essay on the relation between student art critiques and public art criticism.

110) “Images Without Sense,” Was ist ein Bild? Antworten in Bildern: Gottfried Boehm zum 70. Geburtstag, edited by Sebastian Egenhofer, Inge Hinterwaldner, and Christian Spies (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2012), 79–82.

111) “Some International Contexts,” response to Inés Dussel, “Visuality and History of Education: Just Another Historiographic Fad?,” in Bildungsgeschichte: International Journal for the Historiography of Education 2 no. 2 (2012): 237–38.

112) Answer to the question, “Wozu noch Philosophie?” Topos: Journal for Philosophy and Cultural Studies 1 (2012):12–13.

113) “Incoherences of the Art World,” Práticas da Teoria no. 10 (2012) (Lisbon, Instituto de História da Arte: Edição, 2014). This essay was the Envoi to the series The Art Seminar. It is reprinted here, edited, and with a new introduction.

114) “Six Cultures of the PhD,” in SHARE: Handbook for Artistic Research Education, edited by Mick Wilson and Schelte van Ruiten, 2014. An essay on international varieties of the PhD for artists. Also available here.

Abridged version: “Five Cultures of the PhD Around the World,” Arte e universidade, edited by António Olaio, vol. 1 of the series As Artes do Colégio (Coimbra: Colégio das Artes, 2016), 15–20.

115) “A Thought on the Future and State of the Image,” in Facing Forward: Art and Theory from a Future Perspective, edited by Hendrik Folkerts, Christoph Lindner, and Margriet Schavemaker (Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press, 2015), 65–72.

116) “Preface” to Tim Gilman-Ševčík, “The Academy of Forgetting,” dissertation submitted to the Division of Media and Communication of The European Graduate School in Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 2014.

117) “Epilogue” to Art, Technology, and Nature: Renaissance to Postmodernity, edited by Camilla Skovbjerg Paldam and Jacob Wamberg (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015), 237-48.

118) “The Homonymic Curtain,” co-authored with Richard Gregor, Umeni (Prague) 63 no. 3 (2015): 150-55.

119) “Foreword” to The World Atlas of Tattoo, edited by Anna Friedman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015), p. 7.

120) “Afterword” to Image Operations: Visual Media and Political Conflict, edited by Charlotte Klonk and Jens Eder (Manchester University Press, 2016).

121) “Afterword” to Experimentality, edited by Henk Slager (Utrecht: Metropolis M Books, 2016), with contributions by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Peter Weibel, Valerie Pihet, Andrew Pickering, and others. ISBN 978-90-818302-5-6.

122) “Conclusion: Cross-Cultural Strategies and Discontents,” in “Looking Beyond the Canon: Localized and Globalized Perspectives in Art History Pedagogy,” edited by Aditi Chandra and Leda Cempellin, Art History, Pedagogy, and Practice 1 no. 1 (2016).

Edited books

Not in chronological order; the most recent titles are underlined.

(1–5) Series editor, Theories of Modernism and Postmodernism in the Visual Arts, 5 vols. (Cork, Ireland: University College Cork Press; New York: Routledge, 2005–2011).

Vol. 1:         Elkins, Master Narratives and Their Discontents, with an introduction by Anna Arnar. (Listed above, under “Books”)

Vol. 2:         Stephen Bann, Ways Around Modernism (New York: Routledge, 2007), with an introduction by Margaret MacNamidhe.

Vol. 3:         Richard Shiff, Doubt (New York: Routledge, 2008), with an introduction by Rosie Bennett.

Vol. 4:        Pamela Lee, New Games: Postmodernism After Contemporary Art (New York: Routledge, 2012), with an introduction by Johanna Burton.

Vol. 5:         Joseph Koerner, Last Experiences of Painting, with an introduction by Elena Calvillo. Projected for 2016.

(6–12) Series editor, The Art Seminar, 7 vols. (NY: Routledge, 2005–2008).

Series translated into Vietnamese, edited by Nguyen Nhu Huy (Ho Chi Minh City: Sachhay Publishers, forthcoming).

Vol. 1:         

Art History versus Aesthetics, vol. 1 of The Art Seminar, with an Introduction by Robert Gero, Afterwords by Jay Bernstein and Marc Redfield, and assessments by Arthur Danto, Thierry De Duve, Diarmuid Costello, Andrew Benjamin, Stephen Melville, Adrian Rifkin, Paul Crowther, Wendy Steiner, John Hyman, Richard Woodfield, Anna Dezeuze, Keith Moxey, Matthew Rampley, and about twenty others (New York: Routledge, 2005).

        Contains the essay “Why Don’t Art Historians Attend Aesthetics Conferences?”

Vol. 2:                

Photography Theory, vol. 2 of The Art Seminar, with an introduction by Sabine Kriebel, an Afterword by Walter Benn Michaels, and contributions by Joel Snyder, Margaret Iversen, Jan Baetens, Liz Wells, Geoffrey Batchen, Carol Squiers, Michael Leja, Margaret Olin, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Johan Swinnen, Steve Edwards, Rosalind Krauss, Alan Trachtenberg, Diarmuid Costello, Victor Burgin, Graham Smith, Anne McCauley, Walter Benn Michaels, and others (New York: Routledge, 2006).

        See also the review.

1. Chinese translation: (Beijing: Phoenix Publishing Group, 2010).

2. Second Chinese translation: (Beijing: HuBei Fine Art Publishing House, 2017).

2. Turkish translation: (Istanbul: Espas Sanat Kuram Yayinlari Yapim Dagitim Egitim San. Tic. Ltd. Sti. Of Mueyyetz Mah, c. 2012).

Vol. 3:         

Is Art History Global?, vol. 3 of The Art Seminar, with an Afterword by Shelly Errington, and contributions by Friedrich Teja Bach, Cao Yiqiang, Shigemi Inaga, Craig Clunas, Suman Gupta, David Carrier, Matthew Rampley, Keith Moxey, Andrea Giunta, Sandra Klopper, Barbara Stafford, Charlotte Bydler, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Mariusz Bryl, Keith Moxey, Suzana Milevska, Shelly Errington, David Summers, and others  (New York: Routledge, 2006).

        Includes a reprint of the review of David Summers’s book.

1. The introductory essay (pp. 3–24) is excerpted in Estonian as “Kunstiajalugu kui globaalne distsipliin,” Kunstiteaduslikke Uurimusi / Studies on Art and Architecture 2008 (3): 113–23.

2. The introductory essay is revised and reprinted as “Is Art History a Global Discipline?” Stones From Other Mountains, edited by Jason Kuo (Washington, DC: New Academia, 2009), chapter 1, 9–28. (See also the letters to Jim Cahill in the same book.)

3. Introductory essay slightly revised on the Karlsruhe Global Art Museums site, 2012.

Vol. 4:                

The State of Art Criticism, co-edited with Michael Newman, vol. 4 of The Art Seminar, with contributions by Stephen Melville, Dave Hickey, Irit Rogoff, Guy Brett, Katy Deepwell, Joseph Masheck, Peter Plagens, Julian Stallabrass, Alex Alberro, Whitney Davis, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, and others (New York: Routledge, 2007).

Includes a partial reprint of What Happened to Art Criticism?. See also the review of this book in the Afterword to the final volume in the series, and in the “Afterword” to Judgment and Contemporary Art Criticism.

1. Translation into Spanish, under preparation by Iván Ordóñez, Bogotà (2011). First part here.

Vol. 5:                

Renaissance Theory, co-edited with Robert Williams, vol. 5 of The Art Seminar, with an Introduction by Rebecca Zorach and contributions by Stephen Campbell, Fredrika Jacobs, Matt Kavaler, Michael Cole, Claire Farago, Alessandro Nova, and others (New York: Routledge, 2007).

        Contains a Preface to Streams into Sand.

Vol. 6:                

Landscape Theory, co-edited with Rachael DeLue, vol. 6 of The Art Seminar,   with contributions by Rachael DeLue, Yvonne Scott, Minna Törmä, Denis Cosgrove, Rebecca Solnit, Anne Whiston Spirn, David Hays, Michael Gaudio, Jacob Wamberg, Michael Newman, Jessica Dubow, and others (New York: Routledge, 2008).

Includes an abridged revision of “On the Conceptual Analysis of Gardens.” The book is assessed in this article.

Posted (without permission) on Scribd.

See also article 90.

Vol. 7:         

Re-Enchantment, co-edited by David Morgan, vol. 7 of The Art Seminar,  with contributions by Thierry de Duve, Boris Groys, Wendy Doniger, Kajri Jain, and others (New York: Routledge, 2008).

        Contains an excerpt from On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art.

This volume has an Envoi, later called “Incoherences of the Art World,” looking back on the series of seven books.

(13–19) Series editor, The Stone Theory Seminars (University Park, PA: Penn State Press, 2008–12).

Vol. 1:         

Art and Globalization, co-edited with Zhivka Valiavicharska and Alice Kim, vol. 1 of The Stone Art Theory Seminars (University Park, PA: Penn State Press, 2010).

Reviewed (in Catalan) by Loredana Niculet, Enrahonar [Department of Philosophy of the Autonomous University of Barcelona] 49, special issue on Nelson Goodman (2012): 165–67.


Vol. 2:         

What is an Image?, co-edited with Maja Naef, vol. 2 of The Stone Art Theory Seminars (University Park, PA: Penn State Press,  2011).

1.  Spanish translation of part of the Seminars: “Un seminario sobre la teoría de la imagen,” translated by Sergio Martínez Luna, in Estudios Visuales 7 (December 2009): 132–67.

2. Part of the Introduction, in Rheinsprung 11 [Basel], vol. 1, 2011.


Vol. 3:         

What do Artists Know?,  co-edited with Frances Whitehead, vol. 3 of The Stone Art Theory Seminars (University Park, PA: Penn State Press, 2012).

        See also the preliminary report after the conference.


Vol. 4:         

Beyond the Aesthetic and the Anti-Aesthetic, vol. 4 of The Stone Art Theory Seminars (University Park, PA: Penn State Press, 2013).

1. Excerpt, “Beyond the Aesthetic and the Anti-Aesthetic,” in Aesthetics and Contemporary Art, ed. PENG Feng (International Association for Aesthetics / Association Internationale d‘Esthèthque, 2012), 19-38.


Vol. 5:         

Farewell to Visual Studies, co-edited with Sunil Manghani and Gustav Frank, vol. 5 of The Stone Art Theory Seminars (University Park, PA: Penn State Press, 2015).


(20) Editor, Visual Literacy (NY: Routledge, 2008).

With contributions by W.J.T. Mitchell, Jonathan Crary, Jon Simons, and Barbara Stafford, and others.

(21) Editor, Visual Practices Across the University, with contributions by thirty-five scholars (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2007). This book is in English, and is available on Amazon Deutschland, here.

1. Excerpt from the Introduction, revised, published as “Visual Practices Across the University,” in Beyond Mimesis and Convention: Representation in Art and Science, edited by Roman Frigg and Mathhew Hunter. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol. 262 (Dordrecht: Springer, 2010), 169–92.

2. Excerpt from the Introduction, revised, published as “Visual Practices Across the University: A Report,” in Imagery in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Oliver Grau and Thomas Veigl (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011), 149–73.

(22) Editor, Visual Cultures (Bristol: Intellect Books [distributed by University of Chicago Press], 2009).

Essays on visuality and literacy in different nations.

Chinese translation in preparation, 2016: 何敬茹



(23) Artists with PhDs: On the New Doctoral Degree in Studio Art  First edition: Washington, DC: New Academia, 2009. Second, definitive edition, 2014.

New Academia is a refereed, print-on-demand publisher available through Amazon.

The second edition is nearly twice the length of the first edition. This book is in turn a greatly expanded version of The New PhD in Studio Art, no. 4 in the occasional series called Printed Project (Dublin: Sculptor’s Society of Ireland, 2005). One chapter in Printed Project, originally published in Thinking Through Art, is entirely rewritten in Artists with PhD Degrees.

1. “Remarks on the Studio-Art PhD Around the World” (a chapter from the book) reprinted in Doctoral Writing in the Creative and Performing Arts, edited by Louise Ravelli et al. (Faringdon, UK: Libri, 2014), 9–32.

2. “Fourteen Reasons to Mistrust the PhD” (a chapter from the book) reprinted in Investigação em Artes: A Oscilação dos Métodos / Research in the Arts: The Oscillation of the [sic] Methods, edited by José Quaresma and Fernando Rosa Dias (Lisbon: Edição do Centro de Filosofia, Faculdades de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa, 2015), 217–320.

(24) Co-editor, with Maria Pia Di Bella, Representations of Pain in Art and Visual Culture, in the series Routledge Advances in Art and Visual Studies (New York: Routledge, 2012).

(25) Co-editor, with Kristi McGuire, Maureen Burns, Alicia Chester, and Joel Kuennen, Theorizing Visual Studies: Thinking Through the Discipline, (New York: Routledge, 2012).

This is an anthology written entirely by graduate students from around the world. It is being developed online.

1. Abbreviated version of the introduction “An Introduction to the Visual as Argument,” in  The Future of Visual Studies: Image Theory after the Pictorial Turn, edited by Žarko Paić and Krešimir Purgar (forthcoming, 2014).

Selected book reviews, catalogues, miscellaneous

Newest first.

There are also 200+ book reviews, all of modern and contemporary literature, posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads, c. 2008 - present.

Review of Whitney Davis, A General Theory of Visual Culture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011). An abbreviated version of this is on the CAA Reviews online site (paywall). The full version is posted on Philosophy Papers.

“Time and Place,” catalog essay for the exhibition Time and Place (Macroom, Co. Cork, Ireland, August 2006), 8–14.

Review of Victoria Newhouse, Art and The Power of Placement, in New York Times Book Review (Sunday, May 8, 2005, 22).

“Three Questions for the New York School,” in Modern American Painting From the NYU Art Collection, exh. cat. (Cork, Ireland: Glucksman Gallery, 2004), 11–18.

Review of David Summers, Real Spaces, in The Art Bulletin 86 no. 2 (2004): 373–80.

        Reprinted in Is Art History Global?

Letter on the state of art history, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 19, 2003, B4.

“Visual Culture: First Draft,” review of Iconoclash!, edited by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel, in Art Journal 62 no. 3 (2003): 104–107.

Review of Alberto Manguel, Reading Pictures (Toronto: Knopf Canada, 2000), in Letters in Canada 72 no. 1 (2002–2003): 362–63.

“Nine Modes of Interdisciplinarity in Visual Studies,” reply to Mieke Bal, “Visual Essentialism and the Object of Visual Culture,” Journal of Visual Culture 2 no. 2 (2003): 232–37.

        In Spanish as “Nueve modelos de interdisciplinareidad para los estudios visuales,” Estudios visuales, edited by José Luis Brea 2 (December 2004), online [Spanish].

“Rapatronic Photographs of Atomic Tests,” in After and Before: Documenting the A–Bomb (New York: PPP Editions, 2003).

Review of David Hockney, Secret Knowledge (New York: Viking, 2001), on the password-protected College Art Association review site.

Review of the N.Y.U. conference on David Hockney’s book Secret Knowledge, in Circa 99 (spring 2002): 38–39. Online.


“Who Owns Images: Science or Art?” review of an MIT conference, “Image and Meaning,” June 2001, in Circa 97 (2001): 36–37, online.

James Elkan [sic], “The Transcendence of Art: An Essay on the Epileptic Autistic Pakistani Artist Sadia Sheikh, and Her Great– Great– Great– Grandfather,” exh. cat. (Lahore, Pakistan: Lahore Businessmen Association for Rehabilitation of Disabled, 2002).

“Renouncing Representation,” essay in Marco Breuer: Tremors, Ephemera, exh. cat. (New York: Roth Horowitz, 2000).

Review of Picturing Science, Producing Art, edited by Caroline Jones and Peter Galison, in Isis 97 no. 9 (2000): 318–19. (Version truncated by Isis.)

Review of Theories of Art Today, edited by Noël Carrol, Journal of Aesthetic Education 35 no. 2 (2001): 119–21.

Review of Steven Mansbach, Modern Art in Eastern Europe, in The Art Bulletin 82 no. 4 (2000): 781–85.

“Response [to Anthony Alofsin’s letter regarding the review of Mansbach’s Modern Art in Eastern Europe],” Art Bulletin 84 (2002): 539.

Review of Rosalind Krauss, Bachelors, on the password-protected College Art Association review site.

Review of Hans Belting, The Germans and Their Art: A Troublesome Relationship, on the password-protected College Art Association review site.

Review of Thomas Crow, The Intelligence of Art, on the password-protected College Art Association review site.

Review of Dawn Ades, Dalí’s Optical Illusions, on the password-protected College Art Association review site.

Review of Eileen Reeves, Painting the Heavens: Art and Sciences in the Age of Galileo (Princeton, 1997), in Zeitschrift für Kunstgeshcichte 62 (1999): 580–85.

“Precision, Misprecision, Misprision,” Reply to Thierry de Duve, in Critical Inquiry 25 no. 1 (1998): 169–80.

“Real Disquietude / Un verdadero desasosiego,” exh. cat. for Pablo Helguera, Estacionamientos (Parking Zones) (Mexico City: Talleria espacio cultural, 1998). [Spanish]

Reply to LeRoy McDermott, “Self–Representation in Upper Paleolithic Female Figurines,” in Current Anthropology 37 no. 2 (1996): 255–58.

“What do We Want Pictures to Be?” Critical Inquiry 22 (1996): 590–602.

Reply to Mieke Bal’s response to no. 40 above.

“What is Alchemical History?” Konsthistorisk tidskrift 64 no. 1 (1995): 51–53.

Reply to Didier Kahn’s response to the article, no. 24 above.

“Reply to Roger Malina,” Leonardo [ ].

Reply to Malina’s response to the article, no. 33 above.

Review of Hal Foster, Compulsive Beauty (MIT, 1993), The Art Bulletin 76 no. 3 (1994): 546–48.

Reply to Ellen Handler Spitz (responding to the review, above), The Art Bulletin 77 no. 2 (1995): 342–43.

“Before Theory,” review of Whitney Davis, Masking the Blow (Berkeley, 1992), Art History 16 no. 4 (1993): 647–72.

Review of Barbara Stafford, Body Criticism (MIT, 1991), The Art Bulletin 74 no. 3 (1992): 517–520.

Review of Martin Kemp, The Science of Art (Yale, 1990), Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 54 no. 4 (1991): 597–601.

“Signs of Religion,” exh. cat., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Gallery 2, fall 1991.

“Castillon’s Problem,” Journal of Recreational Mathematics 22 no. 3 (1991), 224.

Interviews, published letters

Newest first. See also secondary sources, below.

Interview with Nicole Sansone for Full Stop, April 2015.

Interview with Claire Brandon, for an Institute of Fine Arts lecture series, March 2015.

Interview with Natalia Calderón, on the PhD, in her PhD thesis, “"Breaking the artistic, perturbing the pedagogical. Artistic Research as a social space of knowledge production,” Barcelona University, 2015.

Interview on How to Use Your Eyes, c. 2010.

“Das Ende des Schreibens über Kunst,” interview with Ruedi Widmer, in Laienherrschaft: 18 Exkurse zum Verhlältnis von Künsten und Medien (Berlin: Diaphenes, 2014), 71–85.

Interview with Stephen Knudsen, on Artpulse (January, 2014): 26–30 and online.

“Was bedeutet Globalkunst in der Praxis?” Kunstforum International 220 (March 2013): 90–91.

Intervjuu: prof James Elkinsiga: kümme põhjust visuaalkultuuri uurimiseks,” interview in Estonian with Peeter Linnap (2005), in Linnap, Silmakirjad 4, Intervjuud visuaalkultuuri intellektuaalidega, 1992-2010 (Tartu: Kõrgem Kunstikool, 2011 [2012]), 167–74.

“El gobierno de la imagen,” interview in Spanish with Anna Maria Guasch, Exit Book, Revista semestral de libros de arte y cultura visual 16 (2012): 8–21.

“Sieben Fragen über Kunst als Forschung / Seven Questions on Arts as Research” (in German and English), Texte zur Kunst, special issue on art as research, 82 (2011): 86–91.

Entrevista com James Elkins,” conducted in Lisbon by Afonso Ramos, Joana Cunha Leal and Mariana Pinto dos Santos, in Museus e Investigação no. 8 (2011): 9–24. (In English, brief preface in Portuguese.)

“The Shifting Condition of Art Discourse,” interview with Loredana Niculet, in Disturbis, 2010.

“Co-Optation and Criticality: A Discussion and Resource: James Elkins and Johny ML Debate the Politics of the Art Market and the Function of Art Criticism,” Dreaming in Public, edited by Brian Curtin (Bangkok: Gallery Soulflower, 2009), 145–51.

        This is abridged from a series of emails.

Letters to James Cahill (“The Cahill-Elkins Exchange”), in Stones From Other Mountains, edited by Jason Kuo (Washington, DC: New Academia, 2009), 119–66.

        Other essays in this book are listed under Chinese Landscape Painting as Western Art History and Is Art History Global?.

“Who Really Needs Art PhDs?” interview with Elpida Karaba, Boot Print 2 no. 2 (December 2008 [2009]): 11. (Special issue on art academies.)

“E.H. Gombrich: Changing the Way We See,” interview with Julie Copeland, ABC (Australian radio), 6 July 2008; transcript online.

Art Education is Radically Undertheorized,” The Thing Hamburg: Plattform für Kunst und Kritik, conducted at Dundee Contemporary Arts, Visual Research Centre, May 17th, 2008, with Cornelia Sollfrank. Poster here; also published in the book What’s Next? (2015).

“Stupore Crescente / Growing Amazement,” interview with Lilia Ambrosi, in Emozione e Sorpresa / Emotion and Surprise, special issue of the coffee magazine Illywords 23 (2008): 8–12. [Italian]

Interview on Bad at Sports (July 2007), posted December 2007, on the 2007 Stone Summer Theory Institute: badatsports.com.

Minna Törmä, “Miten kirjoittaa taiteesta globaalissa maailmassa?” Taida 3 (2007): 16-18. [Finnish]

Interview, with David Morgan, on religion and art, on Bad at Sports, April 2007, podcast.

Giulio Brotti, “L’arte di piangere, un lusso ormai per pochi,” L’eco di Bergamo (March 14, 2007), 30. [Italian]

“Distance and Drawings, Four Letters from a Correspondence between James Elkins and John Berger,” in Berger on Drawing, edited by Jim Savage (Aghabullogue, Co. Cork, Ireland: Occasional Press), 105–18.  Available here.

(a) Spanish translation: “Distancia y dibujos,” in John Berger: Sobre el dibujo, translated by Pilar Vázquez (Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 2011), 91–108.

(b) Norwegian translation: “Avstand og tegning: Fire brev fra en korrespondanse mellom James Elkins og John Berger,” Prisme: Tegning fra 1990 til 2012, edited by Gavin Jantjes (Oslo: Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst,  Arkitektur og Design, 2012), 73–80.

Interview on Bad at Sports, posted January 2007, podcast.

Why Art Cannot be Taught,” conversation with Maud Cotter, Jan Verwoert, and others, held at Cork Caucus, Cork, Ireland, 2005, in Cork Caucus: On Art, Possibility, and Democracy ([Cork]: National Sculpture Factory and Revolver, 2006), 247–59. ISBN 3-86588-335-4, 978-3-86588-335-3.

Matthew Nash, online interview, posted January 24, 2006. Available here.

Robert Williams, [essay on my work], in Art: Key Contemporary Thinkers, edited by Diarmuid Costello and Jonathan Vickery (forthcoming, 2008).

Luigi Prestinenza, interview for CPA, Channelbeta, Canale d’Informazione sull’Architettura Contemporanea, September 2004. [Italian]

Robert Lozar, “In popolnoma pozabim, kdo sem / And I Completely Forget Who I Am,” Likovne Besede (Ljubljana) 63–64 (2003) 81–93. [Slovenian]

Deanna Isaacs, “Critical Condition [interview about The Visual Art Critic],” Chicago Reader (December 6, 2002), section 2, p. 22.

Tom Valeo, “In the Eye of a Ruthless Beholder: James Elkins Sees Where Artists Go Wrong,” Citytalk [Chicago], April 1, 2002.

Interview about Pictures and Tears, on the NPR program “The Connection,” December 13, 2001.

Interview about How to Use Your Eyes, on the NPR program “The Connection,”

February 7, 2001.

Margaret Corcoran, “Open to Criticism,” Circa 94 (2000): 26–29, online here.

Rick Kogan, “20/20 Insight: An Art Institute Professor Finds Worlds of Meaning in the Mundane,” Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, cover story, 8 October 2000.

Scott Heller, “A Maverick Art Historian Examines his Field’s Idiosyncrasies and Blind Spots,” Chronicle of Higher Education (June 25, 1999): A17–18.

Tamara Bissell, “Interview with James Elkins,” Umeni (Prague) 46 no. 1–2 (1998): 145–52.

Completed Book Manuscripts

The Surface of the Body, Based on the Work of Michelangelo Buonarroti, 400 pp. in MS., 300 illus. Completed October 1987.

        In hibernation.

Selected lectures, colloquia, visiting lectureships, etc.

Newest last. With a couple of exceptions I haven’t added to list since c. 2005.

“The Anti–Splendor: On the Failure of Theories of Pictorial Realism,” session on theory chaired by Joel Snyder, CAA, Chicago, February 1992.

“Visualizing Space Before and After Computers,” joint session of the American Historical Association and the History of Science Society, chaired by Barbara Stafford, Washington, D.C., December 1992.

“The Question of the Mesoamerican Body,” response to the session “Thinking Through the Mesoamerican Body,” chaired by Cecilia Klein, CAA, Seattle, February 1993.

“Art History as the History of Crystallography,” Princeton University Workshop in the History of Science, session on “Scientific Knowledge as Visual Art,” Princeton, April 1993.

“The Final Barrier to Theory: What can Art History Say to Studio Practice?” session on “Revisionism and the Teaching of Art History,” chaired by Martin Rosenberg, CAA, New York, February 1994.

“The Limits of Interdisciplinarity,” invited lecture and workshop, Center for Creative Studies, Detroit, May 1994.

“Schemata for the Schema: 17 Notes Toward a History of the Concept,” session on “Making the Visual Visible: Current Issues in Visual Practices and Science Studies,” chaired by David Kaiser, at a joint meeting of the History of Science Society, the Society for the Social Study of Science, the Philosophy of Science Association, and the Society for the History of Technology, New Orleans, October 1994.

“Questions of Intersection: Positioning Replies to Art History, Aesthetics, and Philosophy,” session on “A Dialogue on Aesthetics: Exploring the Boundaries of Philosophy, Art History, and Aesthetics,” chaired by Peg Brand, CAA, San Antonio, February 1995.

Modi versus exempla: Notes Toward a Classification of Renaissance Perspective Methods,” in conference on “Linear Perspective—The First Century,” chaired by Jehane Kuhn, Dibner Institute for Science and Technology, MIT, May 1995.

“The Concept of Aesthetic Alienation, From an Art Historical Standpoint,” session on Jay Bernstein’s The Fate of Art, American Society for Aesthetics, St. Louis, October 1995.

Chair, session on “The Concept of the Image in the History of Science,” CAA, Boston, February 1996.

“On the Penchant for Hidden Images” and “The Puzzle Model of Meaning,” invited lecture and seminar, Duke University, fall 1995.

“The Limits of Phenomenological Criticism: Metaphors in Visual Art and Medical Illustration,” paper for symposium on “Economies of the Senses,” University of Chicago, April 1996.

“Why Don’t Art Historians Attend Aesthetics Conferences?” lecture at the American Society for Aesthetics, Montréal, October 1996.

Posted on the International Yearbook of Aesthetics, 2000, edited by Richard Woodfield.

“On the Available Principles for Comparing Chinese and Western Painting,” session on cultural comparisons chaired by Stanley Abe, CAA, 1997.

“Art History and the Limits of Phenomenology,” Colorado State University, April 1997.

“Why Simple Pictures Aren’t Interesting,” SUNY Albany, April 1997.

“The Concept of Appropriate Explanation,” author’s session, with commentary by Roald Hoffmann, Society for Literature and Science, Pittsburgh, November 1997.

Repeated at: colloquium on visual analysis, Salt Lake City, March 1998.

“Wittengstein’s Picture Theory,” invited lecture, University of South Carolina, December 1997.

“There is Nothing but the Gaze,” invited lecture, colloquium on vision, Irvine, May 1998.

Two weeks of invited lectures, Department of Art History and Theory, National Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou, China, May–June 1998.

Response to Peter Galison’s Image and Logic, Society for the Sociological Study of Science, Halifax, Nova Scotia, October 1998.

“Report on a Book on the History of People Who Have Cried in Front of Paintings,” Prague, Czech Republic (guest speaker in Petr Wittlich’s seminar), October 1999.

        Repeated at Duke University, November 2000.

“What is the Difference Between the Body’s Inside and Its Outside?” Foreign keynote speaker, International symposium on representations of the body, Nichibunken, Kyoto, January 2000.

A video of the lecture is available on the Nichibunken site.

“On the Limits of Phenomenology in Art Historical Interpretations of the Body, ” International symposium on representations of the body, Nichibunken, Kyoto, January 2000.

Repeated at the Einstein–Forum (conference “Quel corps?” co–chaired by Hans Belting), Potsdam, Germany, November 2000; University of Wisconsin at Madison, March 2001. Originally “The Inconceivable and the Unrepresentable: Skin and Membrane Metaphors from Grünewald to Sömmerring,” Columbia University Institute for Research on Women and Gender, conference on “The Material of Culture in Early Modern Europe,” chaired by Jean E. Howard, New York City, May 1994.

“Optics, Skill, and the Fear of Death,” paper presented at the N.Y.U. conference on David Hockney’s book Secret Knowledge, December 2001. Online.

 “The Unrepresentable: Concepts of the Sublime in Painting, Astrophysics, Genetics, and Particle Physics” (= “Representable and Unrepresentable: A Report on the Book Six Stories from the End of Representation”), Sofia, Bulgaria, October 1999.

Repeated at Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria; Prague, Czech Republic; and Budapest, Hungary; all October 1999; Duke University, February 2000; Gustavus Adolphus College, Minnesota, February 2000; University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, spring 2000; Rhodes College, Memphis, March 2000; Bucknell University, March 2000; Rhodes College, Memphis, April 2000; University of Pennsylvania, April 2000; University of Victoria, British Columbia, October 2000; University of Western Washington at Bellingham, October 2000; University of South Carolina at Columbia, November 2000; conference “Das Bild,” Berlin, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, November 2000; Stanford University, February 2001; University of Maryland at College Park, April 2001; Yale University, April 2001; Modern Art Museum, Ljubljana, January 2003; University of California at Santa Barbara, March 2005.

New version given at Ikon conference, University of Ulster, Belfast, May 2005; University of South Florida, Tampa, graduate student symposium, March 2008.

“How Close Can We Come to Admitting We’re Really Writing Mostly About Ourselves?” CAA session on social art history, chaired by Marc Gotlieb, Thomas Crow as respondent, February 2000.

“On the Limits of Writing the Art History of Non–Western Cultures,” invited lecture, Getty Center, March 2000.

Repeated at the Second Clark Conference, chaired by John Onians, April 2000; University of Washington at Seattle, October 2000; Duke University December 2000; and for Richard Vinograd’s seminar on Chinese painting, Stanford University, February 2001.

“How Much of the World is Behind the Times in Painting?” CIHA conference, London, 2000, session chaired by Cao Yiqiang and Craig Clunas.

Repeated at the Vancouver Art Gallery, October 2000; Bratislava, January 2003.

“Two Case Studies of the ‘Two Cultures’: Transgenic Art, and Ultramicroscopy,” invited lecture, Karlsruhe, Germany, November 2000.

Repeated at the University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study seminar and symposium on The Domain of Images, Urbana–Champaign, April 2001.

“The Most Intolerable Photos Ever Taken: A Brief History of the Chinese Photographs of lingchi,” invited lecture, “The Ethics and Aesthetics of Chinese Torture,” University of Toronto, March 2001.

Repeated at the University of Wisconsin, April 2001; Cranbrook Art Academy, November 2003. Modified versions given at the Edinburgh College of Art, c. 2004; Royal College of Art, London, spring 2004; University of Akron, September 2005; Cornell University, September 2005.

“Parallels Between Teaching Art and Music in the Baroque,” plenary lecture, Richmond VA, April 2001.

“Limits of Narrative in the Visual Arts,” invited lecture, symposium on “Narrative at the Outer Limits,” Santa Barbara, May 2001.

“Two Ways of Looking at Ceramics,” keynote speech, NCECA (ceramics conference), Kansas City, March 2002.

“What Is Visual Literacy? And Who Has It?” invited lecture, Literacy Conference, Humanities Center, Harvard University,  April 2002.

Repeated at MALBA, Buenos Aires, June 2002; Exploratorium, San Francisco, August 2002; Brown University / Rhode Island School of Design, October 2002; University of Vienna, January 2003; Guggenheim NYC, February 2003; Worcester State College, March 2003; University of Colorado, March 2003.

The Exploratorium version is here.

Talks on the Visual Literacy conference and related topics: Art School, Tartu, Estonia, May 2005.

New version, which is a report on the book Visual Practices Across the University, given at Lund, Göteborg, and Stockholm, February 2008; University of Dundee, May 2008.

“Writing About World Art: Philosophic and Political Problems,” three invited lectures, given at Mohile Parikh Centre for the Performaing Arts in Mumbai, and at the Sanskriti Foundation in Delhi, November 2003.

Revised versions repeated at University of Minnesota at Minneapolis, fall 2005; University of East Anglia, May 2006; University Stockholm, November 2006; Poznań University, November 2006; and Leiden University, November 2006.

“Why Art Historians Should Paint [or Draw],” keynote speech, National Council of Arts Administrators, Memphis, November 2003.

Repeated as the Peter Fuller Memorial lecture, Tate Modern, May 2004; symposium on painting, Guelph University, October 2004; Akademie der Künste, Berlin, June 2005; and at the University of Vienna, May 2006 (as part of a day-long workshop on drawing).

“Problems Posed for Film Theory [by scientific images],” Cinema and Technology conference, plenary, Lancaster University, May 2005.

Repeated at Medialab Prado, Madrid, May 2008.

Talks on What Happened to Art Criticism?: University of Illinois at Champaign–Urbana, c. 2003.

Repeated at the Academy of Art, Oslo, May 2005; Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, spring 2004; Northwestern University, July 2005; Universidad Iberoamericana, October 2007; Bergen, Norway, February 2008; University of Western Ontario, London, February 2008; Leuven, Belgium, May 2008.

“Two Ends of the Emblem,” plenary talk, International Society for Emblem Studies, Chicago, July 2005.

“Problems with the Project Chinese Landscape Painting as Western Art History,” and debate with Jim Cahill, University of Maryland at College Park, November 2005.

In reference to the book of that name.

“Four Models of First–Year Art Education, and Why They are Incompatible,” keynote talk, AICAD conference, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, November 2005.

Repeated at RISD, October 2006; and at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in Visual Art (headed by George Smith), Spannochia, Tuscany, May 2007.

“Issues Raised by the Critical Reception of The Object Stares Back” (= “How People, Sea Slugs, and Cameras See the World”), Longwood University, Farmville, Virginia, December 2005; University of Kent, May 2006; University of Lund, Sweden, February 2008.

Two day-long seminars on visual studies, at the European Humanities University, Vilnius, Lithuania, January 2006.

“Five Connections between Religion and Contemporary art” (= “The Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art”), University of Malta, May 2, 2006. A lecture on problems arising from the book.

Repeated at Kraków University, November 2006; Lipscomb University, Nashville, c. 2006; University of Toronto, c. 2006; Westmont College, Santa Barbara, c. 2006; MIT, April 2007; School of the Visual Arts, New York, October 2007; Biola University, Los Angeles, March 2008.

“Can Paintings [or Drawings] Think?” invited lecture, Van Eyck Academy, Maastricht, April 2006.

Repeated at a conference on drawing, Tate Britain, May 2006; at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in Visual Art (headed by George Smith), Spannocchia, Tuscany, May 2007; at the Savannah College of Art and Design, November 2008; and at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, January 2009.

“Report on a Book Written Against Barthes’s Camera lucida,” invited lecture, Rodchenko School of Photography, Moscow, June 2007.

Repeated at Michigan State University, Lansing, March 2008.

“Farewell to Visual Studies,” AAH, Belfast, spring 2007.

Repeated at the Moscow State Humanities University, June 2007; Bergen, Norway, February 2008; University of Nuevo León, Monterrey, Mexico, April 2008.

“Is Art History Global?” University of Minnesota at Minneapolis, c. 2006.

An initial version was given at the launch of TRIARC at Trinity College, Dublin, in 2005. Repeated as a plenary talk at the AAH, Belfast, spring 2007; some material repeated in Bogotá, Colombia, October 2008; University of Barcelona, May 2009; Global Art Museums conference, Hong Kong, May 2009; International Conference on Chinese Art Criticism, co-organized with Qigu Jiang, Beijing, May 2009.  A printed version is in Is Art History Global?.

“Limits of Landscape Theory,” Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, November 2007.

Discussion of the book.

Kunstwissenschaft is to Art History as Bildwissenschaft is to Visual Studies,” Institute for Art History and Musicology, University of Utrecht, November 2007.

Repeated in Bergen, Norway, February 2008; some material repeated in Bogotá, Colombia, October 2008.

“Thoughts on the Future of Art History,” Skidmore College, NY, November 2008. Undergraduate lecture.

PINC lecturer, Zeist, Holland, May 2009.

“What is an Image? Unsolved Problems,” lecture given at the Clark Art Institute and the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI), Berlin. 2012. DVD available in the ICI Kulturlabor series.

Criticisms and problem raised by the book.

Forum on art critiques at Parson’s NYC, 2011, on video here.

Selected secondary sources—articles, reviews, etc.

Robert Williams, “James Elkins,” in Art: Key Contemporary Thinkers, edited by Diarmuid Costello and Jonathan Vickery (New York: Berg / Macmillan, 2007), [   ].

Sunil Manghani, “Adventures in Subsemiotics: Towards a New ‘Object’ and Writing of Visual Culture,” Culture, Theory and Critique 44 no. 1 (2003): 23-36.