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Professor Karen Lang

Dr Karen LangProfessor

Tel: +44 (0)24 765 23005
Email: Karen dot Lang at warwick dot ac dot uk

Millburn House
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7HS


Before she moved to Warwick in 2011 Karen Lang taught at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and University of Southern California (tenure 2006). She has published widely on modern and contemporary art, philosophical aesthetics and the history of art history. Her book and exhibition reviews have appeared in Burlington Magazine, Oxford Art Journal and the TLS. While editor-in-chief of The Art Bulletin, the leading peer-review journal of international art history (2010-2013), she launched three new features: “Regarding Art History,” “Notes from the Field" and “Interview.” At Warwick Karen helps steer the Centre for Research in Philosophy, Literature and The Arts and is active in programming with the Mead Gallery. She has been appointed to the international jury of the Florence Biennale.

Karen's research has attracted residential awards from the Clark Art Institute, the Getty Research Institute and the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. She has been Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Warwick and Rudolf Arnheim Visiting Professor at Humboldt University, Berlin. She is a member of the editorial board of The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (Oxford University Press) and Walter Benjamin Studies (Bloomsbury Press). Appointed by the German Ministry for Education and Research, she serves as Deputy Chair of the Advisory Board to the international research group Bilderfahrzeuge: Warburg’s Legacy and the Future of Iconology (2013-2023).

Karen received a three-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2014-2017) for the book Philip Guston and the Allegory of Painting, which is forthcoming from Reaktion Books, London.

In 2019-2020 she will be the Slade Professor at the University of Oxford.

Research Interests

Modern German art and aesthetic theory; the history of art history; monuments, ruins and the art of commemoration; postwar American art. Further Information

Teaching and Supervision

Karen Lang would be pleased to consider postgraduate research proposals in modern German art, postwar American art, philosophical aesethetics and the history of art history.

Administrative Roles

  • Director of Graduate Studies
  • Steering Committee, Centre for Research in Philosophy, Literature and the Arts

Select Publications

  • Chaos and Cosmos: On the Image in Aesthetics and Art History (Cornell University Press, October 2006).
  • “Simmel’s Rembrandt and The View of Life,” in New Approaches to New-Kantiantism, eds. Nicolas de Warren and Andrea Staiti (Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp 186-202.
  • “Walter Benjamin’s Allegory as a Problem of Form, in Three Parts,” in Das Problem der Form. Inferenzen zwischen moderner Kunst und Kunstwissenschaft, eds., Hans Aurenhammer and Regine Prange (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 2016), pp. 43-57.
  • “Ruins,” The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, ed. Michael Kelly (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2nd ed., 2014), vol. 5, pp. 429-433.
  • “’The Sense of the Past and the Writing of History.’ Stephen Bann in Conversation with Karen Lang,” The Art Bulletin, XCV, no. 4 (December 2013), 544-556.
  • “Eric Fischl’s Tumbling Woman, 9/11 and ‘timeless time,’” Future Anterior: Journal of Historic Preservation, Theory and Criticism, special issue, “Rethinking the Monument” (Winter 2011): 20-35.
  • “Richter’s Painting, Richter’s Hope,” in Gerhard Richter: Early Work, 1951-1972, ed. Christine Mehring, Jeanne Anne Nugent, and Jon Seydl (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2011), 156-163.

  • "The Dialectics of Decay: Rereading the Kantian Subject," The Art Bulletin, LXXIX, no. 3 (September 1997): 413-439.
    Distinguished by the US College Art Association as one of thirty-two ‘landmark articles’ published in The Art Bulletin during its first centenary.

  • "Monumental Unease: Monuments and the Making of National Identity in Germany," in Imagining Modern German Culture: 1889-1910, ed. Françoise Forster-Hahn. Studies in the History of Art, 53 (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1996), 274-299.

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  • BA, MA (California: Riverside)
  • PhD (California: Los Angeles)

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Undergraduate modules
  • Exhibiting the Contemporary
  • Art and Culture of the Sixties
  • The Lure of the Object
  • Art History and Interpretation

Karen Lang recently joined the editorial board of Arts, an international, peer-reviewed open access journal which provides a forum for scholarly exploration of the visual arts, music, performance, applied and popular arts and technology.


Karen Lang with Liya Chechik, Director of Education at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, Moscow. January 2017.

Lecture, Moscow, 26 January 2017.

'The German Past and the Painter's Hope: Gerhard Richter at the Jewish Museum in Moscow' --the first exhibiton of Gerhard Richter in Russia.

Publication, 2016.

The book chapter "Walter Benjamin's Allegory as a Problem of Form, in Three Parts" has appeared in Das Problem der Form (Berlin, Gebr. Mann Verlag, 2016).Cover of Das Problem der Form

 More information about this publication.