Dr Robert James Sutton

Personal details | Publications | Research | Teaching

Teaching Fellow in Twentieth-Century Art

Department: History of ArtDr Robert James Sutton

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2774

Email: robert.sutton@leicester.ac.uk

Office: Room 1711, Attenborough Tower

Address: School of Arts, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH

Personal details

Biography

I am a lecturer in modern and contemporary art, with particular interests in west European modernism, public art and public monuments, and socially-engaged practice in Britain and the United States. I also act as the departmental representative for outreach and widening participation, and I convene the department’s Student Staff Committee (SSC).

I joined the University of Leicester in January 2019, having previously worked at universities including Oxford Brookes, Coventry, Nottingham and York, and on the London campuses of NYU and Fordham University. I have also worked in arts institutions including Tate, the Barbican, and the National Portrait Gallery.

Qualifications

  • PhD, History of Art, University of York and Tate (AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award)
  • MA, History of Art, Courtauld Institute, University of London
  • BA Hons, History of Art, University of Sussex

Publications

Books

  • A Democratic Art? Public Art and its Publics in Post-War Britain (in progress)

Journal articles and book chapters

  • ‘Henry Moore in the 1940s’, Bill Brandt and Henry Moore: Perspectives on a Strange Country (exhibition catalogue forthcoming Yale University Press, New Haven, 2020)
  • ‘Henry Moore: Neo-Working-Classicist’, in Alexandra Bickley Trott, Leon Betsworth and Nick Lee, ed., The Working-Class Avant-Garde (forthcoming special collection for the Open Library of Humanities, 2020)
  • ‘The Monumental and the Mundane: Living with Public Art in London’s East End’, in Rob Tovey, ed., Body, Space, Object: Dialogues between Art and Dance (forthcoming Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)

Web projects

Book reviews

  • ‘The Art of Brutalism: Rescuing Hope from Catastrophe in 1950s Britain’, Sculpture Journal, forthcoming
  • ‘The Everyday Practice of Public Art and The Companion to Public Art’, Sculpture Journal, Vol. 26, Issue 1 (2017)
  • ‘From the Spanish Civil War to the ‘Nuclear Age’, Art History, Vol. 38, Iss. 5 (November 2015)

Research

My current research focuses on the public art strategies developed in London and its surrounding counties immediately after the Second World War. I am exploring the extent to which the public commissions and resulting public artworks of these years fulfilled the democratising ambitions of the post-war Labour government, as I seek to reassess the ‘public’-ness of these works with respect to the burgeoning field of contemporary public art criticism.

This project grew out of my doctoral research into Henry Moore’s public works for educational institutions in the 1940s, completed as part of the Tate online research project Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity. ­Since the completion of my doctorate, I have presented widely on Moore and on the public art practices of post-war Britain at institutions including the Paul Mellon Centre for British Studies, the Henry Moore Institute, and the Henry Moore Foundation, and at the Association for Art History’s annual conference in 2013 on a session co-convened with Dr Alice Correia that formed part of the Tate research project.

Having held a number of professional positions outside of academia, I also maintain an active interest in curatorial research and public engagement. Recently, I participated in the development of a research project exploring the parallel careers of Henry Moore and Bill Brandt towards an exhibition to be staged at the Yale Center for British Art and the Hepworth Wakefield in 2020, and was on the steering panel for the Tate Britain display The Bauhaus and Britain (June – November 2019) curated by Dr Rachel Rose Smith.

Teaching

I convene and teach on the following courses:

  • HA1113 and HA1313 Introduction to the History of Art II (co-taught)
  • HA2218 Modernity & Tradition
  • HA2219 and HA2319 Documents of the History of Art
  • HA3024 Public Art and Monuments since 1918
  • HA3027 Art since 1945
  • HA3321 International Art Market (co-taught)

And I contribute to teaching on the following courses:

  • HA1117 Materials & Objects

I also convene the undergraduate dissertation module and supervise dissertations on subjects related to 20th and 21st century art.

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