Dr Theo Gordon - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Dr Theo Gordon

Search for:

Dr Theo Gordon

Teaching Assistant

I am an art historian, specialising in modern and contemporary art. I completed my PhD at The Courtauld Institute in 2018, with the title, ‘Sex and Violence: A New Psychoanalysis of Art of the American AIDS Crisis’, supervised by Professor Mignon Nixon. I was employed as a Teaching Fellow in Art History at the University of Sussex for 2018-19.

My research focusses on art since 1980, particularly of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and queer art history. This year I am researching Ecstatic Antibodies: Resisting the AIDS Mythology, a 1990 UK exhibition in response to the AIDS crisis curated by Tessa Boffin and Sunil Gupta. I am also programming a collaborative project in the Research Forum, ‘Art History in Climate Change’. Across a series of events this project will consider a number of issues, to include: how climate activist movements mobilise visual culture; the depiction of climate activism and figures such as Greta Thunberg in the mass media; representations of climate and discreet climate events across the history of art, in relation to transnational flows of labour and trade in colonial and post-colonial worlds; and the methodological stakes of art historical research in the climate crisis.


  • 2014-18: PhD History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art, ‘Sex and Violence: A New Psychoanalysis of Art of the American AIDS Crisis’.
  • 2013-14: MA History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art, special option: ‘Sex and Violence in American Art since 1960’, with Professor Mignon Nixon.
  • 2009-12: BA English, University College London.

Public Facing Presentations

  • ‘Bodies on the Line: Queer Innovations in Photography and Video, 1988-1994’ (‘“Non-Normative Bodies” and Desire in Contemporary Art and Culture’, Universität Tübingen, Germany, July 12-13th 2019)
  • Guided tour of feminist/queer/HIV&AIDS art and activist sites in Brixton and Clapham (Studio Voltaire Gallery, London, UK, August 25th 2018)
  • ‘Fringe! – We’ll Never be Silent Again + Q&A’ (Invited Panel Member, Curzon Soho, London, UK, April 11th 2018)
  • ‘Close to the Knives: Art, Activism and HIV/AIDS’ (Convenor and Panel Member, The Courtauld Institute of Art, UK, December 1st 2016)
  • ‘Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes: Cultural perspectives on flesh from the 1980s to now’ (Invited Speaker, David Roberts Art Foundation, UK, November 19th 2016) 
  • ‘Discourses of AIDS’ (Invited Speaker, Queer Space Research Forum, University College London, UK, November 1st 2016)


Recent Conference Papers

  • ‘A Case of Parapraxis’ (‘Para-Tactics’, UCL, UK, June 15th 2019)
  • ‘Queer Theory’s Violence’ (Association for Art History Conference, University of Brighton/Sussex, April 4th-6th 2019)
  • ‘AIDS, Video, and the Rhetoric of Activist Presence’ (Art History Research Seminar series, University of Sussex, UK, December 4th 2018)
  • ‘Overlooking the Invisible: Videos on Women with AIDS’ (Art of the Invisible Conference, The Courtauld Institute of Art, UK, October 19th 2018)
  • ‘“Can You See My Roots?” – Questioning the “radical” in queer theory’ (Imagine Queer Conference, Newcastle University, UK, October 12-13th 2018)




Research interests

  • Sexuality
  • Gender and feminism
  • Queer theories and art histories
  • Art and activism
  • Cultural theory, especially psychoanalysis.



Share This

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Close