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Diarmuid Costello


Current Research

My research draws on both analytic and continental approaches to aesthetics and the philosophy of art, and is informed by recent debates in art history and theory. Recently, it has focused on two main goals:

1. To defuse antipathy to aesthetics in art theory by showing that kinds of art typically thought challenging to aesthetics can be accommodated by a sufficiently rich aesthetic theory. To this end I have drawn on the neglected semantic potential of Kant's supposedly formalist theory of art, and endeavoured to show that a variety of supposedly anti-aesthetic artforms can be accommodated by the resulting aesthetic theory.

2. To contest widespread assumptions in the philosophy of photography regarding the nature of photography, particularly as an artistic medium, in part by showing that it is predicated on a narrow diet of examples that distorts philosophers' understanding of the field, and in part by developing an alternative conception of photographic agency. The former draws on resources in art history, the latter on the philosophy of action.

I am currently working on two books, each associated with one of these goals: 'Art after Aesthetics? A Critique of Theories of Art after Modernism' and 'On Photography'. Both involve substantive engagement with recent art. Artists whose work has been important for these projects and also figures in the publications below include: Brian Barry, Lawrence Weiner, Art & Language, Sol LeWitt, Adrian Piper, Richard Long; James Welling, Jeff Wall, James Coleman, Thomas Ruff, Rineke Dijkstra, Lee Friedlander, Ed Ruscha; Gerhard Richter, Chuck Close, William Kentridge, and Phillip Guston.


Academic Biography

From 2004-2012 I was a member of the British Society of Aesthetics executive committee, from 2008-12 as Chair of the Society. I have been a Leverhulme Senior Research Fellow, 2004-5, and Humboldt Experienced Researcher at the Institut für Philosophie, Goethe Universität, Frankfurt, 2012-13. From 2007-11 I was Co-Director, with Margaret Iversen (Dept of Art History & Theory, University of Essex), of the AHRC research project, ‘Aesthetics after Photography.' There have been three special journal issues, various publications and conferences, and an exhibition associated with this project. I have been a member of the AHRC's Peer Review College since 2010.

I am happy to consider applications from PhD students wishing to work on projects related to any area of my research.


Work in Progress

I am currently working on two monographs:

1. On Photography

2. 'Art after Aesthetics? A Critique of Theories of Art after Modernism


Publications


1. Edited Collections and Special Journal Issues

'Agency and Automatism: Photography as Art since the 1960s', a special issue of Critical Inquiry. Co-edited with Margaret Iversen and Joel Snyder, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Summer 2012): here
An expanded book version is in preparation for Chicago.

'The Media of Photography', a special issue of The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. Co-edited with Dominic McIver Lopes, Vol. 70, No. 1 (Winter 2012): here
Also published in book form by Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

‘Photography after Conceptual Art’, a special issue of Art History. Co-edited with Margaret Iversen, Vol. 32. No. 5 (Dec 2009): here
Also published in book form by Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

The Life and Death of Images: Ethics and Aesthetics. Co-edited with Dominic Willsdon, London: Tate Publishing and Cornell UP, 2008: here


2. Journal Articles:

'Spontaneity and Materiality: What Photography Is in the Photography of James Welling' (co-authored with Dominic McIver Lopes). Under review.

'"But I am killing them!" Reply to Palermo and Baetens on Agency and Automatism', Critical Inquiry, 41:1, Fall 2014.

"Action and Automatism" in NONsite, Issue 11: Photography and Philosophy (Winter 2013/14)

'Kant and the Problem of Strong Non-Perceptual Art,' in The British Journal of Aesthetics, 53:3 July 2013.

'Photography between Art History and Philosophy' (co-authored with Margaret Iversen) in Critical Inquiry 38:4 Summer 2012.


Reprinted in: Raphael Pirenne and Alexander Streitberger (eds.) Heterogeneous Objects: Intermedia and Photography after Modernism, Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2013.

'The Question Concerning Photography', The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 70:1 Winter 2012.

'Photography after Conceptual Art’ (co-authored with Margaret Iversen) in Art History, 32:5, Dec 2009; pp. 825-835.
 
'Automatism, Causality and Realism: Foundational Problems in the Philosophy of Photography' (co-authored with Dawn Phillips), Philosophy Compass 4:1, 2009, pp. 1-21.

'Pictures, Again,’ Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, 8:1, 2008, pp. 11-42.
 
Reprinted in: Sunil Manghani (ed.) Images: Critical and Primary Sources, London: Bloomsbury, 2013.

'Whatever Happened to "Embodiment?:" The Eclipse of Materiality in Danto's Ontology of Art,’ Angelaki, 12:2, 2007; pp. 83-94: here

Translated as: 'Cosa mai è successo all'"incorporazione"? L'eclisse della materialità nell'ontologia dell'arte di Danto', a special issue of Rivista di Estetica 'Artworld & Artwork: Arthur C. Danto e l'ontologia dellarte' ed. Tiziana Andina e Alessandro Lancieri, 35:2, 2007; pp. 113-128.

Greenberg’s Kant, and the Fate of Aesthetics in Contemporary Art Theory,’ The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 65: 2, Spring 2007; pp. 217-228.

Translated as: 'Kant Podle Greenberga, Aneb Osud Estetiky V Soucasné Teorii Umení' in Sesit pro Umení, Teorii a Príbuzné Zony (Notebook for Art, Theory and Related Zones, No. 6-7, 2009), Yearbook of the Academic Research Centre of the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague; pp. 44-66.

On Late Style: Arthur Danto’s The Abuse of Beauty,’ British Journal of Aesthetics, 44:4, October 2004; pp. 424-439.

'Lyotard’s Modernism' in 'To Jean-François Lyotard,' special issue of Parallax (17); October 2000; pp. 76-87: here.


3. Papers in Collections/Books:

'Xenophobia, Stereotypes and Empirical Acculturation: Neo-Kantianism in Adrian Piper's Conceptual Art,' forthcoming.

'Doing Justice to the Art in Photography,' forthcoming in Dominic McIver Lopes, Four Arts of Photography, Wiley-Blackwell, 2016.

'Leaning into the Wind: Poiesis in Richard Long' in Aron Vinegar and Amanda Boetzkes (eds.) Heidegger and the Work of Art History, Ashgate 2014; pp. 141-169.

'Kant, l'opera d'arte, l'immagine' in Daniele Guastini, Dario Cecchi, Alessandra Campo (eds.) Alla fine delle cose: Contributi a una storia critica delle immagini, Firenze: VoLo, 2011; pp. 109-122.

Retrieving Kant’s Aesthetics for Art Theory after Greenberg: Some Remarks on Arthur C. Danto and Thierry de Duve’ in Francis Halsall, Julia Jansen and Tony O’Connor (eds.) Re-Discovering Aesthetics, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009; pp. 117-132.

Kant and Danto, Together at Last?’ in Kathleen Stock and Katherine Thomson-Jones (eds.) New Waves in Aesthetics, Palgrave MacMillan, 2008; pp. 244-266.
 
Reprinted in Mark Rollins (ed.) Danto and his Critics, 2nd Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, 2012; pp. 153-171.
 
'Kant after LeWitt: Towards an Aesthetics of Conceptual Art' in Peter Goldie and Elisabeth Schellekens (eds.) Philosophy and Conceptual Art, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007; pp. 92-115.
 
'After Medium-Specificity chez Fried: Jeff Wall as a Painter, Gerhard Richter as a Photographer' in Photography Theory, ed. James Elkins, London: Routledge, 2007; pp. 75-89: here.
 
‘Overcoming Postmodernism’ in Art History versus Aesthetics, ed. James Elkins, London: Routledge, 2006; pp. 92-98: here.
 
‘Intención e interpretación: aporías de la crítica a la Teoría Estética de Danto’ (‘Intention and Interpretation: Aporias in Danto’s Critique of Aesthetic Theory’) in Francisca Pérez Carreño (ed.) Estética después del fin del arte. Ensayos sobre Arthur Danto, Madrid: Antonio Machado, 2005; pp. 233-256: here.
 
Aura, Face, Photography: Re-reading Benjamin Today,’ in Andrew Benjamin (ed.) Walter Benjamin and Art, NYC/London: Continuum, 2005; pp. 164-184.

Translated as: 'Aura, Rostro, Fotografía: releer a Benjamin hoy' in Alejandra Uslenghi (comp.) Walter Benjamin: Culturas de la Imagen. Buenos Aires: Eterna Cadencia Editora, 2010; pp. 99-140.
 
‘“Making Sense” of Nonsense: Conant and Diamond Read Wittgenstein’s Tractatus’ in Barry Stocker (ed.), Post-Analytic Tractatus: A Reader, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004; pp. 99-125.
 
‘Museum as Work in the Age of Technological Display’ in Dana Arnold and Margaret Iversen (eds.), Art and Thought, Oxford: Blackwell, 2003; pp. 174-196: here.
 
Translated as: 'Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Ausstellbarkeit' in Dorothea von Hantelmann and Carolin Meister (eds.) Die Ausstellung: Politik Eines Rituals Berlin: Diaphanes, 2010; pp. 161-189: here


4. Curatorial Projects:

"The Knight's Tour:" James Welling and the Space of Photographic Possibility, Curated by Diarmuid Costello in collaboration with James Welling, 2016/7: in development.

Hannah Starkey: Twenty-Nine Pictures, Curated by Diarmuid Costello, Mead Gallery, University of Warwick: 14 January-12 March 2011: see Daily Telegraph and Independent


5. Exhibition Catalogues:

Painting through Photography, Photography through Painting: Some Thoughts on Chuck Close's Contrarian Modernism' in Chuck Close: Family & Others, London: White Cube, 10 Oct- 17 Nov 2007, and The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, 2008; pp. 49-54: see White Cube London and The State Hermitage St. Petersburg

Hannah Starkey: Twenty-Nine Pictures, Mead Gallery, University of Warwick, 2011: 88pp catalogue published by Mead Gallery and Maureen Paley, London with contributions by Diarmuid Costello and Margaret Iversen.

DC


selfportrait


Email

D.Costello@warwick.ac.uk

 

Undergraduate Modules

Aesthetics: Art, Beauty and the Sublime

Philosophy of Photography

 

Graduate Modules

Kant's Aesthetics

 


Office

S2.47


Office Hour

Term 1, 2015/6: Tues 11-12pm

Links

British Society of Aesthetics


photography after conceptual art cover


D.Costello/D.Willsdon (eds) The Life and Death of Images: Ethics & Aesthetics, Tate/Cornell 2008



D.Costello/J.P.Vickery (eds) Art: Key Contemporary Thinkers, Berg 2007



Rediscovering Aesthetics