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Dr Karen Lang

Dr Karen LangReader

Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship 2014-2017
Tel: +44 (0)24 765 23005
Email: Karen dot Lang at warwick dot ac dot uk

Millburn House
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7HS


Karen Lang taught at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of Southern California (tenure 2006) before coming to the University of Warwick in 2011. She writes on modern and contemporary art, philosophical aesthetics and the history of art history. Her book and exhibition reviews appear in Burlington Magazine, Oxford Art Journal and the TLS. She is a member of the steering committee of the Centre for Research in Philosophy, Literature and The Arts at Warwick and is active in programming with the Mead Gallery.

While serving as 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.” She has been scholar in residence at the Clark Art Institute (2001), the Getty Research Institute (2007-08) and the Ailsa Mellon Bruce Visiting Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (Summer 2016). She has been Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Warwick (Spring 2010) and Rudolf Arnheim Visiting Professor at the Humboldt University, Berlin (Summer 2015). She sits on the editorial boards 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 (2013-2018). She is a member of the international jury of the Florence Biennale.

Karen Lang is the recipient of a three-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2014-2017) for the book Philip Guston and the Allegory of Painting, which is under contract with Reaktion Books, London.

Karen Lang will be the Slade Professor at Oxford University in 2020.

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.

Cover of Das Problem der Form

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).


More information about this publication.





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

Modules taught include:

  • Introduction to Art History: the Natural World and Arts of Modernity
  • Methods in Art History
  • The Lure of the Object
  • History of Art and Interpretation

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

  • On research leave until September 2017

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 The Legacy of NeoKantiantism [The Cambridge Companion to Neokantianism], 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)

Advice and Feedback hours

Research Leave 2014-2017


Undergraduate modules
Postgraduate modules
kl.jpgKaren Lang's personal webpage
Karen Lang with Liya Chechik, Director of Education at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, Moscow. January 2017.