Who’s Who: Kim Charnley

Who are you and what do you do at the OU? What modules are you involved in?

I’m Kim Charnley, and I am a Staff Tutor in Art History. This means that I support Associate Lecturers overseeing the day-to-day delivery of modules, alongside my duties which are located within the Art History Department. At present I manage the MA in Art History (A843 and A844) and a level one module (A111). I joined the Open University in October 2019, and I am enjoying it immensely so far!  

What got you interested in Art History?

I first became interested in Art History when I studied painting at art school. I wanted to understand why painting was considered, by some artists and critics, no longer relevant to contemporary experience. As I learned more about this debate, I became increasingly interested in conceptual and post-conceptual art, especially in art works that do not seem to have any basis in traditional artistic skills. Although I continue to enjoy all kinds of art, I study avant-gardes that challenge basic assumptions about what an art work is.

What are your main research areas?

My research focuses on conceptual art, institutional critique and art activism. These socio-political art strategies emerged in the 1960s, but they are still very widespread in contemporary art, especially so since the turn of the millennium. They present interesting questions about the relationship between art and life, and the purpose that art serves in our society, especially its relationship to politics.

What is your most significant publication or latest publication?

In 2017, I edited and provided an introduction for a book of essays by the artist and theorist Gregory Sholette, called Delirium and Resistance: Activist Art and the Crisis of Capitalism. Sholette’s essays provide an interesting perspective on art collectives and other activist strategies and their interaction with social and political change over the last forty years.   

Delirium and Resistance Activist Art and the Crisis of Capitalism

For more information about my publications and research interests, please see my OU people profile.

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