Harvard College (BA, 1983), School of Visual Arts (MFA, 1987), Graduate Center of the City University of New York (PhD, 1997)

Contact details

The Courtauld Institute of Art

Somerset House


London WC2R 0RN


+44 (0)20 7848 2741 (direct line and messages)

Fax  +44 (0)20 7848 2410



Professor Mignon Nixon
Mignon Nixon studies sexuality and aggression in art since 1945, focusing in particular on questions of feminism and gender politics. She is the author of Fantastic Reality: Louise Bourgeois and a Story of Modern Art (MIT Press/October Books, 2005) and the editor of the Eva Hesse October File (MIT Press/October Files, 2002). She is a co-editor of October magazine (New York).

Research interests

Professor Nixon is currently writing a book on feminist artistic responses to the U.S. war in Vietnam. She is particularly interested in supervising research on topics in American art since 1960 involving histories and theories of feminism, subjectivity, sexuality, peace, and war.

Courses Taught in 2011-12

MA Special Option “Art and Psychoanalysis: Fifty Years of War in the Time of Peace, 1960-2010 with the psychoanalyst and theorist Juliet Mitchell, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Visiting Professor (see also ‘A Conversation with Juliet Mitchell’).

This course is conceived as a dialogue between art and psychoanalysis on questions of war protest. It focuses on art produced in response to American wars in the period after the Second World War, heralded as a time of sustained peace and prosperity after two world wars fought with the declared aim “to end all war.” Often, the wars in question—in particular the Vietnam War, the first and second Gulf Wars, and the Afghanistan War—have been portrayed as military interventions intended to preserve or restore this “post-war” condition of peace. We will use psychoanalysis to reflect upon artistic resistance to “wars of peace.” Our proposition will be that artistic responses to these war situations work to expose the unspoken, or even unconscious, motivations for war in the name of peace, and to galvanize social awareness, or raise consciousness, about the underlying trends in this mode of imperial aggression.



Recent and forthcoming Publications

“Infinity Politics,” in Yayoi Kusama, ed. Frances Morris. London: Tate Publishing, forthcoming 2012.

“Losing Louise,” October 134 (Fall 2010), pp. 122-132.

“The Undiscovered Country” (on Nira Pereg’s Kept Alive), Artforum (October 2010).

“Roni Horn,” Artforum, vol. 48, no. 1 (September 2009), pp. 282-283.

“Blood Lust,” Photoworks 11 (Autumn-Winter 2008), pp. 40-41.

“Book of Tongues,” in Nancy Spero: Dissidances. Barcelona and Madrid: Museu d’Art Contemporáni and Museu National Centro de Art Reina Sofia, 2008, pp. 21-53.

“Feminist Time: A Conversation,” Grey Room 31 (Spring 2008), pp. 33-67.

Spero’s Curses,” October 122 (Fall 2007), pp. 3-30. 

“War Inside/War Outside: Feminist Critiques and the Politics of Psychoanalysis,” Texte zur Kunst, vol. 17, no. 68 (December 2007), pp. 65-75, pp. 134-138.

“o + x,” October 119 (Winter 2007), pp. 6-20.


doctoral research projects supervised include

  • ‘Invisible Painting: Mimetic Pictorialism in Postmodern New York, 1977-1987’, PhD awarded 2006.
  • ‘Narrating the Family Romance: Passion and Power in the Work of Paula Rego, 1990-2001’, PhD awarded 2006.
  • ‘Different Girls: performances of adolescence in contemporary photographic portraits'. PhD awarded 2007.
  • ‘Women’s Collaborations in the Visual Arts (US, UK, Canada, 1970-2003)’. PhD awarded 2007.
  • ‘Touching the Dead: Performance, Testimony, Writing and Death’. PhD awarded 2007.
  • ‘The Avant-Garde as Swain? The Perpetually Outmoded and the Pastoral Attitude in the United States, 1950-1965’.
  • Framed Receptions: the Biographical Discourses of Eva Hesse and Ana Mendieta. PhD awarded 2009.
  • Walter De Maria: Art and Homage, 1960-1972. PhD awarded 2009.
  • Looking for Ethics and Eros: Theorising Performance Art in China from 1979. PhD awarded 2009.
  • The Possibility of an Island: the Adolescent Condition in Contemporary Art in New York. PhD awarded 2010.
  • Brushstrokes: Hair in the Work of Contemporary Women Artists
  • Fort Da: Unhomely Displacements in the Work of Angela Ferreira, c. 1980-2008
  • A History of A.I.R. Gallery: Feminism and the Art Institution
  • (De)Facing the 'Other': On Ethics, Identification and Economies of Metaphor and Violence in 'War' Related Artistic Practice since 1990


Feminism; Gender; Psychoanalysis; Sexuality; War; War Protest; Vietnam War; Peace.