Jo Applin
  • Strand, Somerset House

    WC2R 0RN London

    United Kingdom


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Personal profile


Jo Applin is a specialist in modern and contemporary art, with a particular emphasis on American art since 1960. She studied at Essex University and UCL, where she was subsequently Henry Moore Postdoctoral Fellow. She joined The Courtauld in 2016, after eleven years teaching at the University of York. In 2008 Jo was Associate Scholar at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal, and in 2012 the recipient of a Philip Leverhulme Prize. In 2016 she was Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies, a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, and Senior Scholar at the Terra Foundation Summer Residency in Giverny.

Jo’s research addresses questions of materiality, abstraction, eccentricity, feminism, sexuality, and subjectivity. She is the author of Eccentric Objects: Rethinking Sculpture in 1960s America (Yale University Press, 2012) and Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Room-Phalli’s Field (Afterall and MIT Press, 2012), and is currently completing two further books, Not Working: Lee Lozano versus the Art World 1961-1971 (Yale University Press), which was awarded the Suzanne and James Mellor Book Prize from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C. in 2015, and London Art Worlds: Mobile, Contingent and Ephemeral Networks 1960-1980 (Penn State University Press), which she is co-editing with Catherine Spencer and Amy Tobin. She is also embarking upon a new book about ageing and abstraction in American art since 1940, and co-editing a special issue of Oxford Art Journal on feminism and domesticity, to be published in 2017.

Jo is reviews editor of Oxford Art Journal, and sits on the boards of ARTMarginsTate Papers, and the Terra-Tate Research Project Refiguring American Art 1945-1980. Jo has also published widely on contemporary art and is an active critic, writing regularly for Artforum and other publications. She has also reviewed books and exhibitions for TLS, Oxford Art JournalMapJournal of American StudiesWest 86thModernism/ModernityThe Art Book, and Sculpture Journal.

Flesh, a major loan exhibition Jo has co-curated, will open at York Art Gallery in September 2016.



  • Invited Senior Scholar, Terra Summer Residency, Giverny, France 
  • Visiting Scholar, Centre for Gender Studies, University of Cambridge, Lent Term 
  • Fellow of Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge, Lent Term 
  • Anniversary Fellowship, University of York 
  • Associate Research Fellow, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal, Canada 
  • Visiting Scholar, School of Visual Arts, University of North Texas, USA 
  • Henry Moore Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, University College London

Grants, Awards, Prizes


  • Finalist for ‘Best Exhibition Catalogue (under £1million category), Association of Cultural Enterprises


  • Paul Mellon Centore for Studies in British Art Author Grant, £2,500


  • Suzanne and James Mellor Book Prize, National Museum of Women in the Arts, $50,000 


  • Philip Leverhulme Prize, £70,000 


  • Research Award, Department of History of Art, University of York, £2600  
  • Co-PI with Prof. Michael White for Centre for Modern Studies Research StrandUniversity of York, £1000 


  • Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art Educational Programme Grant, £3000 
  • Finalist, ARIAH Online Article Prize 
  • Research Award, Department of History of Art, University of York, £1000 
  • British Art Research School conference funding, University of York, £300 
  • Centre for Modern Studies Small Project Grant, University of York, £60 
  • Centre for Modern Studies Small Project Grant, University of York, £100 
  • Centre for Modern Studies Small Project Grant, University of York, £60 


  • Pump-Priming Award, Department of History of Art, University of York, £270 


  • Henry Moore Foundation Publication Grant, £5000 
  • Pump-Priming Award, Department of History of Art, University of York, £1230 
  • Publication Grant, Department of History of Art, University of York, £400  


  • University of York Travel Grant (Anniversary Lectureship Prize), £3000 


  • Central University Pump-Priming Award, University of York, £4500 
  • Pump-Priming Award, Department of History of Art, University of York, £895  


  • Pump-Priming Award, Department of History of Art, University of York, £1500 
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Leave, £23175 


  • University of York Teaching Innovation and Development Committee Award, £4000 
  • Pump-Priming Award, Department of History of Art, University of York,  £250 


  • Royal Historical Society Conference Grant, £250 
  • College Art Association Travel Grant, $500 
  • Graduate School Student Conference Grant, UCL, £250 


  • AHRC Overseas Research Award, £5500 


  • University of London Graduate School Travel Award, £250 
  • Departmental Travel Bursary, History of Art Department, UCL, £100 


  • AHRB Competition B (fully-funded PhD) 


  • AHRB Competition A (fully-funded MA)

Other Ongoing Activities

Jo is a member of the editorial boards of Oxford Art Journal (currently also Reviews Editor), ARTMargins, and Tate Papers. She also sits on the Academic Advisory Board for the Terra Foundation/Tate Research Project Refiguring American Art 1945-1980. 

Professional Affiliations

  • Elected member of AICA (International Association of Art Critics)  
  • College Art Association 
  • Association of Art Historians


  • BA History of Art: Frameworks for Interpretation 
  • BA History of Art: Image, Object, World: American Art 1945-1975
  • BA History of Art: Art and Subjecthood: Sculpture in 1960s America 
  • MA History of Art: ‘The Sixties: Eccentric, Erotic, Psychotic’ 
  • MA History of Art: ‘A Closer Look’

Education/Academic qualification

‘The Encrypted Object: The Secret World of Sixties Sculpture’, University College, London

… → 2004

University of Essex

… → 2000

University College, London

… → 1999

External positions

University of York

2013 → …

University of York


Christie's Education


University of Delaware in London


University of Leicester


University College, London



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