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Dr Alyce Mahon

Reader in Modern and Contemporary Art History


Instagram: #alycemahon

Phone: 01223 765132


Director of Graduate Studies in History of Art

Equality & Diversity Representative, Dept. History of Art

Fellow in History of Art, Trinity College

Research Interests

Alyce Mahon studied the History of Art & Architecture and Modern English at Trinity College Dublin, did her PhD (1999) at the Courtauld Institute of Art London, and was appointed University Lecturer at Cambridge, and a Fellow of Trinity College, in 2000.

She is a specialist in Surrealism and its legacies, Modern and Contemporary Art and Theory, as well as the history of Erotic Art from the Enlightenment to the present.

Her publications include the monographs Surrealism and the Politics of Eros (Thames & Hudson, 2005); Eroticism and Art (Oxford University Press, 2005 and 2007); and The Marquis de Sade and the Avant-Garde (Princeton University Press, 2020); Jean Jacques Lebel: Barricades, co-authored with Axel Heil and Robert Fleck, Köln: Walther König, 2014; and numerous critical essays on figures of the international avant-garde – Helena Almeida, Hans Bellmer, Leonora Carrington, Ithell Colquhoun, Leonor Fini, Frida Kahlo, Pierre Klossowski, Jean-Jacques Lebel, André Masson and Roberto Matta, Pierre Molinier, Carolee Schneemann.

Mahon curated Dorothea Tanning, Behind the Door Another Door, the first major retrospective of American Surrealist Tanning (1910-2012), for the Reina Sofia Madrid and the Tate Modern, London (2018-2019), and was the curatorial advisor for Leonor Fini; Theatre of Desire 1930-1990, the first major exhibition of Fini in the United States, at the Museum of Sex, New York (2018-19).

She has contributed to the accompanying catalogues for, and often acted as curatorial advisor to, major exhibitions on modern and contemporary art, including, Jean-Jacques Lebel, L’Outrepasseur (Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2018), Couples Modernes (Centre Pompidou-Metz, & Barbican Gallery London, 2018), Dreamers Awake (White Cube Bermondsey, London, 2017), No Place Like Home (Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2017), Silent Partners: Artist and Mannequin from Function to Fetish (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge 2014 & Musée Bourdelle, Paris, 2015 ), The Institute of Sexology (Wellcome Collection, London, 2014), Le Surréalisme et l’objet (Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2013), Leonora Carrington (Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2013), Matta. Fiktionen (Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg 2012), and Donna: Avanguardia femminista negli anni ’70 (Galleria nazionale d'arte moderna, Rome, 2010).



At undergraduate level, Mahon teaches a Part II option The Poetics & Politics of Surrealism which addresses the long history of Surrealism (1924-69) as well as its impact on the counter-culture and its legacy in contemporary art. She convenes, and contributes lectures and seminars on modern and contemporary art to core BA papers including Part I 'Paper 1: Objects' and 'Paper 2/3: The Making of Art' , and Part IIB 'The Display of Art: The Politics of Display'. She also contributes lectures to the core, team led paper 'Approaches to the History of Art'. At graduate level, Mahon supervises students and teaches on the team taught MPhil degree in the Department of History of Art. Dr Mahon welcomes enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in fields related to her specialisms - notably dada, Surrealism, performance art, and contemporary feminist art practice in Europe and the United States.

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lgbtQ+@cam is an initiative launched in 2018 to promote interdisciplinary research, outreach and network building related to queer, trans and sexuality studies at the University of Cambridge.

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