Ed Krčma
  • 0.24 Sainsbury Centre

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Any projects close to my current research interests.

Personal profile

Key Research Interests

I work on art since 1945, focusing especially on that made in Europe and the United States in the 1950s and ‘60s, and on contemporary practice in Britain and elsewhere. I am particularly interested in questions about art’s involvement with (and distance from) the conditions of everyday life; in the image/text dialogue and how this relates to forms of thinking; and in the history and theory of drawing, especially as it connects with other forms and practices, such as writing, film, sculpture, and the mass media. My first monograph, published by Yale University Press in 2017, explored the extraordinary solvent transfer drawings that Robert Rauschenberg made after Dante’s Inferno, 1958-60.

I joined the Department of Art History and World Art Studies at UEA in 2015 and am now Associate Professor here. For the previous seven years I was Lecturer in History of Art at University College Cork, Ireland, and prior to that taught at University College London, University of York, and Camberwell College of Art and Design. My PhD was awarded by University College London in 2007, and was written under the supervision of Prof. Briony Fer. I have also curated exhibitions of contemporary art, and have worked as an editor and art critic.

My scholarly essays – on artists ranging from Wols, Eva Hesse, and Robert Rauschenberg, to Tacita Dean, Vivienne Koorland, and Pavel Büchler – have been pubished in journals such as Art History, Oxford Art Journal, The Burlington Magazine, Master Drawings, and Umění/Art, and in exhibition catalogues for institutions including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Tate Modern (London), the National Gallery of Ireland (Dublin), and the Fruitmarket Gallery (Edinburgh). I currently have articles and essays forthcoming in American Art (Fall 2023) and for the Moravian Gallery (Brno, Czech Republic). I am also at work exploring the medieval/contemporary relationshp further in a major exhibition project, The Rule: Shaping Lives, Medieval and Modern, to be staged at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in 2025 (curated with Dr. Jessica Barker, Courtauld Institute), and am at work on a book project concerning the idea of ‘compression’ in contemporary art.

I am particularly attracted to the idea of art as a form of thought at a moment when the value of thinking is threatened by an obsessive reliance upon measurement and quantification. An artwork might be said to constitute a kind of thinking from which the body – sensate, more or less intense, vulnerable, and porous – has not been cut away, and this idea points the way to both critical and affirming capacities for art in our world. In this I am especially interested in art’s relationships of interdependence and autonomy as regards the broader conditions of everyday life, a life still largely structured by the priorities of capitalist political economy. I continue to feel that art is largely an arena of reflection rather than of direct action, often addressed to pressing ethical, social and political problems, but without relying upon familiar means or claiming to be in a position to deliver the solution. In this I aim to write in support of the density, range, openness and critical intelligence of art.

I tend to work by moving outwards from a close engagement with the work itself, and am attracted to ideas and methods drawn from phenomenology, psychoanalysis, and critical theory, not least for their insistence upon the yield of attending closely to the specific, particular aspects of works, texts, personal experiences, or social structures. In this I have gained a huge amount from my longstanding working relationships with artists, whose perspectives and insights I have valued enormously.

Academic Background

B.A. History of Art, Nottingham University, 2000

M.A. History of Art, University College London, 2002

Ph.D. History of Art, University College London, 2007

Administrative Posts

Head of Department, Art History and World Art Studies, July 2021-present

Departmental Research Coordinator, September 2019-June 2021

Unit of Assessment Coordinator, Art History and World Art Studies, September 2016-July 2018

Acting Head of Department, Art History and World Art Studies, autumn 2017

Teaching Interests

Teaching Interests:

American art after 1945

European art after 1945

History and Theory of Drawing

Contemporary art

The relationship between art, theory and philosophy in the 20th and 21st centuries


Phd Supervision: 

Ed is currently primary supervisor for the following PhD projects:

Georgia Kelly, Sep 2022-Present, 'Isabel Rawsthorne and the Subject of Portraiture (provisional title)', UEA Faculty Studentship

Ben Street, Jan 2020-Present, ‘Philip Guston's Pantheon: Painting as Art-Historical Practice’

Sarah Kelleher (based University College Cork), Irish Research Council funded. Sculpture's Metamorphoses: A study of the work of Maud Cotter, Dorothy Cross and Alice Maher since 2000'

Marta Colombo (based at the University of Kent), CHASE funded. Theatricality and Interactivity in the work of Alik Cavaliere


Completed PhDs (primary supervisor):

Grace Thompson, Oct 2018-Present, CHASE funded. ‘Generating a Democratic Void: The Tate Turbine Hall Series and Its Public Spheres’ (UEA, Fully funded by AHRC)

Rachel Warriner: 'Nancy Spero: Pain and Politics, 1966-1976' (UCC, Fully funded by the Irish Research Council)

Kirstie North: ‘Pedem Referens: Art Historical Memory and the Analogue in the Work of Tacita Dean, Jeremy Millar and Lucy Skaer’ (UCC)


Ed welcomes PhD proposals on subjects close to his current research interests. Please feel free to contact him directly for an initial discussion about potential PhD projects.

Areas of Expertise

modern and contemporary art

Robert Rauschenberg and American art in the 50s and 60s

history and theory of drawing

art theory

visual art and literature

Education/Academic qualification

Unknown, Doctor of Philosophy, University College London


Award Date: 30 Nov 2007

Unknown, Master of Arts, University College London


Award Date: 1 Nov 2002

Unknown, Bachelor of Arts, University of Nottingham


Award Date: 1 Jul 2000


  • Visual arts
  • Drawing
  • Modern Art
  • Contemporary Art
  • Robert Rauschenberg
  • Eva Hesse
  • Wols
  • Tacita Dean
  • Henri Matisse
  • Dante Drawings
  • Cinematic Drawing
  • Pavel Büchler
  • Andrea Büttner
  • Susan Morris
  • Alison Turnbull
  • William Kentridge
  • Vivienne Koorland
  • British Art
  • American Art
  • Marcel Broodthaers