St Peter's People

Dr John R. Blakinger

Stipendiary Lecturer in the History of Art

I study the history, theory, and criticism of modern and contemporary art. I first joined the University of Oxford as the 2018-2019 Terra Foundation Visiting Professor of American Art and am currently Departmental Lecturer in the History of Art. My research and teaching consider relationships between art, science, and technology; globalization and networks of exchange; media, design, and visual culture; and connections between activism and issues of race, gender, and sexuality. I completed my PhD at Stanford University.


My book Gyorgy Kepes: Undreaming the Bauhaus was published by The MIT Press in June 2019. It is the first monograph in English on the artist, designer, and visual theorist Gyorgy Kepes, who pioneered interdisciplinary relationships between art and science as MIT’s first tenured artist. My book explores the entanglement of the visual arts with military power during the Cold War through Kepes’s unusual projects.

My writing has also appeared in peer-reviewed journals, including Tate Papers, CAA Reviews, and Design Issues, as well as edited volumes. A book on art and camouflage was published in French translation by Éditions B2 in 2014.

Other recent projects include a chapter on the politics of arts education in the mid-twentieth century, forthcoming in Modern in the Making: MoMA and the Modern Experiment 1929-1949 (Bloomsbury, 2019); and a chapter on the environmental designs at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies in the late 1960s and early 1970s, forthcoming in Radical Pedagogies (Sternberg Press, 2020). I am also now working on two new book projects.


I have taught art history at Stanford University, the University of Southern California, and here at Oxford. My undergraduate courses have examined American art, modern art, contemporary art, and topics like museum activism, protest art, new media, and the politics of aesthetics. I also teach core courses in methodology and approaches to the history of art.

Featured Publication

Gyorgy Kepes: Undreaming the Bauhaus (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press), 2019.