Mark A. Cheetham

University College, Room 241, 15 King's College Circle, Toronto ON M5S 3H7



University College

Fields of Study


My research centres on artwriting and visual culture from the mid 18th century to the present in Britain, Europe, the USA and Canada. I have written books and articles on the history, theory, and current practice of abstract art, the reception of Immanuel Kant’s thinking in the visual arts and the discipline of art history, on art historical methodology, on ecological art, and on recent art in Canada and internationally. The historiography and methodology of art history and the field of Visual Culture Studies are ongoing research interests, as is contemporary art in Canada and abroad, from both curatorial and academic perspectives.

My current research is in three areas: contemporary ecological art, the practices of Ecocritical Art History, the use of analogy in art history and museums (published as a guest-edited issue of the journal  in 2023), and the image cultures of 19th-century Arctic voyaging from the Anglosphere (part of a co-curated exhibition forthcoming at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library). I co-convened the Jackman Humanities Institute Working Group on visual cultures of the circumpolar north in 2021-23.

Selected Publications

  • Analogical Practices in the Global Artworld: Text / Image / Cliché / Insight. Mark A. Cheetham, Hana Nikčević, editors. Word & Image special issue (39.3 September 2023).
  • Landscape into Eco Art: Articulations of Nature since the ‘60s. Penn State UP. 2018.
  • Artwriting, Nation, and Cosmopolitanism in Britain: The “Englishness” of English Art Theory since the 18th Century. Routledge: British Art: Global Contexts series. 2012.
  • Remembering Postmodernism: Trends in Canadian Art, 1970–1990. Second, revised ed. OUP, 2012
  • Abstract Art Against Autonomy: Infection, Resistance, and Cure since the ’60s. Cambridge UP, 2006.
  • Kant, Art, and Art History: Moments of Discipline. Cambridge UP, 2001. [Paperback ed., CUP, Feb. 2009; Chinese trans., Nanjing: Jiangsu Fine Arts Publishing House, 2010.]

Selected Presentations

  • “Thawing Arctic Circuits: Icebergs in London / Snow Sculptures in Nunavut,” Symposium, The Arctic throughout History: Visual and Cultural Conceptions, New York Public Library, April 2024.
  • “The Incommensurability of Arctic Sublimity: Environmental Stereotypes and the Specificity of the Sublime.” Jena, Germany: EVOKING THE INCOMMENSURABLE – PAINTING THE SUBLIME. International Conference 26-28 July 2023.
  • “An Ecology of Landscape.” LE PAYSAGE, entre matière et esprit, culture matérielle et culture immatérielle. 7 & 8 JUIN 2023 UNIVERSITÉ DE LILLE MUSÉE DU LOUVRE-LENS
  • Keynote address: “Art in Canada, but not Canadian Art”. The Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art, Concordia U., March 2023.
  • Keynote address: “Performance in Landscape, Land Art, and Ecological Art.” Performing Landscapes Conference, Copenhagen International Theatre / Metropolis (Denmark), January 2023.
  • Plenary address. Conference "Uncertain landscapes: representations and practices of space in the age of the Anthropocene.” Maison Interuniversitaire des Sciences de l’Homme – Alsace. Université de Strasbourg. Oct. 2022

Honours, Awards and Grants

  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow, 1994
  • Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching, Western University, 1998
  • The Northrop Frye Award, “Recognizing the important link between Teaching and Research at the University of Toronto," 2006.
  • Art Journal Award from the College Art Association of America, 2006
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Humanities Division. Elected 2008
  • The Curatorial Writing Award (juried) for Essay (Long), Ontario Association of Art Galleries, 2008
  • SSHRCC Standard Research Grant, "Natural anxieties: EcoArt and the future of nature," 2009-12
  • Exhibition of the Year Award (juried), from the Ontario Association of Art Galleries for 'Jack Chambers: the light from the darkness, silver paintings and film work.' Co-curator with Ihor Holubizky, 2011
  • SSHRCC Partnership Development Grant, "Canadian art commons for history of art education and training," 2013-16
  • SSHRCC Insight Development Grant, "Struck by Likening: Artworld Analogy as Disciplinary Mapping," 2014-18
  • Massey College, University of Toronto, elected a Continuing Senior Fellow, 2015
  • Chancellor Jackman Research Fellow in the Humanities, 12-month Faculty Research Award, 2019-20
  • SSRHC Insight Grant, "Analogy and the structures of art history in the global era," 2018-23
  • Getty Research Inst., Los Angeles, 6-month senior residential scholar, Sept- March 2024-25, Extinction (theme year). * Declined

Cheetham Web Covers

Cheetham CuratedCheetham Artwriting Cover


PhD, UCL, University of London, History of Art, 1982
MA, University of Toronto, Philosophy, 1977
BA (Hons), University of Toronto, University College, Philosophy, 1976

Administrative Service

Principal Investigator, CACHET (Canadian Art Commons for History of Art Education and Training), SSHRC Partnership Development Grant project, 2013–17.
Acting Director, Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto, Jan.–June, 2011.
Interim Chair & Graduate Chair, Department of the History of Art, University of Toronto, 2007–8.
Director, Canadian Studies Program, University College, University of Toronto, 2004–7.
Director of Graduate Studies & Associate Chair, University of Toronto, Department of Fine Art, 2002–3.
Inaugural Graduate Director, Visual Arts, Western U., 1993–95.
Undergraduate Chair: McGill U., 1982-85; Western U., 1985–87; 1998–99.