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Dr Julia Kelly


About Dr Julia Kelly

Julia Kelly is a writer and researcher on modern and contemporary art with strong interests and expertise in the histories and theories of sculpture, interactions between art and anthropology, art writing, and the legacies of surrealism. Her publications include the books Art, Ethnography and the Life of Objects, Paris c.1925-1935 (2007), The Sculpture of Bill Woodrow (with Jon Wood, 2013), Giacometti: Critical Essays (with Peter Read, 2009), and Found Sculpture and Photography from Surrealism to Contemporary Art (with Anna Dezeuze, 2013).

Julia Kelly has a degree in Modern Languages from Oxford University, and a PhD on the art writings of surrealist poet and ethnographer Michel Leiris from the Courtauld Institute of Art. She worked at Tate on the exhibition Surrealism: Desire Unbound (2001) and as part of the AHRC Research Centre for Studies of Surrealism and its Legacies at the University of Manchester. She has been a lecturer and researcher at a number of UK higher education institutions, including the Courtauld Institute of Art, the University of Hull, and most recently, Loughborough University.

Research Interests

Julia Kelly is currently exploring some of the different strands of her research interests: in two anthologies of contemporary sculptors’ writings; in essays on the public sculpture of Eduardo Chillida, on sculpture and chance, on the concept of ‘homeless sculpture’ and on the material properties of mandrake roots; and in a wider project on artists’ collections of ethnographic materials.

Selected Publications

Journal articles (4)

Books (3)

  • ed. (2017) 'Absolute', Absurd', 'Existentialism', 'Leiris, Michel'.. Tate, London: Tate Publishing.
  • ed. (2016) Talking Sculpture: Histories of Contemporary Sculpture - Histories in Contemporary Sculpture. 280.
  • Kelly JA (2014) Pushing the Boundaries: The Sculpture of Nick Ervinck. MER. Paper Kunsthalle.http://www.merpaperkunsthalle.org/

Chapters (1)

  • Kelly JA (2016) The Ethnographic Turn. In: Hopkins D A Companion to Dada and Surrealism. : Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 319-333.

Conference contributions (5)

  • Kelly JA (2017) Colonial and counter-colonial display in surrealism Valand Academy, Gothenburg 01/01/2016. https://akademinvaland.gu.se/english
  • Kelly JA (2017) Arp, Sculpture and Surrealism Turner Contemporary 01/01/2017. Margate: https://www.turnercontemporary.org/
  • Kelly JA (2016) Talking sculpture: histories of contemporary art - histories in contemporary art. Polish Sculpture Centre 01/11/2016. Orońsko: http://www.rzezba-oronsko.pl/EN/
  • Kelly JA (2015) Sculpture and Chance University of Malta 01/12/2015. Valletta:
  • Kelly JA (2015) Eduardo Chillida's Maritime Imagination Goethe University 01/07/2015. Frankfurt:

Other (8)

  • Kelly JA (2017) Association of Art Historians Annual Conference
  • Kelly JA (2017) 'Decolonising artists' non-western collections'
  • Kelly JA (2016) Hubert Dalwood's legacies
  • Kelly JA (2016) Homeless Sculpture Study Dayhttp://www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk/
  • Kelly JA (2016) 'Tucker's uncanny figuration'
  • Kelly JA (2016) Michael Lyons' machine sculptures
  • Kelly JA (2015) Eileen Agar's Found Sculptures
  • Kelly JA (2014) Unearthing the Figurehttp://www.pangolinlondon.com/
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