Department of Art History

War in Twentieth-Century Visual Culture

War in Twentieth-Century Visual Culture
– Professor David Alan Mellor

Funders: Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Archive of Modern Conflict

This ongoing body of research focuses on the mediation of war through art and the visual culture of the Twentieth Century. At the present, it revolves around curating and writing for Tate Modern's major exhibition, 'Conflict, Time and Photography', as well as participation in the forthcoming Yale Center for the Study of British Art conference, 'Visual Cultures in the Second World War in Britain and the United States', in May 2015.

As a prelude to this, Prof. Mellor was a contributor to Tate Britain's publication 'Kenneth Clark: Looking for Civilisation' , with a catalogue essay on Clark's founding and direction of the War Artist's Advisory Committee and his role in guiding state sponsorship of the pictorial and graphic arts  in Britain from 1939 to 1945. Clark's liberal interventionism and his careful negotiation of propagandistic imperatives were at the heart of this study.

Ongoing work at the The Archive of Modern Conflict, in London, has spilled over into an invitation from Tate Modern to act as  curator of a separate installation at Tate Modern - 'The Archive of Modern Conflict' - lodged within the main body of their upcoming major exhibition, for which Mellor is a joint curator with Simon Baker and Shoair Malvian. This exhibition will tour to Dresden in the late Spring 2015. Mellor is also acting as writer of text and as editor to the separate AMC publication, 'A Guide to the Protection of the Public in Peacetime'.


‘On Omaha Beach’ in D.A. Mellor, S. Malvian and S. Baker (eds), Time, Conflict and Photography, Tate Publications, London (Forthcoming November 2014)

‘Second World War’, in C. Stephens and P. Stonnard (eds), Kenneth Clark: Looking for Culture, Tate Gallery Publications, London, 2014 

‘And Oh! the Stench: Spain, The Blitz, Abjection and the Shelter Drawings’ in Chris Stephens (ed.), Henry Moore, Tate Gallery Publications, London 2010. 

‘Rents in the Fabrics of Reality: Contexts for Sophie Ristelhueber’, main text for Sophie Ristelhueber/Operations , Thames and Hudson, London,  2009.