Tom McDonough

Associate Professor and Chair
Associated Faculty, Comparative Literature (on leave Fall 2015)

Office: Fine Arts 220A
Phone: (607) 777-2847
Specialization: European avant-gardes, modern art and architecture, public space, radicalism, 20th century French cultural politics and intellectual life.

Tom McDonough is a writer and critic based in upstate New York and Toronto whose work addresses the intersections of art and political struggle in the postwar era, with a special emphasis on France. He is widely known for his books on the Situationist International, which include "The Beautiful Language of My Century": Reinventing the Language of Contestation in Postwar France, 1945-1968 (2007); Guy Debord and the Situationist International: Texts and Documents (2002); and The Situationists and the City (2009). McDonough's essays on contemporary art and photography have appeared in journals such as Afterall, Artforum, and OSMOS, where he is a contributing editor. 

Selected Publications

The Situationists and the City: A Reader. London and New York: Verso, 2009.

"The Beautiful Language of My Century": Reinventing the Language of Contestation in Postwar France, 1945-1968. Cambridge, Mass. and London: The MIT Press, Coll. “OCTOBER Books,” 2007, 2011.

With Aruna D’Souza. The Invisible Flâneuse? Gender, Public Space and Visual Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris. Manchester: Manchester University Press, Coll. “Critical Perspectives in Art History,” 2006, 2010.

"No Ghost." October no. 110 (Fall 2004): 107-130.

Guy Debord and the Situationist International: Texts and Documents. Cambridge, Mass. and London: The MIT Press, Coll. “OCTOBER Books,” 2002, 2004.

“The Crimes of the Flaneur.” October no. 102 (Fall 2002): 101-122.

“Rereading Debord, Rereading the Situationists.” October no. 79 (“Guy Debord and the Internationale situationniste: A Special Issue,” guest edited by Tom McDonough) (Winter 1997): 3-14.

"Fluid Spaces: Constant and the Situationist Critique of Architecture." In The Activist Drawing: Retracing Situationist Architectures from Constant's New Babylon to Beyond, edited by Catherine de Zegher and Mark Wigley, 93-104. Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 2001.

“Situationist Space.” October no. 67 (Winter 1994): 58-77.

Recent lectures and conference papers

2015 Lecture, "Duologues On Kawara" (with Alfredo Jaar)
Title of paper: "Remarks on Postmarks"

2015 "Curatorial Ethics," Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria
Participant in panels on "Total Economization of the Art World" (with Nikolaus Hirsch, Deimantas Narkevičius, and Monika Szewczyk); "Art and National Representation" (with Lolita Jablonskienė); and "Society of the Spectacle" (with Olaf Nicolai)

2015 "Abstract Art and Society" symposium, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK
Paper: "Architecture and Abstraction: Two Parables of Transparency, and a Coda"

2015 Lecture, "Art Now! Speakers' Series," Visual Arts, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
Title of paper: "Philosophers and Philistines, or, Touching and Tasting"

2015 Lecture, Whitney Independent Study Program, New York, NY
Title of paper: "No Success Like Failure: Exhibition Practices of the Situationist Internatioanal, 1960-1964"

2014 "Looking Back on Society of the Spectacle, the Film," Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference, Seattle, WA
Paper: "Theoretical Westerns"

2014 "Pierre Huyghe Symposium," The Artist's Institute, New York, NY
Paper: "Snow White Lucie, The Third Memory, No Ghost Just a Shell"

2014 "Interiors and Exteriors: Avant-Garde Itineraries in Postwar France," Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Keynote: "From Hunger Strike to Human Strike"

Dissertations supervised

Recently completed PhDs

Recent courses taught


Art History & Visual Culture
Intro to Architecture
What is an Image?
European Avant-Garde


French Cultural Politics

Last Updated: 6/10/15