Mr Ben Wiedel-Kaufmann

Mr Ben Wiedel-Kaufmann

School of Humanities and Performing Arts (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)

Associate Lecturer; PhD Researcher


BA (Hons), History of Art, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, 2007 (MA Cantab, 2013)

Associate Fellow, Higher Education Academy, 2016

Teaching interests

ARHI403PP - Art History and its Objects

ARHI511/615 - Art and Politics in 20th Century Europe

International Muralism
Modern and Contemporary British Art
Art and Politics
Art and its Publics
Art and the City
Contexts of Display
Twentieth century abstract painting

Research interests

My PhD research examines relations between Left-wing politics and mural production in London between 1975 and the dissolution of the Greater London Council in 1986. Across these years somewhere in the region of five hundred murals appeared on the exterior walls of London's streets. Funded by a complex amalgam of more or less direct governmental patronage, many of these murals were rooted in, and gave form to, the politics of the radical and oppositional Left. Focussing on a group of approximately fifteen such murals, my study combines archival research and interviews, with visual, iconographic and contextual analysis to examine the position and agency of the objects within the social, cultural, political and geographical contestations of the historical conjuncture. In so doing it offers a reconsideration of the mural form’s position within histories of British and post-war public art.

My current research project, therefore, spans interests in British and international mural painting, postwar ‘public’ art, art and politics, London in the 1970s and '80s and British postwar realist traditions. It is informed by the methodologies of the social history of art.

Other research

British abstraction and modernisms
Brazilian 20th century art

Grants & contracts

HuMPA Postgraduate Research Studentship, 2014-

Creative practice & artistic projects

Curated Exhibitions

'The Social Bases of Abstract Art', UpDown Gallery, Ramsgate, (October-December, 2014) 


'William Tillyer: A Retrospective'. Film collaboration with Larissa Alves, documenting the artist's one-man retrospective at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (2014)

'John Bunker: Collage. An interview'. Film collaboration with Larissa Alves, interviewing Bunker about two London exhibitions


Murals and the State, in For Walls With Tongues, An Oral History of Street Murals, 1966-1985, ed. Stephen Lobb, (London: Greenwich Mural Workshop, 2019), 8-11.

Other Publications


'Radical Geometry? The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection at the RA', for Abstract Critical, August 2014

'Gary Wragg - Constant Within the Change, Five Decades of Paintings', for HyperAllergic, August 2014

'The Social Art of Paul Klee', for Abstract Critical, March 2014

'Pete Hoida: two exhibitions reviewed', for Abstract Critical, June 2013

'Sebastião Salgado - Genesis', for Studio International, June 2013

'William Scott - Divided Figure', for Abstract Critical, July 2013

'George Bellows - Modern American Life', for Studio International, May 2013

'Antoni Tàpies - review of exhibition at Timothy Taylor Gallery', for Abstract Critical, April 2013

'Manet - Portraying Life', for Studio International, March 2013

'Inventing Abstraction 1910-1925, review of the MoMA exhibition', for Abstract Critical, February 2013

'Damien Hirst - Spot Paintings at Gagosian', for Abstract Critical, January 2012

Exhibition Catalogues

'John Bunker: Reconstructing Modernism', text written on occasion of the artist's retrospective exhibition at Liverpool Hope University, 2015

'The Social Bases of Abstract Art', UpDown Gallery, Ramsgate, 2014

'Kwang Young Chun: Aggregations', Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, New York, 2014; and Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, 2014

'Piers Secunda: Forwards from the White Manifesto', in Piers Secunda, A Retrospective, UpDown Gallery, Ramsgate, 2013

'Martin Fidler - Changing Horizons, a career survey', UpDown Gallery, 2013

'Ben Nicholson - A Life', published alongside a text by Christoher Neve in 'Ben Nicholson', Bernard Jacobson Gallery, 2012; and translated into Spanish alongside texts by Javier Tussel and Alfonso de la Torre, in 'Ben Nicholson/Gerardo Rueda', Galeria Leandro Navarro, 2013

'Marc Vaux, New Paintings', a career survey for Bernard Jacobson Gallery, 2010

'William Tillyer, New Paintings', a career survey for Bernard Jacobson Gallery, 2010

'Tom Wesselmann - Journeys into the Landscape', Bernard Jacobson Gallery, 2008; translated into German for Galerie Thomas, 2009

Reports & invited lectures

'Radical Heritage? Murals, Memory, Conservation and the 'Heritage Industry'', invited lecture, Plymouth University, March 2018.

'History, Heritage and Object: Some Questions on The Conservation of London's Murals', Cornerstone Heritage Postgraduate Symposium, Saltram House, December, 2017

'Reframing London's Walls: A Mural Walking Tour', Centre for the Study of Contemporary Art, University College London, June 2017

'Community, solidarity and struggle: Ray Walker’s Chicksand Street Mural as a site of realist contestation', Decolonising History: Visualisations of Conflict in a 'Post-War' Europe, Conference, Centre for the Study of Contemporary Art, University College London, March 2017

'The Condescension of Posterity in the Making: London's Murals Reconsidered', What's That Thing, Architecture Foundation/Royal College of Art Lates, Royal College of Art, March 2017

'Battersea, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Contestation at the Factory Walls', Association of Art Historians, New Voices Conference, November 2016

'Nuclear Dawn Mural', HuMPA Living Posters Presentation, Plymouth, 2015

'Art Now', Panel Discussion, UpDown Gallery, Ramsgate, 2013

'Modernism and Babel', Profile Intermedia 9, Bremen, Germany, 2006