Mark A. Cheetham

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



University College

Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • Images and Narratives of the Circumpolar North
  • Ecocritical Art History (Eurosphere, Anglosphere, Nordic)
  • Contemporary Art & Art Theory (Eurosphere and Anglosphere)
  • Curatorship: theory and practice
  • Modern Art, c. 1700–1989 (Eurosphere and Anglosphere)
  • Art in Canada since the 1960s


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.

I was the Project Director of a 3-year SSHRC initiative called CACHET (Canadian Art Commons for History of Art Education & Training), 2013–16, which linked five institutions and 20 researchers. See I am also part of a national research project addressing settler-colonial practices in the art history of Canada (Unsettling Canadian Art History).

My book Landscape into Eco Art: Articulations of Nature since the ‘60s was published by Penn State UP in 2018. I curated the exhibition Struck by Likening: The Power & Discontents of Artworld Analogies at the McMaster University Museum of Art in 2017. My exhibition Ecologies of Landscape (2018–19) explored the ongoing potency of landscape presentation in contemporary art.

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 (forthcoming as a guest-edited issue of the journal Word and Image 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-convene the Jackman Humanities Institute Working Group on visual cultures of the circumpolar north:

My teaching focuses on art, art theory, and visual culture from the mid 18th century to the present in Europe, the USA, and Canada. I supervise doctoral and postdoctoral projects across these geographical, cultural, and temporal coordinates.

Selected Publications

  • 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.]

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

Cheetham Web Covers

Cheetham Curated


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.