Dr Deborah Lewer
- Senior Lecturer in History of Art (History of Art)
Email for appointment
My main, current research interests lie in the field of the German-speaking avant-garde of the period ca. 1910-1933. In particular, I work on many aspects of Zurich Dada, Dada in Germany, Expressionism, ‘Neue Sachlichkeit’ and the wider literary and visual culture of the Weimar Republic. More broadly, I also work on aspects of the politics of post-war German art in both the Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic and I have an interest in 20th-century European architecture. The focus of my research and teaching is on the relationship between art and politics. Most recently, I have been developing my interest in the left-wing avant-garde’s engagement with German history during the First World War and inter-war period.
- 2009-2010 12-month Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers by the major German academic research foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftfung
I am currently supervising doctoral candidates working on the field of Weimar-era visual culture. I would be very willing to discuss the possibility of supervising doctoral research in any aspect of German art and visual culture of the period 1871-1989.
- Mark Hobbs: 'Representations of Berlin in the 'Stability' Period of the Weimar Republic (1924-30)
A significant proportion of my teaching is on the MLitt programme Art: Politics: Transgression – the Twentieth-Century Avant-Gardes. I run a specialist course dedicated to Dada in Zurich and Berlin and contribute to the Core programmes of this and other postgraduate taught degree programmes.
I teach a year-long course at Senior Honours level entitled ‘Art and Politics in Weimar Germany’ and a semester-long course at Junior Honours level called ‘German Art in the Era of the Cold War’. At First Year level I teach on the Northern Renaissance and European Modernism. In the past I have taught other courses on a wide range of topics, including on Modern Architecture.
- Erasmus / Study Abroad - developing links, particularly, with partner institutions in Germany
- Co-Convenor, MLitt in Art: Politics: Transgression
- School Quality Officer
- School Postgraduate Committee
- External Examiner, University College Cork (postgraduate)
- External Examiner, University of Manchester (undergraduate)
‘Hugo Ball, Iconoclasm and the Origins of Dada in Zurich’, Oxford Art Journal, issue 1, 2009
‘The Agitator and the Legacy of the Avant-garde in the German Democratic Republic: Willi Sitte’s Rufer II (Caller II) of 1964’ in Art History and Criticism vol. 3, Special issue: Art and Politics: Case Studies from Eastern Europe, 2007, pp. 62-69. Research in Berlin funded by Carnegie Trust.
‘Art Archive Beeskow’ (on the store of art salvaged from the GDR archived at Beeskow), Blueprint magazine July 2007, pp. 51-54.
Round-table discussion: ‘Boys’ Club: Dada’s Boys’ in MAP magazine 6, Summer 2006, pp. 34-39.
‘The Weimar Avant-Garde: Contesting the Politics of Art’ Forthcoming in a collection of essays, Revisiting Weimar Culture edited by John Williams.
‘The uncorrupt image’: Hugo Ball, Zurich Dada and the Politics of Asceticism’ accepted for publication in the volume Dada in Debate edited by David Hopkins and Michael White, Northwestern University Press, Evanston. 2009
‘Neutrality under Threat: Freedom, Use and “Abuse” of the Press in Switzerland 1914-1919’ in Malcolm Gee and Tim Kirk eds., Printed Matters: Printing, Publishing and Urban Culture in the Modern Period, Ashgate Press, London 2000.
‘From the Cabaret Voltaire to the Kaufleutensaal: “Mapping” Zurich Dada’, in Brigitte Pichon and Karl Riha eds., Dada Zurich: A Clown’s Game from Nothing, G.K. Hall & Co., New York 1996.
Book and Exhibition Reviews
Book review: Painting as a Weapon: Progressive Cologne 1920-33. Seiwert – Hoerle – Arntz by Lynette Roth, (catalogue to the exhibition köln progressiv 1920-33, Museum Ludwig Köln, March 15 – June 15 2008), German Studies Review (at press, forthcoming February 2009).
Book review: Berlin: Portrait of a City by Hans Christian Adam, The Art Book, vol. 15, issue 2, May 2008, pp. 64-66.
Book review: ‘EX ORIENTE DADA? Dada East: The Romanians of Cabaret Voltaire by Tom Sandqvist’, Art History, vol. 31, no. 2, April 2008, pp. 248-250.
Exhibition review: ‘Gottfried Honnegger, Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich’, Blueprint architecture and design magazine, November 2007, p. 118.
Long exhibition review essay: ‘Fuga Saeculi – Hugo Ball at the Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich’, Papers of Surrealism issue 6, Autumn 2007 (online)
Exhibition review: ‘Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich: Furniture and Interiors, Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany’ Blueprint architecture and design magazine, June 2007, p. 112.
Long exhibition and book review essay: Dada’s Boys: Identity and Play in Contemporary Art, Edinburgh Fruitmarket Gallery 27 May-16 July 2006, long review in Papers of Surrealism, issue 5 Spring 2007 (online)
Exhibition review: ‘O.M. Ungers. Kosmos der Architektur, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin’ Blueprint architecture and design magazine, February 2007, p. 22.
Book review: Modern Architectural Theory by Harry Francis Mallgrave, Newsletter of the Historians of British Art (USA), April 2006
6 Mar. 2009: “Sind wir nicht magische Eklektizisten?” Das Wort und das Bild im Zürcher Dadaismus (in German). Paper accepted for the Eclecticism conference at the Institute of Art History, University of Bonn, Germany.
17 Nov 2008: ‘Ketzer und Revolutionäre 1525 und 1925. Der deutscheBauernkrieg und die Mobilisierung der Geschichte in der linken Kunst und Theorie der Weimarer Republik’ (in German), Bonner Kolloquium, University of Bonn, Germany.
3 Oct. 2008: ‘Locating Zurich Dada’ German Studies Association annual conference, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
30 May 2008: ‘1525-1925: The Bauernkrieg Re-envisioned’, European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies conference EUROPA! EUROPA?, University of Ghent, 29-31 May 2008.
20 July 2007: ‘Art, Politics and State in the GDR: Fritz Cremer’s Buchenwald Memorial’, State of the Art: Collecting and National Formation c. 1800-2000, International Conference at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
8 June 2007: ‘Voices of Revolution: Ambivalence and Agitation inExpressionism and Dada’, Research workshop onVisual Culture in 20th-century Germany, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Bristol
6 June 2007: ‘Hugo Ball, Iconoclasm and the Origins of Dada in Zurich’, Research Seminar, Dept. History, University of Cardiff
12 May 2007: ‘Ritual, Art and the Politics of the GDR: Fritz Cremer’s Buchenwald Memorial of 1958’, First Annual CRCEES Research Forum (Centre for Russian, Central and Eastern European Studies) Conference, University of Glasgow
14 Apr. 2007: ‘A Revolutionary Prototype: The German Peasants’ War of 1525 in the Art and Theory of the Weimar Left’, Annual Association of Art Historians Conference, Belfast (Convenor of Session Contested Histories in German Visual Culture)
24 Feb. 2007: ‘From Krieg to Klassenkampf: The Image of the Agitator and the Politicisation of the German Avant-garde’, Symposium, Visual and Literary Culture in Germany Between the Wars, Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston USA
26 Oct. 2006: ‘The Agitator and the Legacy of the Avant-garde in the German Democratic Republic: Willi Sitte’s Rufer II (Caller II) of 1964’, Art and Politics: Case-Studies from Eastern Europe, International Conference at Art Institute, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania.
16 Mar. 2006: ‘Reassessing the Origins of Dada’, Research Seminar, University of Edinburgh
19 Jan. 2006: ‘“We take the side of the Iconoclasts”: Hugo Ball, Theology and the Origins of Dada’, Research Seminar, University of Glasgow
26 Nov. 2005: ‘Iconoclasm, Asceticism and the “Uncorrupt Image”: Ball, Theology and the Origins of Dada’, Dada in Debate International Conference at Tate Modern, London.
23 Nov. 2005: ‘Admonishing the Living, Honouring the Dead: Fritz Cremer’s Buchenwald Memorial and the Politics of the GDR’ Symposium Memory and Oblivion: Monuments in Central and Eastern Europe, University of Glasgow
27 April 2005: ‘The Persistent Gothic in German Modernism’ Glasgow School of Art Research Lecture Series
10 Nov. 2004: ‘An Avant-garde Caged: Dada in Zurich During the First World War’ French and German Research Seminar, University of Glasgow
23 Mar. 2002: ‘Crosscurrents: Kiefer, Mondrian and the (Neo-)Avant-Garde’ Avant-Garde - Neo-Avant-Garde Conference, University of Edinburgh.
4 Feb. 2002: ‘Post-war German Art and Genealogies of Nation’ University of York Research Seminar.
11 Dec. 2001: ‘Post-war German Art and the Presence of the Past’University of Manchester Research Seminar.
8 Dec. 2001: ‘Kiefer’s Ways of Worldly Wisdom and the Monument’Redefining Memory Symposium, National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.
7 April 2000: ‘Presence, Absence and Taboo in Post-War German Art’Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, Edinburgh.
3 Mar. 1999: ‘Dada: Public Service and “Private Bluish Victories”’ University College London Research Seminar.
13 Sept. 1997: ‘Neutrality under Threat: Freedom, Use and “Abuse” of the Press in Switzerland 1914-1919’. Printed Matters: Printing, Publishing and Urban Culture Conference, Newcastle upon Tyne.
6 Mar. 1997: ‘Zurich Dada, Propaganda and (Anti-) Art Criticism’,Department of History of Art and Design Research Seminar, Manchester Metropolitan University.
3 Dec. 1996: ‘Zurich Dada, Anti-Art and the Press’, Modernism Research Seminar, Department of History of Art, University of York.
12 Apr. 1996:‘Managing Iconoclasm: Dada Strategies in Switzerland and Germany’, Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, Newcastle upon Tyne.
27 Jan. 1995: ‘Red Lights and Revolutionaries: Zurich Dada, Myth and the Urban Maze’, Open Lecture at Edinburgh College of Art.
1 Dec. 1994: ‘Problems and Strategies in Dada Research’, Department of History of Art and Design Research Seminar, Manchester Metropolitan University.
5 Nov. 1994: ‘Seeing the Sights and Sites of Dada in Zurich’, Zurich Dada Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University.
7 May 1994: ‘Cabaret In Exile: Dada and Zurich 1916’, (Revised). Symposium, Theatre, Spectacle and Performance, University of Manchester.
7 Apr. 1994: ‘Cabaret in Exile: Dada and Zurich 1916’, Urban History Group Conference, University of Nottingham.
29 Nov.1993: ‘Planning and Research for the 1994 Dada Event’,Department History of Art and Design Research Seminar, Manchester Metropolitan University.
Contributions: Encyclopaedia of Artists (6 vols.), Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York 2000. 20 entries on individual artists and modern movements of ca. 1,000 words each.
From the German: Hanne Bergius, ‘Dada as “Buffoonery and Requiem at the Same Time” in Debbie Lewer ed., Post-Impressionism to World War II, Blackwell, Malden MA and Oxford, 2006, pp. 366-380.