Serge Guilbaut L., L.(Bordeaux), PhD (UCLA)

Serge Guilbaut is professor emeritus of Art History at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He has written on modern and contemporary art and, in particular, on cultural and political relations between the United States and France. He has published How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art: Abstract Expressionism, Freedom and the Cold War (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983; translated into five languages), Voir, Ne pas Voir, Faut Voir: Essais sur la perception et la non-perception des oeuvres (Nîmes: Jacqueline Chambon, 1994), Sobre la desaparicíon de ciertas obras de arte (Mexico City: Curare, 1995), and Los espejismos de la imagen, Essays on contemporary art (Madrid: Editions Akal, 2009).

He has also edited several other works: Modernism and Modernity (Halifax, NS: Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1983, 2006); Reconstructing Modernism: Art in New York, Paris, and Montreal, 1945–1964 (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990); co-edited with John O’Brian and Bruce Barber, Voices of Fire: Art Rage, Power, and the State (on Barnett Newman; Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996); co-edited with Laurent Gervereau, Laurence Bertrand Dorleac, and Gérard Monnier, Où va l’histoire de l’art contemporain? (Paris: L’image, 1996); Chatting with Henri Matisse: The Lost 1941 Interview (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2013).

He has also organized several exhibitions: Théodore Géricault: The Alien Body, Tradition in Chaos in 1997, Up Against the Wall Mother Poster (on posters from 1968) in 1999, and Be-Bomb: The Transatlantic War of Images and All That Jazz, 1946–1956 at MACBA in Barcelona in 2007 (critics’ prize of the Association of Catalan Art Critics for the best exhibition of the year).

He has participated as an artist in several exhibitions, such as Drawings (Vancouver, 1996) and Browser (Artropolis 97, Vancouver Art Gallery, 1997). He also had his own art retrospective in 2012 in Vancouver called Retro-Perspective (art and performances from 1965 to 2012).

Guilbaut’s credits as an actor include the role of Elie Faur, the famous 1930s French art historian, in the film A Banquet in Tetlapayac (relating the filming of Eisenstein’s film ¡Que Viva México!) by Olivier Debroise. The film was presented at the Vancouver International Film Festival, in addition to many venues in Europe and America. Film by Olivier Debroise, with Cuauthemoc Medina, Sally Stein, and Andrea Fraser (October 2000).


1985: How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art (paperback) made the “New Noteworthy” list in the New York Times Review of Books.

1986: Killam Research Prize, University of British Columbia

1988–89: Killam Faculty Research Fellowship, University of British Columbia

1990–91: Killam Faculty Research Fellowship, University of British Columbia

1991: The French edition of How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art received the Prix des libraires de la ville de Paris

1991–92: Killam Faculty Research Fellowship, University of British Columbia

1994: Selected as consultant for the city of Marseille’s cultural programs, including assessment of the art historical program at the University of Aix en Provence

1994: Chevalier des Palmes Académiques from the French government

2003: Mary Jane Crowe Visiting Professor Chair at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

2003–04: Getty Research Institute Distinguished Research Scholar Position.

May 2005: Invited Research Scholar at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA) in Paris

2006: Research Scholar at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (Williamston, MA)

2007, 2008, 2009: Awarded several research grants to organize summer seminars at the Hartung/Bergman Foundation in Antibes, where I invited scholars from the United States, Canada, France, and Argentina.

2008: Awarded the Prix de la Critique d’Art de Catalogne (ACCA) for my show Be- Bomb presented in Barcelona (October 2007–January 2008)

May 2010: Invited Research Scholar at the Getty Research Institute.

September 2013: Recipient of the 2013 Sotheby Prize for a Distinguished Publication on the History of Collecting in America, administered by the Center for the History of Collecting at the Frick Collection, for Get There First, Decide Promptly: The Richard Brown Baker Collection of Postwar Art (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011), with Jennifer Farrell, Thomas Crow, Robert Storr, Jan Howard, and Judith Tannenbaum (Guilbaut’s article: “Collecting Bohemia in Post-WWII New York: The Baker Collection”).


Radio Interviews

Series of interviews on contemporary art, Radio-Canada, March 1979.

Art and Politics, CBC Television, November 1980.

CBC Radio program, French CBC, Montreal, “L’art dans tous ses États” (ten half-hour programs on art from 1940 to 1956), 1990.

Radio Belge program on French post-WWII art – Belgium, 1991.

France Culture (National Radio Paris), interview about my book, Voir, Ne pas Voir, Faut Voir, April 1994.

France Culture (National Radio Paris), interview about contemporary cultural politics (35mn).

CBC Radio program (three hours), French CBC, Montreal, on cultural globalization with interviews in Paris, Montreal, Venice, Barcelona, and Bilbao. The program was selected to represent Canada in the European competition for best documentary in Francophone Radio, August 2001.

CBC (French) public interview for CBC TV on twenty-first-century museums, February 2011.


Television Programs and Interviews

“Art and Ideology in the 40s in the U.S.,” BBC Television (half-hour program), November 1982.

Invited to participate in the two-part television series Irony Curtain, written and directed by Murray Grigor, Channel 4, London, 1987.

Television documentary on postwar culture (documentary) TV Liège Belgium, 1992.

Interviewed for and consulted on a documentary film about culture and the Cold War, Channel 4, London, 1994.

Interviewed for the film Les Couleurs de la vie. Film by Jean-Christophe. Yu. for Fondation J. Jacquemotte, Bruxelles – Belgium. 1995.

Interview for CBC TV about the Géricault show The Alien Body, Tradition in Chaos at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, 1997.

Participated in Hidden Hands: A Different History of Modernism four-hour documentary series for Channel 4 (with Frances Stonor Sanders) London, 1998.

Three one-hour radio programs for MACBA Radio Barcelona, called Radio Waves: Hot Songs for a Cold War, 2007.

Interview/film by CBC for the opening of my retroperspective at UBC Library (photography, performances, and collages), 2012.


Interviews in Newspapers and Books

 “On Studying British Modernism: An Interview with Judith Mastaï and John O’Brian,” in Collapse 1 (October 1995).

“Historien d’art Aujourd’hui,” interview with Yves Michaud (others in this series include Hans Belting, Laurence Bertrand Dorleac, and Michael Baxandall), in Connaissance des Arts (Janvier 1999): 60–64.

An interview about my scholarly life and writings in the USA has been published in Amy Newman, Challenging Art: Artforum 1962–1974 (New York: Soho Press, 2000).

Interview with Ana Maria Battistozzi for the newspaper Clarin in Buenos Aires, “Trampas de la Golabizacion,” July 8, 2001.

Interview with Anna Maria Guasch for the newspaper La Vanguardia in Barcelona, “El Guggenheim functiona segun el sistema ‘Fast Food,’” September 2001.

Interview with Stéphane Baillargeon published on the front page of the Montreal newspaper Le Devoir, “Le décolonisateur du Regard,” May 5, 2008.

The French radio station France Culture aired an hour-and-a-half-long program “Surpris par la Nuit” (produced by Alain Veinstein, directed by Isabelle Rebre) on May 22, 2009, on Charles and Jackson Pollock. Interviews with Sylvia and Francesca Pollock and the art historians Eric de Chassey and Serge Guilbaut.

Interview/Profile in L’Express du Pacifique, “Serge Guilbaut: Trublion Artistique,” April 4, 2011.



Member of the task force on professional training for the cultural sector in Canada, Vancouver, November 1990.

Member of the Canada Council for the Arts jury for aid to exhibitions, Ottawa, February 1991.

Member of the Scientific Committee of the journal Quintana, Journal of the Department of Art History at the University of Santiago de Compostela.

Member of the Scientific Committee of the journal Anales del Instituto de Investigationes Esteticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Member of research group at the Getty Research Center meeting for the upcoming show in Los Angeles Pacific Standard Time about the cultural production of Los Angeles from 1945 to 1970 involving the entire city of Los Angeles cultural structures, April 2009.


Organization of Symposia

1978: UCLA, organized an art history symposium “War Crisis: Art Production in Times of Turmoil,” (speakers: Albert Boime, Tom Crow, Ken Silver, Liz Baldewicz, and Marcia Byrstryn).

1981: UBC, organized international symposium “Modernism and Modernity: A Question of Culture or Culture Called into Question?” (fourteen speakers including Marcelin Pleynet, Paul Tucker, Hollis Clayson, Benjamin Buchloh, Allan Sekula, Clement Greenberg, T.J. Clark, Thomas Crow, René Payant, and Nicole Dubreuil-Blondin); papers were published by NSCAD Press, Halifax.

1986: UBC, international conference on Franco-American-Canadian cultural relations during the Cold War 1948–64 called “Hot Paint for Cold War,” (speakers: Jean Baudrillard, Benjamin Buchloh, Tom Crow, T.J. Clark, Thierry de Duve, John O’Brian, François Marc Gagnon, Constance Naubert Riser, and Lary May).

1987: UBC, “Le Triumph of Pessimism: the Re-emergence of Modern Art in Post-World War II Western Culture,” (speakers: François Marc Gagnon, Yule F. Heibel, Kader El Janaby, Michel Leja, and Luciana Rogazinski).

1992: UBC, organized with John O’Brian, symposium “Threatened Identities: Self-Imagining Mexico and Canada” (speakers: Holly Barnet Sanchez, Mexican Museum, San Francisco; Tom Cummins, University of Chicago; Oliver Debroise, Mexico City; Elena Feder, Stanford University; Tom Hill, Woodland Cultural Center; Desmund Rochefort, University of Alberta; et al.).

1993: UBC, organized symposium “The State of Contemporary Art Criticism in France” with Catherine David, curator Le Jeu de Paume, Paris; Yves Michaud, director, Ecoles des Beaux Arts, Paris; Chantal Pontbriand, editor, Parachute, Montreal.

1994: Paris, organized with Laurence Bertrand Dorleac, Laurent Gervereau, and Gérard Monnier, international colloquium “Ou Va l’histoire de l’art Contemporaine? Objects, methodes et territoires,” Paris (fifty-four international participants).

1995: Marseille, France, organized symposium “New Theoretical Questions in Art History” in Marseillle/Aix en Provence (five graduate students from UBC participated in the programme).

1995: UBC, organized a series of public lectures “The Exotic Gaze and the Mexican Appeal: Views for North America 1930–1960,” March/April (speakers: Francisco Reyes y Palma, Instituto de Investigaciones Esteticas, Mexico City; Karen Cordero, UNAM, Mexico; Peter Wollen, UCLA, Film Theory Department; James Oles, curator, Yale University Gallery; Rita Eder, director of the Instituto de Investigaciones Esteticas, Mexico City; Leonard Folgorait, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee).

1996: Bellagio, Italy, organized with Rita Eder, and participated in, the Rockefeller Foundation Research Group “Re-writing the History of Modern Latin American Art,” October/November 1996 (continued to 2003).

1997: organized with Maureen Ryan (UBC) conference “Violating Tradition: Théodore Géricault and the Bourbon Restoration” (speakers: Yves Michaud, Paris; Caroline Ford, UBC; Darcy Grimaldo-Grisby, Berkeley; Aleksandra Idzior, UBC; Charity Mewburn, UBC; Jan Goldstein, University of Chicago; Robert Simon, Harvard; Carol Doyon, Montreal; Sheryl Kroen, University of Florida; Margaret Waller, Pomona College California; Regis Michel, Musée du Louvre, Paris).

1999: UBC, organized conference “Plop! Goes the World: A Reassessment of the 1960s,” (speakers: Thomas Crow, James Meyer, David Howard, Caroline Jones, Ted Joans, Jonathan Katz, Cecile Whiting, Jonathan Weiberg, Anne Wagner, Patricia Kelly, Laurent Gervereau, Carol Wells).

2001: UBC, organized conference “Reconstruction, Consummation, Contestation: Art and Critical Debate in Postwar France 1945–1972” (speakers: Laurence Bertrand Dorleac, Jill Carrick, Rebecca de Roo, Herman Lebovics, Suzan Weiner, Tom McDonough, et al.).

2002: Paris, organized with Laurence Bertrand Dorleac conference “Reconstruction, Consommation, Subversion: Echanges Transatlantiques: Débats autour des Arts en France et aux Etats-Unis entre 1945 et 1972” (speakers: Pascal Ory, Luc Lang, Jean Jacques Lebel, Tim Clark, Jelena Stojanovic, Daniel Buren, Antoine de Baecque, et al.).

2006: UBC, organized with William Wood and Kim Phillips two-day symposium “Solitudes and Globalization: Post-World War II Art and Culture Across the Americas,” sixteen speakers, with Thomas Cummins (Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian and Colonial Art, Harvard University); Pablo Helguera (artist, New York); Chantal Pontbriand (editor, Parachute, Montreal), Monika Gagnon (artist Montreal); Martha Rosler (professor of visual arts, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University); Paul Chaat Smith (curator, National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC); Diana B. Wechsler (professor of sociology and anthropology of art in the School of Philosophy, Universidad de Buenos Aires); Richard Cavell (professor, UBC Department of English); Philip Resnick (professor, UBC Department of Political Science); Patricia Marchak (professor, UBC Department of Sociology).

2009: UBC, organized with John O’Brian and Carla Benzan symposium “Breathless Days: 1959–1960” about cultural relations between Western Europe and “Las Americas” (Canada, USA, and Latin America), twelve speakers, including Clint Burnham (Simon Fraser University), Bruce Barber (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design), Jill Carrick (Carleton University), Tom Crow (New York University), Eric de Chassey (Director of the Villa Medici in Rome), Blair Davies (Simon Fraser University), Mari Dumett (MIT), Steve Harris (University of Alberta), Mona Huerta (Universite Sorbonne Nouvelle [Paris III]), Luc Lang (Ecole des Beaux Arts de Cergy Pontoise), Richard Leeman (University of Bordeaux), Susan Lord (Queen’s University), Tom McDonough (SUNY, Binghamton), Regis Michel (Louvre Museum, Paris), Ann Reynolds (University of Texas), Tyler Stovall (University of California, Berkeley), Ludovic Tournes (Universite Paris Ouest Nanterre). See website at: