Guest talk by Michael Corris: Philosophy’s Illustrious Companions: Why Artists Engage with Philosophy

Tuesday 17 October, 3-5pm (UK time); Room: GS8 (and online)

You are warmly invited to the guest talk by renowned conceptual artist and writer on art Michael Corris, titled “Philosophy’s Illustrious Companions: Why Artists Engage with Philosophy”.

The talk will take place on Tuesday 17 October, 3-5pm (UK time) at Grimond Seminar Room 8 (GS8). You can also join online via this link on Teams (Meeting ID: 396 325 716 255 ; Passcode: DVGARV). This is a Centre for Heritage event.



Philosopher Thomas Wartenberg’s book Thoughtful Images: Illustrating Philosophy Through Art (2023) purports to explain how Western artists, from Classical Greece to contemporary graphic novels, have illustrated philosophical concepts, arguments and theories. While Wartenberg offers a typology of modes of representation of philosophy by artists, his thesis is deficient on a number of counts. This talk will explore the following questions in order to address some key issues that remain underdeveloped or unvoiced in Wartenberg’s account:

1. Why do modern and contemporary artists have an interest in philosophy?

2. To what extent does Wartenberg misrepresent the engagement with philosophy of contemporary non-white artists?

3. What forms of expression of contemporary art other than painting and sculpture provide a platform for the engagement of art and philosophy?

More about Corris’ work here:; and

Organised by Dr Eve Kalyva (


Short bio note

Dr Michael Corris (Professor Emeritus, SMU) began his career as a participant in the Conceptual Art collective Art & Language (1972-1976). Since then, Corris has continued to work as an artist and writer on art. Corris’ art is represented in public collections including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY), the Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles, CA), Le Consortium Museum of Contemporary Art (Dijon, France), the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK), the Tate Gallery (London, UK), Staatsgaleri (Stuttgart, Germany), Château de Montsoreau Museum of Contemporary Art (Montsoreau, France), the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas, TX) and Le Musée des Beaux-Arts (La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland).

His writings on art have appeared in Art Monthly, Artforum, Art in America, Art History, Art Journal, Rab-Rab Journal, and Art+Text; and have been reprinted in collections including Alex Alberro & Blake Stimson (eds), Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology (MIT Press, 1999), Terry R. Myers (ed.), Painting (Documents of Contemporary Art) (MIT Press and Whitechapel, London, 2011), and in two volumes devoted to the work of David Diao, edited by Stéphane Mroczkowski & Alexandre Pignol (Paris: Mare et Martin, 2020 & 2021).

Corris is the author of Ad Reinhardt (London: Reaktion Books, 2008) and Leaving Skull City: Selected Writings on Art (Paris: Les Presses du Réel, 2016); editor of Conceptual Art: Theory, Myth and Practice  (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004); and co-author of Art, Word & Image: 2,000 Years of Visual/Textual Interaction (London: Reaktion Books, 2010). He is currently series editor of Art Since the 1980s (Reaktion Books) and is preparing a monograph on art and philosophy (Reaktion Books, London: forthcoming 2025). Subject to Change (Paris: Mare et Martin) — an artists’ bookwork created in collaboration with Stéphane Mroczkowski, Alexandre Pignol, and Marjorie Welish — will appear in November, 2023.