Professor Michael Archer

Staff details

Position Professor of Art
Department Art
Email m.archer (
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7648

Michael Archer is a critic and writer on modern and contemporary art. His work has appeared in many journals, including Artforum, Art Monthly, Frieze and Parkett, and in numerous catalogues. He is the author of Art Since 1960 (Thames & Hudson 1997/2002, new edition forthcoming), and has contributed the later chapters on modern and contemporary art to Hugh Honour and John Fleming's A World History of Art (Laurence King 2009).

In addition to a study of Jeff Koons' One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank in the Afterall One Work series (2011), he has recently written on Miroslaw Balka, Dexter Dalwood, Helen Marten, Keith Tyson, Liam Gillick, Eva Rothschild, Cerith Wyn Evans, and the Politics of Minimalism.

Academic qualifications

  • 1982 MA Aesthetic Education, University of Manchester
  • 1976 BA History of Art, University of Cambridge


Michael teaches courses in critical studies and art and design history and theory. Before arriving at Goldsmiths, where he was the programme leader for the MA in Fine Art in 2009, he served as the head of the University of Oxford's Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art (2005-2009). He was a tutor in Fine Art at the Ruskin School from 2000-2005. 

He has been a lecturer at Chelsea College of Art and Design, Wimbeldon School of Art, Slade School of Fine Art, Epsom School of Art & Design, and Havering Technical College, as well as a Visiting Research Fellow at Chelsea College of Art and Design.

Area of supervision

Michael has supervised PhD and MPhil students at Royal College of Art, Wimbledon School of Art, Oxford University and Goldsmiths College, and administered PhD examination at Oxford University, Goldsmiths College, and Brighton University.

Professional projects

Michael has been a freelance critic since 1979. He served as the editor of Artscribe International from 1989-1991 and as the assistant editor for Art Monthly from 1987-1989. He has been a regular contributor to Artforum for over twenty years.

He curated exhibitions for the Hayward Gallery in 2006 (‘How to Improve the World: Sixty Years of British Art’) and 1997 ('Material Culture: the Object in British Art of the 80s and 90s'), as well as for Houldsworth Fine Art in 2002 ('Reverberator') and the South Bank Touring exhibition ('Voice Over: Sound and Vision in Current Art') in 1998.

He has been a member of the Art Purchasing Committee of the Arts Council of England (2002-2005) and of the Art Panel of the Arts Council of Great Britain (1987-1989). He was a trustee of the Showroom Gallery in London from 1995-1998 and a jury member for the 2002 Turner Prize.



Archer, Michael. 2011. Jeff Koons: One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank. London/Cambridge, Mass: Afterall/MIT. ISBN 978-1-84638-079-2 (paperback), 978-1-84638-078-5 (hardback)

Book Section

Archer, Michael. 2016. Surface Density. In: , ed. Jeff Koons Now. London: Other Criteria, pp. 7-11. ISBN 978-1-906967-76-5

Archer, Michael. 2015. Imi Knoebel: Paint Project. In: , ed. Imi Knoebel. London: White Cube, pp. 29-55. ISBN 9781910844021

Archer, Michael. 2010. Eva Rothschild. In: , ed. Eva Rothschild. London: Stuart Shave/Modern Art and Koenig Books, pp. 129-133. ISBN 978-3-86560-910-6

Archer, Michael. 2009. It's Like This. In: , ed. Martin Creed. Birmingham, UK: Ikon Gallery, pp. 36-47. ISBN 978-1-904864-45-5

Archer, Michael. 2008. One and the Same. In: , ed. POLITICAL/MINIMAL. Nürnberg: Verlag für moderne Kunst, pp. 127-137. ISBN 978-3-941185-07-4

Archer, Michael. 2008. No Man's Time: Material Fantasies. In: , ed. theanyspacewhatever. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, pp. 116-122. ISBN 978-0-89207-377-1


Archer, Michael. 2013. Ripley. SALT.(3), pp. 14-15.

Archer, Michael. 2010. Moon Turned a Fire Red / Der Mond färbte ein Feuer rot. Parkett(87), pp. 104-115. ISSN 0256-0917

Exhibition Catalogue

Hunt, Ian; Archer, Michael and White, Laura. 2015. Goldsmiths BA Fine Art 2015.

Archer, Michael. 2013. The Figure in the Painting [catalogue essay].

Archer, Michael. 2013. Fata Morgana [catalogue essay].

Archer, Michael. 2012. A Céu Aberto [catalogue essay].

Archer, Michael. 2008. Heaven [catalogue essay].

Conference or Workshop Item

Archer, Michael. 2017. 'Numbing Like the Stingray'. In: Too Close to See. LARA, United Kingdom February 25, 2017.

Archer, Michael. 2016. 'FGJH'. In: FGJH. Arthouse, United Kingdom December 11, 2016.

Archer, Michael. 2016. 'Gertrude and Ludwig in the House Made of Sugar'. In: Gertrude and Ludwig in the House Made of Sugar. Bread and Jam, United Kingdom May 27, 2016.