Elizabeth Johnson

Senior Lecturer in Critical and Contextual Studies

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:Cambridge School of Art

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Art history , Media arts , Cultural Studies , Digital Media

Research Supervision:Yes

Elizabeth Johnson is an art historian of modern and contemporary art, with research specialisms in sculpture studies and digital culture. She has taught for seven years in Higher Education in the UK, and holds a PhD from the London Consortium, University of London.

Email: elizabeth.johnson@aru.ac.uk


Elizabeth Johnson is an art historian of modern and contemporary art, with specialisms in sculpture studies and digital culture. In the broadest sense her scholarship explores the role of contemporary sculptural practice in animating the material, social and political impacts of the global infrastructures and political economies that underpin the digital and online world. She is particularly drawn to art histories of media and materiality for the way they trouble the virtual and immaterial, and open up avenues to explore how contemporary art participates in emerging discourses of labour, privacy, equality and freedom.

She has published about sculptural practice in the 1960s, artists’ holograms and digitally engaged contemporary art. Her recent book project investigates how contemporary artists are using digital technology to pioneer new models of monumentality. Drawing from theories of media studies and the discourse of monuments, it traces how artists have responded to the iconoclast attacks on monuments and the battles of marginalised groups for the right to memorialisation in the twenty-first century by imagining a new culture of monuments propelled by digital technologies and logics.

Prior to this appointment Elizabeth was the Henry Moore Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University College London, an Associate Research Fellow of the Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology at Birkbeck, and a short-term Research Fellow in the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution. Prior to her academic career she worked organising exhibitions in prestigious galleries and museums.

Research interests

  • Modern and contemporary art
  • Histories and theories of sculpture
  • Sculpture since 1960
  • Monuments and monumentality
  • Digital culture
  • Histories of art and technology
  • Holograms
  • Augmented reality

Areas of research supervision

Elizabeth warmly welcomes research students in areas relating to art and digital culture, art and technology, sculpture studies and monuments. Please get in touch at the email address above - she would be happy to discuss your project further.


  • PhD, Humanities and Cultural Studies, London Consortium, University of London. Dissertation title: What do you call a sculptor who doesn’t make sculptures? Bruce Nauman, 1965-1974.
  • M.Res., Humanities and Cultural Studies, London Consortium, University of London.
  • B.A. (Hons.), Sculpture, Camberwell College of Art, University of the Arts London.

Selected recent publications

E. Johnson, ‘Confederate Monuments 2.0’, chapter in The Sculptural in the (Post-) Digital Age, eds. Ursula Ströbele and Mara Johanna-Kölmel (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2023).

E. Johnson, ‘N Dimensional Space in a One-Dimensional World: The Virtual Aesthetics of Early Artists’ Holograms’, Archives of American Art Journal [expected publication spring 2023].

E. Johnson, ‘Review of Thomas Morgan Evans, “3D Warhol: Andy Warhol and Sculpture” (London and New York, I.B. Tauris, 2017)’, Sculpture Journal 27, no. 1 (2018): 137-38.

E. Johnson, ‘The Body of the Text: Bruce Nauman’s Words’, Sculpture Journal 25, no. 3 (2016), pp. 391-405.