Griselda Pollock (born 11 March 1949) is a visual theorist and cultural analyst, and scholar of international, postcolonial feminist studies in the visual arts. Based in England, she is well known for her theoretical and methodological innovation, combined with readings of historical and contemporary art, film and cultural theory. Since 1977, Pollock has been one of the most influential scholars of modern, avant-garde art, postmodern art, and contemporary art. She is also a major influence in feminist theory, feminist art history and gender studies.
Life and work
Born in South Africa, Griselda Pollock grew up in both French and English Canada. Moving to Britain during her teens, Pollock studied Modern History at Oxford (1967–1970) and History of European Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art (1970–72). She received her doctorate in 1980 for a study of Vincent van Gogh and Dutch Art: A reading of his notions of the modern. After teaching at Reading and Manchester Universities, Pollock went to the University of Leeds in 1977 as Lecturer in History of Art and Film and was appointed to a Personal Chair in Social and Critical Histories of Art in 1990. In 2001 she became Director of Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History at the University of Leeds, where she is Professor of Social and Critical Histories of Art.
Griselda Pollock is regarded as a key proponent of feminism and art history. In her work she is recognised as setting out to challenge mainstream models of art and art history that have excluded the role of women in art, and as exploring the social structures that have led to this process of exclusion. Crucially, Pollock researches the relationship between art and psychoanalysis, and draws on the work of French cultural theorists. She is known for her work on the artists Jean-François Millet, Vincent van Gogh, Mary Cassatt, Bracha L. Ettinger, Eva Hesse and Charlotte Salomon.
In 2014 she was suggested by Michael Paraskos to the BBC to act as the presenter for a proposed remake of the 1969 television series Civilization, a series originated by the art historian Kenneth Clark. Paraskos described Professor Pollock as 'one of the few academics around with the full breadth of knowledge of the sweep of art history.'