Ian Rothwell profile photo

Job title:

Lecturer in Contemporary Art History and Digital Culture


0.52, John Higgit Gallery, Hunter Building

Office hours:

Every Wednesday afternoon, by appointment


Dr Ian Rothwell is a Lecturer in Contemporary Art History and Digital Culture at the University of Edinburgh where he teaches research-led courses on art after the internet and recent approaches to painting. His first monograph, Postinternet Art and its Afterlives, was published as part of the Routledge Advances in Art and Visual Studies Series in December 2023. He is currently working on a new book project titled Painting is Bad, which analyses how and why painting might have become the 'bad object' of contemporary art. He is also a founding member of Content Providers, a pan-European research network dedicated to studying new visual cultures of online platforms. 

In 2020 Ian achieved a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.


Ian teaches the following course options:

Bad Painting: Humour, Sarcasm, and Stupidity in Modern and Contemporary Art (3rd year)

Images under Control: Aesthetics of Digital Culture (4th year)

Art and Digital Culture (PGT)

In addition, he is course organiser of History of Art 2, a team-taught pre-honours course, which examines aspects of the visual arts from c.1700 to the present day.


Art, visual culture, and criticism after the internet; contemporary approaches to painting

Recent and upcoming talks and publications include:


Co-convener of AI, Automation, and Abstraction, panel at the Association of Art History Annual Conference 2024 (University of Bristol, 5th April)

"The Guilty Pleasure of Paint: Zombie Painting", Guilty Pleasures: Art History and Other Clichés, panel at CAA 2024 (Chicago, 14th February) 


"Horror, Fascism, and Expressionism: Jon Rafman's Art in the Age of 4Chan", in Andrea Wood and Jamie McDaniel (eds.), Broadening the Horror Genre: From Gaming to Paratexts (Routledge, forthcoming)

Postinternet Art and its Afterlives (New York; London: Routledge, 2024)

"Thomas Ruff and the Horror of Digital Photography", Philosophy of Photography, Vol. 12. No. 1 - 2 (January 2023), pp. 93 - 109.

"Suicidal Experiments: the Earth represented in Red Bull’s Stratos", in Benek Cincik and Tiago Torres-Campos (eds.), Postcards from the Anthropocene Unsettling the Geopolitics of Representation (dpr Barcelona, 2021), pp. 62 - 67. 

Related programmes