Personal profile

Research interests

Across his diverse output, he is interested in how the social worlds and aesthetic preoccupations of visual artists can be connected, sometimes in surprising ways, to those within popular music, queer culture and performance.

His latest book No Machos or Pop Stars is a detailed cultural history of the subversive influence of UK art school on popular music culture, telling the story of how fine art painters and performers became post-punk and pop music pioneers. Alongside this he has compiled an LP of unheard and rare art school music The Art School Dance Goes On: Leeds Post-Punk 1977-84. He is currently researching a related volume which will tell the hitherto untold story of the roots of US pop, rock and disco performers in the art and theatre milieu of the 1970s queer underground.

Gavin has written widely on queer art and culture, showing how LGBTQ+ artists have challenged us to think again about how aesthetic judgements are routinely linked to social ones. He has published essays on artists and performers Oreet Ashery, Joe Brainard, Mel Brimfield, Shirley Clarke, Samuel R. Delany, David Hoyle, Kiki and Herb, Larry Rivers, Andy Warhol and others.

He often works collaboratively with other authors and artists on creative projects too, including as co-director of feature film This Is Not a Dream. With writer and curator Heike Roms, he is currently developing a collaborative research project exploring what can be learned from late-twentieth century art schools in the UK and how their histories can inform the crisis in contemporary art education.

Details of all the above can be found on



Trained as a fine artist and art historian, Gavin Butt is a writer and creative researcher who explores the connectedness of visual art, popular music, queer culture and performance.

Butt was formerly Professor of Visual Cultures and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London, Attenborough Chair in Drama, Theatre and Performance at the University of Sussex, and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Cultural Studies at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.

Currently I am co-chair of Northumbria's Contemporary Arts Research Forum.

Education/Academic qualification

History of Art, PhD, Men on the Threshold: The Making and Unmaking of the Sexual Subject 1948-1963, University of Leeds

1 Sept 19921 Dec 1997

Award Date: 1 Jun 1998

History of Art, MA, Social History of Art, University of Leeds

30 Sept 19891 Sept 1990

Award Date: 1 Oct 1990

Fine Art, BA (Hons), Art (Studio Practice) & History of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London

30 Sept 198614 Jun 1989

Award Date: 1 Jul 1989


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