College of Arts and Sciences

Ken Allan, PhD

  • Ken Allan, PhD
    PhD, Art History
    Associate Professor, Art History
    Phone: 206-296-5369
    Building/Room: Fine Arts 216


    PhD, University of Chicago, 2005
    MA, University of Chicago, 1998
    AB, Washington University in St. Louis, 1994

    Modern & Contemporary Art History



    Ken D. Allan teaches courses on modern and contemporary art and specializes in American art of the 1960s. He received his MA and PhD from University of Chicago. Recent upper-level courses and seminars include, “Space and Site in Contemporary Art” and “Trauma, Image, Text: History & Representation after WWII.” His research focuses on the rise of the Los Angeles art scene in the 1960s and issues such as urbanism and spectatorship in postwar American art. Recent publications include a co-written chapter and short essays for the Getty Museum book, Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art, 1945-1980 (Getty Publications, 2011), and an exhibition catalog essay on art and the city for The City Dynamic: Representing Crisis and Renewal in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, 1960-1980 (Princeton University Press, forthcoming, 2015), and articles in academic journals on Ed Ruscha’s paintings and photo books (Art Bulletin, September 2010) and Wallace Berman, jazz and the Los Angeles underground (Art Journal, Spring 2011).


    Allan is working on a book project entitled Object Lessons: Experiencing Pop Art in 1960s Los Angeles. It addresses the relationships between artistic practice, social space and spectatorship in the art of Wallace Berman, Edward Kienholz, Billy Al Bengston and Ed Ruscha. He has presented his work at conferences in the UK, Canada and the US and was a member of the advisory committee for Getty Museum exhibition “Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970.” He has been invited to speak on art in 1960s Los Angeles at The Art Institute of Chicago, The Getty Center and The Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.

    Allan’s writing on art and artists in Seattle includes an essay on Margie Livingston’s “paint objects” at Louis De Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, and gallery catalog essays on Isaac Layman’s photography at Lawrimore Project, Seattle and Deborah Ascheim’s installation Threshold at Suyama Space, Seattle. Allan also collaborated with Layman on a project for the exhibition Intellectual Property at the Hedreen Gallery, Seattle University.

    Space & Site in Contemporary Art
    Trauma, Image, Text: History & Representation after WWII
    Art since 1945: Foundations of Contemporary Art & Criticism
    The Status of the Artist: Renaissance Intellectual & Modern Social Critic

    Journal Articles:
    “City of Degenerate Angels: Wallace Berman, Jazz and Semina in Postwar Los Angeles,” Art Journal, Spring 2011.
    “Ed Ruscha, Pop Art and Spectatorship in 1960s Los Angeles,” Art Bulletin, September 2010.

    Book Chapter and Short Essays:
    “For People Who Know the Difference: Defining the Pop Art Sixties,” co-authored with Lucy Bradnock & Lisa Turvey, Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art, 1945–1980, Getty Publications, 2011.

    “Brittin by Baza,” “Duchamp in Pasadena,” “The Artists’ Protest Committee,” Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art, 1945–1980, Getty Publications, 2011.