Gi l d a   Wi l l i a m s

art critic

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the things she writes about

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Based in London since 1994, Dr. Gilda Williams (b. New York) is a contemporary art critic and teacher; editor of ON&BY Andy Warhol (MIT/Whitechapel Press, 2016); and author of the bestselling art book How to Write about Contemporary Art (Thames & Hudson, 2014), now published in six languages. 

Senior Lecturer on the MFA at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and guest lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London, MA in Contemporary Art, Dr. Williams has also taught at the Frieze Academy and in the the Guardian’s ‘Masterclass’ series. She is a London correspondent for Artforum magazine and a member of the International Association of Art Critics.  

Her book review of HalFoster’s Bad New Days - frieze blog Nov 2015, was No. 1 on Ben Davis/’s ‘10 Must-Read Art Essays’ Nov 2015. Her essay on the current state of art criticism, and perils of writing artist’s statements,  'Write On', Art Monthly Mar 2015, Williams.pdf,  is on Ben Davis/’s list of ’10 Must-Read Art Essays’, Mar 2015.

In 2011 she was a judge on the Max Mara Art Prize for women artists; in 2014 a nominator for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Artists; in 2018 a judge for the Other Art Fair; from 2016 a member of the Whitechapel Ventures Board and the advisory committes for the Lund Humphries Painters Book Series.

She gives numerous talks, in London: at the Serpentine Gallery; Tate Modern; Tate Britain; The Whitechapel Gallery; The South London Gallery; The Photographer’s Gallery; Camden Arts Centre; The Goethe Institute; across the UK: MAC, Belfast; The Oxford Museum of Modern Art; The Folkestone Triennial; Nottingham Contemporary, Whitworth Museum, Manchester; Leeds Art Gallery; Towner Museum, Eastbourne; Bristol University; and abroad, at The Garage Museum for Contemporary Art, Moscow; Hangar Bicocca, Milan; the University of Cartagena, Colombia; NYU Abu Dhabi. 

Catalogue texts include Mark Dion (Whitechapel Gallery); Christian Marclay (Kunstverein Aargauer); Anne Truitt (Stephen Friedman Gallery); Charles Avery (Gemeentemuseum); Yayoi Kusama (Victoria Miro Gallery); Sarah Lucas (Henry Moore Institute); Fiona Rae (Leeds Art Gallery), Ugo Rondinone (Whitechapel Gallery). 

From 1994-2005 she was Editor and Commissioning Editor (1997-2005) for Contemporary Art for Phaidon Press, London. 

During her 11 years at Phaidon Press, she was pivotal in their growing contemporary art publishing programme, and edited and commissioned some 50 monographs in the ‘Contemporary Artists’ series. She also edited such anthologies as Minimalism, Land and Environmental Art, Conceptual Art, The Artist’s Body, Arte Povera and Art and Feminism in Phaidon’s ‘Themes and Movements’ series. She was commissioning editor and creator of the ‘cream’ series of biennials-in-a-book, cream (1998), fresh cream (2000) and cream3 (2003). Other commissioned books include Salon to Biennale: Exhibitions that Made History (2011) and Gordon Matta-Clark (2003)


In 2005 Williams co-authored The Art Book for Children, which has been translated into 10 languages and was awarded Children’s Illustrated Book of the Year by the English Association. Her other special interests include art writing, curating, new art from the UK, new perspectives on Andy Warhol, and understanding how ‘the Gothic’ aesthetic might be defined and identified in contemporary art. 

In 1994 Williams moved to London from Milan, Italy, where she was Managing Editor of Flash Art International.  She holds a doctorate in architecture from the University of Milan, and a PhD in art history with the Open University on defining the Gothic in contemporary art. Curatorial projects include ‘History Stripped Bare’, at Vilma Gold Gallery, London,  ‘London Orphan Asylum’ (co-curated with Clare Manchester),  ‘Arte all’Arte’ (co curated with Roberto Pinto), ‘Strange Days, British Contemporary Photography’, Claudia Gian Ferrari Gallery, Milan.

Dr. Williams has served as an advisor to the Arts Council of England (2001, 2005), the Whitechapel Gallery (2008; 2016), the Scottish Arts Council (2003), and the British School in Rome (2000). She has been a visiting tutor at Central Saint Martins;  and the Royal College of Art, London, and has lectured at Westminster University, London; the Slade School, London; NYU Abu Dhabi; Leeds Beckett University; Northampton University and more.

gilda at; g.williams at

See also author’s page, Thames & Hudson; Artforum contributors page; frieze, author’s page


all about

in conversation with Yinka Shonibare MBE, BP Art Award lecture, Tate Britain, November 2010.

gallery talk with Jockum Nordstrum, Camden Arts Centre, London, July 2014 (listen to podcast)

in conversation with Christian Marclay, Tate Modern, November 2007

‘The little red book everyone                                                 in the art world should have’
-- Art Monthly, Feb 2015

‘A gem of a primer’
-- Tom Morton, ‘Best of 2014’, frieze blogReview,_Art_Monthly,_How_to_Write_About_Contemporary_Art.htmlReview,_Art_Monthly,_How_to_Write_About_Contemporary_Art.html

in conversation with Grayson Perry, October 2012, Victoria Miro Gallery, London, for (on youtube)

in conversation with Lawrence Weiner, Sept 2014, South London Gallery, London, (on youtube)

‘An epic achievement... 
If Andy were alive he would probably say, “Oh, wow. Why didn’t I think of that”.’
-- Bob Colacello


                                                                           photo: Ricky Adam watch webcast, Gilda Williams, ‘Art Writing in the Second Machine Age’ talk, Leeds Beckett University,

3 February 2017

interview with Plinth, October 2016,

on youtube