The Emotion of Disgust in Art

This project examines the emotion of disgust in the visual arts and their reception. Using an interdisciplinary approach and drawing on theories from both the humanities as well as the sciences, the project analyses elements of disgust in contemporary artistic practice and investigates into their strategic use, effects, and meanings for artist and audience within its larger social and cultural context.

Collaborations: San Diego State University, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Universite Paris-Saclay (2015): development of a standardized computational approach to assess coral reef environments based on evaluation of their aesthetic appearance .

Outcomes to date:


„Food Decay and Disgust. Paul McCarthy’s Bossy Burger as Contemporary Still Life’”, in: Silvia Bottinelli, Margherita d’Ayala Valva (eds.), The Taste of Art. Food, Cooking, and Counterculture in Contemporary Practices, Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press 2017, pp. 93-105.

Ent-Grenzung und Groteske: Ekel in den performativen Installationen Paul McCarthys“, – Journal für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte, vol. 4/2016.

Can we measure beauty?: Computational Evaluation of Coral Reef Aesthetics,” with Andreas F. Haas, Marine Guibert, Tim Co, Sandi Calhoun, Forest Rohwer et al, in: PeerJ, Peer-Reviewed Open Access Journal, 10 November 2015.

“Sex, Violence, and the Human Body: Disgust and Censorship in the Visual Arts”, GENRE – International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Literature and the Arts, Long Beach 2012, pp. 85-100

talks: „Crossing the Line: Women, Performance Art and the ‚Disgusting Body‘,“ Annual Meeting Kulturwissenschaftliche Gesellschaft,  Bodies in Motion, Ghent University, November 16-18, 2017.

„Ent-Grenzung und Groteske: Ekel in den performativen Installationen Paul McCarthys,“ International Symposium Art and Emotion: The Aesthetic of Feelings, Swiss Institute for Art Research (SIK-ISEA), Zurich, November 5-6, 2015

„Food Disgust and Decay: Paul McCarthy’s Bossy Burger as Contemporary Still Life,“ College Art Association’s Annual Conference, New York, session: Creative Kitchens: Art, Food, and the Domestic Landscape after World War II , February 13-16, 2013.

„Sex, Violence and the Human Body – Disgust and Censorship in Art,“ 47th Annual Comparative Literature Conference Drawing the Line(s):Censorship and Cultural Practices, California State University, Long Beach, 2011.