essayist + critic


Curriculum Vitae


Alexandra Marraccini

Critic in Residence + Adjunct Professor
IDM, NYU Tandon

Education and Employment




Postdoctoral Researcher in Art History (PhD, University of Chicago, 2018), Bilderfahrzeuge Project: Aby Warburg And The Future Of Iconology, Warburg Institute, Fall 2018- Spring 2023

2021-2022 National Book Critics Circle Emerging Critics Fellow

Research Focus: Criticism as method, visual history of science and technology, antiquarianism, style and historiography, comparative aesthetics, Cryptoart and transhistorical writing, theorizing art on the blockchain, art and emerging technologies


We The Parasites: on criticism as form, parasitism, theft, reading art and literature to form the self, classicisms, Twombly, and queer desire (February 2023 -- Sublunary Editions, US Rights— October 2023 UEA/Boiler House Press, Beyond Criticism Series, UK Rights)

Recent Writing on Art And Emerging Technology:

For the Cleveland Review Of Books:

“American Returns: A Collage”-- On digital postphotography, Ansel Adams, Lana Del Rey, and Americana.

For the Verso Press blog:

“The Mutilated World”. On fascist aesthetics, AI architecture, neoclassicisms, and cryptostates.

For Hyperallergic

“Waiting for the Drop: On Crypto-Art and Speed ”. Feature theoretical piece on acceleration, Virilio, and theorising the NFT. January 2022.

“Marina Abramović, Mobs, and the Cult of the Hero”. On Abramović’s new piece, The

Hero 25 FPS, the nature of heroes, internet cruelty, Marat-Sade, and mobs. September 2022.

Book introduction:


For Dmitri Cherniak and Helena’s Sarin’s generative art collaboration, Gen2GAN. A consideration of the history of algorithmic generative art, Diderot’s staircase, choreography, distance and agency. Spring 2023.

For Artforum:

“Ethereal Presence: NFTs And the Theatre of Risk”-- on Michael Fried’s ‘Art and Objecthood’ and theorizing the webs3 smart contract as para-medium, including a turn to theological language and code as law/word. June 2022.

Exhibition essay: 

Arebyte Gallery, London-- commissioned La Turbo Avedon Club Zero exhibition essay “L’Inconnue/L’avatar”—on Rilke and the inchoate avatar as digital self. June 2022.

Commissioned essay for Taschen NFT volume:


On Matt DesLaurier’s Meridian series and algorithmic generative landscape as form.  Submitted May 2022, publication forthcoming.

For Right Click Save

“On the new evolution of generative art A.V. Marraccini discusses the work of Michaël Zancan and Matt DesLauriers, two emerging stars of a generative renaissance”. February 2022.


“Betting on Babel” On Pak’s Lost Poets participatory conceptual art as NFT, and Borgesian resonances of market as form. 30 November 2021.

Piece on Marcelo Sorario and Andreas Rau’s generative art, music, and code piece Toccata, Prokofiev, and end-of-the-world sensibilities.

Peer Reviewed Scholarly Publications

“The Nautilus And The Pearl: Accreting The Early Modern English Collection” (Journal of the Northern Renaissance, January 2022)

“Fleshly Wisdoms: Image Practices, Bodies, and the Transmission of Knowledge in a  Sixteenth Century Alchemical Miscellany” (December 2017, Word & Image).


"Open Secrets: Alchemical-

Hermetic Iconography In The Ripley Scrolls"— Abraxas.Special Issue No 1: Charming Intentions:  Papers from the Conference at the University of Cambridge, 3-4 December 2012. Summer 2013.


Book Review: “Peter M. Daly. The Emblem In Early Modern Europe: Contributions To Theory Of The Emblem. (Ashgate 2014)” in Renaissance Quarterly  69.2 [2016].

Selected Earlier Early Modern Work:

“Ludovicus Vives and the College of Bees.” Essay about humanist philosophy, gardens, refugee status, and intellectual history for the Corpus Christi College, Oxford Pelicanspecial quincentennial edition. December 2017.


Summary catalogue and other catalogue entries (including public blog ‘discovery’ announcement) for Bodleian MS Germ. F.5 R [2015]


“Bishop Foxe’s Humanistic Library and the Alchemical Pelican” in The Pelican Record, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, December 2015.


“The Bittersweet World: On An Emblem Book of Zincgref and Merian” published digitally with the Society for Emblem Studies. Summer 2014.


Other Writing And Criticism (collated on my literary website,

For BOMB Magazine:

“Duvet Theory”— experimental piece on Fra Angelico, Caravaggio, images of conversion and the nature of certainty. In Bomb 156, Summer 2021.

For Softpunk Magazine:

“The Built Environment Makes Me Horny— On Bachelard, The Internet Space, And Ruin.” 13 December 2021.

For The Times Literary Supplement:

“Jack In Black: Reading Our New John Donnes” (cover piece). 14 February 2020.

“Tenderly Entangled” (long essay) – on new science and speculative fiction in the global sphere. 19 February 2019.


“In Brief: The Anthropocene”. 6 November 2018.


“Language of the Making”. On the non-fiction and life’s work of Ursula K. LeGuin 19 June 2018.


“Stories For Rebel Girls”. Review of an illustrated history of women writers (Literary Witches).  6 March 2018.


“A Study Called Utopia”. Review of Mark Purcell’s The Country House Library in Bibliography. 19 December 2017. 


“Medieval Malibu”. Review of the exhibition catalogue Illuminating Women In The Medieval



Cover essay for Dilettante Army:

“Lend Me Your Geometries” On Christopher Wren, Restoration London, city planning, fires, Riemann curvatures, the persistence of history, Japanese Metabolist architecture, Agnes Martin, grids, and other things that are or are not a torus. 17 November 2020.

Essays for The Los Angeles Review of Books:


‘Method Wars’ – creative nonfiction on the discussion of criticism methodology as Battle Royale. 8 September 2021. 


            Mordew and the New Leftist Imaginary. 19 September 2020.

            “Ducks, Summer” On Lucy Ellman’s Ducks, Newburyport. 20 August 2019.

Essays for Firmament magazine, as part of a regular ongoing column, ‘Object Crushes (material cultural crushes in the literary mode)’:


Vol 2. 3.—‘Crusader Kings’—short fiction on medieval computer game NPCs and theology (Summer 2022).

Vol. 2. 1.-- Cleromantics— on the Arnolfinis, casting lots, and love (Winter 2022)

No. 3 ‘Scarf’ short story-- on Brutalism, vulnerability, mass and the body, (Fall 2021)

No. 2 ‘Murex’: parafiction-- on past and future Phoenicias, wondrous objects, and rarity.

(Summer 2021)

No.1- 'Sword', essay-- on Mishima, Iaido, doubt, and hesitation. (Spring 2021)

Essays For The Brixton Review Of Books:

            On Small Press Poets, and the nature of poetic riskiness. Fall 2019.


            On James Brookes’ Spoils (the pastoral, the baroque in modern poetry). Fall 2018.


On Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan (feminism, medievalism, and climate fictions). Winter 2017.

Essay-Reviews for Review 31:  (Regular columnist)

“Give Me Difficulty”-– a review/critique of the British Museum’s Nero exhibition with a focus on historiography and the ‘new classics’ of postcolonial theory and praxis.  July 2021.

“Old Cages, New Bodies, New Scrutiny”— a review of Paul B. Preciado’s Can The Monster Speak?. June 2021.

“Intimacy At the End of the World” On the Gagosian Le Bourget’s exhibition, Anselm Kiefer Field of the Cloth of Gold.  10 March 2021.

“Plop, plop, plop, plop.” Review 31, on Laura Waddell for Object Lessons: ‘EXIT’. 26 November 2020.

“Avian Histories” On Richard Smyth’s An Indifference Of Birds. July 2020.

On new writing in queer/trans theory, Paul B. Preciado’s An Apartment On Uranus: ‘How To Fuck With Your Desires” February 2020

For the Bilderfahrzeuge Blog-- assorted short pieces, most recently including:


“Consider The Pigeon” on the English baroque and perspectives from animal studies during the pandemic. (Fall 2020)

A review of online exhibition, considering netart evolving as the “New New Media” in the age of lockdown. (Spring 2020)

A short essay on Rosalind Krauss, Derrida, and Twombly’s Commodus series as queer art. (Winter 2020)

For the Dirt  (NFT-funded contemporary design and media culture Substack):

Dirt: Only Knitters Left Alive On virtual architecture, the aesthetics of “Cottagecore”, and accidental vampirism. October 2021.

Dirt: I’m a Sims interior decorator– a humorous take on the Late Capitalist suburban MidMod smash-up aesthetics of The Sims 4 architecture and design. June 2020.


Previous Academic Affiliations and Employment


[As of Trinity Term, 2019—January 2019]: Visiting Member, Centre for the Study of Greek and

Roman Antiquity, Corpus Christi College, Oxford


Cataloguer and Editor, Iconclass/ (Brill database and online researchtool for images and the digital humanities). Member of ICONCLASS Expert Working Group. Data architecture design.


Doctoral Dissertation: “Unfolded Worlds: Allegory, Alchemy, and The Image As Structure of Knowledge In Early Modern Northern European Scientific Books”


University of Chicago (PhD, Art History, Awarded May 2018)--Advisors: Rebecca Zorach,

Laurence Grove (University of Glasgow), Jas’ Elsner (Universities of Chicago and

Oxford), Aden Kumler


Doctoral Research Co-Affiliations:


University of Oxford, Bodleian Library Centre For The History of The Book

RSA-Kress-Bodleian Fellow, Michaelmas Term 2016


University of Glasgow:

Sir William Stirling Maxwell Fellow, Academic Year 2015-16 

(fellowship in residence winter term 2016)


University of Oxford, Corpus Christi College:

Recognised Student, Postgraduate History of Art, Hilary and Trinity Terms 2015, Academic Year 2016-17. Visiting member 2017- summer 2018. 


University of Toronto(MA, Medieval Studies), 2010-2011


Yale University (BA History), 2005-2010 (winter),

Advisors: Paul Freedman [history], Christopher Wood [art history]


Selected Conference Papers, Panels, and Lectures


Winter 2012—Paper "Open Secrets: Alchemical-Hermetic Iconography In The Ripley Scrolls". Presented at Charming Intentions: Occultism, Magic and the History of Art conference, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.


Summer 2014- “The Bittersweet World: On An Emblem Book Of Zincgref AndMerian”— pr esented at the International Society for Emblems Studies conference, Kiel, Germany, July 2014


Spring 2015- “The Mind, The Garden, And The Flask: Ways of Knowing In

Elias Ashmole’s Alchemical Manuscripts” at the Nosce Te Ipsum/ Know Thyself: Images In Early Modernity conference at University College London.


Summer 2016—“The Six-Fold Mirror: Alchemical Process As Image in Glasgow MS. Ferguson 6”.  At: Scientiae: Disciplines of Knowing In The Early Modern World.


Spring 2017— “Asphalt and Bitumen, Sodom and Gomorrah: Placing Yale’s Voynich Manuscript on the Herbal Timeline.” Oxford Medieval Graduate Conference.


Spring 2018 — Notice Me/Love Me/Learn Me: Garden Fauna, Attention, and Affect in Two Bodleian Ashmole Alchemical Books” Attention and Distraction: A Graduate/Early Career Conference. University of Cambridge (Sponsored by the Faculty of English). 


Winter 2018— "Shell Games: Print Sources, Representation, and Oceanic Objects in the English Early Modern Cabinet.” At the Book & Print Initiative speaker series, University of London, Institute for English Studies.


Spring 2019— Conference Paper: “Motile Stones: Pearls, Bezoars, and Other Accretions In Early Modern English Collections”. Renaissance Society of America, March 2019, Toronto.

Spring 2019— Conference presentation at Bilderfahrzeuge Workshop: Image/Vessel – “Pomander,” London.


Fall 2019— [cancelled due to illness] “Between Nature And Art: Liminality and Representation in the Early Modern English Cabinet,” paper at 20th VöKK (national association of Austrian Art Historians) Conference ‘At the Threshold. Liminality in theory and art historical practice.’ Vienna.

Fall 2019 – Conference presentation at Bilderfahrzeuge Workshop: Toxic Art Histories, “The Oozing English Baroque,” Berlin.

Spring 2020— [Postponed indefinitely due to Coronavirus] Presentation at “Critical Acts Symposium: Beyond Criticism” on criticism, antiquarianism, and queer desire.

Fall 2020—Bilderfahrzeuge Work in Progress talk “Crisis Architecture, Speculative Futures:

Restoration London and Metabolist Tokyo, Some Case Studies”

Spring 2021—Research group WIP talk: “Jean Tijou’s 1693 Ironwork Book, Christopher

Wren, and Paper Architecture.”

April 2022 -- “Floor Anatomies: Implicit Histories, Pattern, and Experience in Wren’s City

Churches” at RSA 2022. Dublin. [cancelled due to COVID]

July 2022—Panel on the role of criticism and NFTs, Proof of People (Tezos art conference). London.

December 2022Warburg Lecture: The Grid, The Tomb, The Pharos: Technologies of Inscription And The Blockchain

Spring 2023  -- Talk at conference “The Mutilated World” on AI generated images and fascist aesthetics in digital architecture

Workshops and Conferences Organised

Fall 2019— “Toxic Art Histories” (an international workshop under the auspices of the Bilderfahrzeuge Project) with C. Oliver O’ Donnell and Judith Rottenburg. Berlin. 

Summer 2020—Chair of session at Society of Renaissance Studies Norwich on ‘Energaia’ in

Early Modern Art and Science [Postponed due to Coronavirus]

Panel for RSA 2022 In Dublin on 17thC Ornament and New Aesthetic Theory co-chaired with Stephanie Porras (“Rethinking Early Modern Ornament”). [cancelled due to Covid]

Bilderfahrzeuge Project (Spring 2023)—‘Disembodied’ – paper and organized session on architecture, digital futures, and possible sensoria


Selected Lectures As Invited Speaker

14 February & 5 March 2022: Royal College of Art: MA Writing program, seminars on “Engine For Thinking”—writing transhistorical criticism with the Warburg Library’s collections and into the future of iconography and representation online

8 October 2020:  Royal College of Art, postgraduate programme in Art Writing, guest seminar. “Plato/Sontag: Close Reading Erotics and Aesthetics”

17 February 2020: University of the Arts, London: Central Saint Martins. Guest Lecture: “Criticism, Parasitism, And Desire”.


27 February 2019— Forumsvortrag des Kunsthistorischen Seminars, University of Basel.

Lecture: “The Nautilus And The Pearl: Dutch Gazes, Oceanic Objects, And The English

Seventeenth Century Collection”


10 March 2016 - Sir William Stirling Maxwell Fellowship Lecture: “The Guts Of The Thing: The Alchemical Body In Print and Manuscript In Glasgow MS Ferguson 6”. University of Glasgow.


Selected Courses

Fall 2023 -- Introduction to Theory and Criticism of Art and Technology (NYU, grad)

AY 2020-21—Dissertation writing supervision (Critical Studies) for Central St. Martin’s/UAL

BA Fine Art students

February 2021: University of the Arts: Central Saint Martins, invited seminars to BA Fine Arts students on art writing via 1) Plato, classical canons, and aesthetics, and 2) Donna Haraway, prosthesis, and extended humanity in the expanded field.


Spring 2016— “Blood and Ink: Art at the Time of the Protestant Reformation” (Art

History/College Core course, university of Chicago) 


[Developed all course materials, assigned reading, gave two 1.5 hour lectures a week and graded/administered all student work]


Fall 2013-- “Leonardo and Michelangelo” (Art History/College Core course, with

Professor Charles Cohen, Writing Tutor)


Spring 2014—“The Global Middle Ages” (Art History/College Core course, with

Professor Heather Badamo, Writing Tutor)


Fall 2015—“20th Century Art” “ (Art History/College Core course, with Professor Matthew

Jesse Jackson )


Public Lectures, Outreach and Non-Credit Seminars


Fall 2015— “Wolf Hall and the Reformation” and “Was There A Renaissance?” seminars at the University of Chicago Graham School (public/continuing education)


Fall 2016—Public lectures on the Ripley Scroll on display at the Bodleian’s Weston Library

Treasures Gallery [October 29]


Winter 2017— Outreach lecture and seminar with Magdalen College School, Oxford history students (ages 12-17) on manuscripts and images as source material for historical writing [January 18]


Summer 2019—co-taught and helped with administration of Warburg Institute inaugural summer school

Winter 2020— Topics in art history outreach lectures on gaming and streaming service during a term of lockdown

Language Proficiences:

German (including Mittelhochdeutsch), French and Italian (reading and some basic speaking), Latin and Ancient Greek (reading), currently learning modern Japanese for basic speaking/reading and archival work, broad palaeographical training on work in manuscript across languages