Dr Verónica Tello
Senior Lecturer

Dr Verónica Tello

PhD, Art History/Visual Culture, University of Melbourne, 2013

Arts,Design & Architecture
School of Art & Design

Senior Lecturer, Contemporary Art History and Theory 

I am a Chilean-Australian art historian and writer. My research predominantly focuses on queer and transnational archives in/out of the Pacific, Latin America and Australia.

I completed my PhD (art history) at the University of Melbourne in 2013. My PhD was the basis of my first book, Counter-Memorial Aesthetics: Refugee Histories and the Politics of Contemporary Art (Radical Aesthetics Radical Art series, Bloomsbury Philosophy, 2016). The book takes as its historical focus the protracted ‘global refugee crisis' from the 1990s to the present, across Australia, the UK and the Americas. It analyses how, within contexts marked by intensified border politics, contemporary artists have been grappling with how to represent, archive or abstract contested migratory histories. Within national landscapes brimming with monuments, 'counter-memorial aesthetics' opens up numerous tactics to understand the various ways that often invisible and/or erased migratory histories pass through us, and have the potential to reshape us, time and again.   

My second book, Future South: 8 Dialogues on Art and History is forthcoming (Dec, 2021) with Third Text Publications as a bilingual (English/Spanish) edition. Through 8 dialogues, the book develops a moving conceptual vocabulary of the aesthetics, politics, histories and potentialities of the Global South in collaboration with artists, writers and curators such as: Salote Tawale, Rolando López, Walter Mignolo, Dylan AT Miner, Zoe Butt, Jennifer Biddle, Ruth Simbao, Rachel O'Reilly, Carla Macchiavello and many others. (The project began in 2017 as an online dialogical project, futuresouths.org, and is substantially developed for the book). 

In my current scholarship, I have been focussing on the archive of the queer/Chilean artist Juan Dávila, and my own archive through methods of auto-theory. This new project has two main strands: the first focuses on the exhibition history of Margins and Institutions: Art in Chile after 1973 (1986), which I read as forging queer and transnational solidarity networks between Chilean and Australian arts workers, especially Juan Dávila, Paul Foss, Paul Taylor and Nelly Richard, during the Pinochet dictatorship. I will be developing a monograph on the exhibition history of Margins and Institutions, a critical re-staging of exhibition in Santiago (originally the exhibition was only seen Australia - across the Experimental Art Foundation, George Paton Gallery, Artspace, Chameleon and Praxis, parts of this project are developed in collaboration with the Chilean archivist, Sebastián Valenzuela Valdivia). The second strand of this new project focuses on Juan Dávila's video and performance work, and how these works unsettle the heteronormative/settler-colonial logics of Australian art history. 

In addition, I am currently working on an ARC Linkage project focussed on how collections and archives can catalyse epistemological experiments and equity (or, structural change) within Australian regional art museums. The project, entitled Parallel, project embraces the potential of the ‘parallel’ or the ‘para’ as a way of being adjacent to, beyond or distinct from the structural formations that are typically the case in Australian art institutions.

From 2023-2027 I will be the Editor in Chief of the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Art, published by Taylor & Francis. I am currently Sydney editor of MeMO review.

Recent publications: 

(with Sebastián Valenzuela-Valdivia), "A Partial History of South–South Art Criticism: Juan Dávila’s Collaborations with Art & Text and Chilean Art Workers during the Pinochet Dictatorship, 1981–1990", Third Text, 2022 . Available here.

"Juan Dávila, Self-Portrait as Ingre’s Violin (1984)", Queer Readings of the Monash University Collection, 2021. Available here.

"I, You, We, Together: For Juan, Paul and Paul", Barbara Cleveland: Thinking Business, Eds Diana Baker Smith and Kate Blackmore, Goulburn, 2020. Available here.

"What is Contemporary about Institutional Critique?", Third Text, 2020. Available here.

with Diana Baker Smith, Opening Night (The Order of Arrangements) (2020), Know My Name, National Gallery of Australia. Details here.


  • Books | 2022
    Tello V; Simbao R; Miner DAT; Mignolo W; Butt Z; Hernández É; Machiavello C, 2022, Future Souths: Aesthetics and Dialogues of the Global Souths, Third Text Publications and ÉCFRASIS, London and Santiago, http://thirdtext.org/publications
    Books | 2016
    Tello V, 2016, Counter-Memorial Aesthetics: Refugee Histories and the Politics of Contemporary Art, Radical Aesthetics Radical Art, Bloomsbury, London and New York, http://bloomsbury.com/us/counter-memorial-aesthetics-9781474252744/
  • Book Chapters | 2022
    Tello V, 2022, 'How to Appear? Writing art history in Australia after 1973', in Wake C; Suliman S; Little S (ed.), Performance, Refuge, Resistance, Routledge, London and New York
    Book Chapters | 2019
    Tello V, 2019, 'Is Contemporary Art Postdevelopmental? A Study of 'Art as NGO'', in Morreo Boada C; Klein E (ed.), Postdevelopmental Practice, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 306 - 320, https://www.routledge.com/Postdevelopment-in-Practice-Alternatives-Economies-Ontologies/Klein-Morreo/p/book/9781138588677
    Book Chapters | 2019
    Tello V, 2019, 'The Speculative Collectivity of the Global Transnational, Or, Social Practice and the International Division of Labour', in Eckersall P; Grehan H (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 151 - 155, https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge-Companion-to-Theatre-and-Politics-1st-Edition/Eckersall-Grehan/p/book/9781138303485
    Book Chapters | 2018
    Tello V, 2018, 'Aesthetic Autonomy at the Border: Notes on Necro-Art', in Lushetich N (ed.), The Aesthetics of Necropolitics, edn. Experiments/On the Political, Rowman and Littlefield, London and New York, pp. 55 - 55, https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781786606853/The-Aesthetics-of-Necropolitics
    Book Chapters | 2017
    Tello V; Campus in Camps , 2017, 'Collective Dictionary: Political', in Hlavajova M; Sheikh S (ed.), Former West: Art and the Contemporary After 1989, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass, pp. 656 - 656
  • Edited Books | 2020
    Baker Smith D; Blackmore K, (ed.), 2020, Barbara Cleveland: Thinking Business, Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, Goulburn, https://goulburnregionalartgallery.com.au/exhibitions/barbara-cleveland
  • Journal articles | 2022
    Tello V; Valenzuela-Valdivia S, 2022, 'Southern Atlas: Art criticism across the Pacific during the Pinochet regime (1975-1990)', Third Text Online
    Journal articles | 2021
    Tello V; Valenzuela-Valdivia S, 2021, 'A Partial History of South-South Art Criticism: Juan Dávila's collaborations with Art & Text and Chilean art workers during the Pinochet regime (1981-1990)', Third Text, vol. 35, pp. 709 - 731, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09528822.2021.2019954
    Journal articles | 2020
    Tello V, 2020, 'What is contemporary about institutional critique?', Third Text, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09528822.2020.1841409
    Journal articles | 2019
    Tello V, 2019, 'Counter-memory and and–and: Aesthetics and temporalities for living together', Memory Studies, vol. 17, pp. 1 - 12, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1750698019876002
    Journal articles | 2016
    Tello V, 2016, 'Performing Crisis: Critical Solidarity in/with the Silent University', Broadsheet, vol. 45, pp. 31 - 34, http://www.cacsa.org.au/?page_id=781
    Journal articles | 2016
    Tello V; Fisher L, 2016, 'The Fiction of Aftermath: Public Art, Public Imagination and the Aesthetics of Anthropogenic Crisis', Australian Humanities Review, vol. 60, pp. 1 - 20, http://australianhumanitiesreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/AHR60_Tello-and-Fisher.pdf
    Journal articles | 2014
    Tello V, 2014, 'Counter-Memory, Heterochronia, and 'History Painting' (After Géricault): Dierk Schmidt's SIEV-X - On a Case of Intensified Refugee Politics', Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture, vol. 3, pp. 21 - 37, http://dx.doi.org/10.5195/contemp.2014.106
    Journal articles | 2014
    Tello V, 2014, 'The Aesthetics and Politics of Aftermath Photography: Rosemary Laing's welcome to Australia (2004)', Third Text: third world perspectives on contemporary art and culture, vol. 28, pp. 553 - 560, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09528822.2014.970775
    Journal articles | 2012
    Tello V, 2012, 'Review: Rhetorical Gestures: The 18th Biennale of Sydney', Afterall (Online), http://www.afterall.org/online/rhetorical-gestures-the-18th-biennale-of-sydney/
    Journal articles | 2011
    Tello V, 2011, 'Between Counter-memory and Paranoia: Dierk Schmidt's triptych: Xenophobe, Freedom and Untitled (Louvre) (2001/2002)', Tijdschrift Kunstlicht, vol. 32, pp. 16 - 23
    Journal articles | 2010
    Tello V, 2010, 'Review: The Division of the Earth', Afterall (Online), http://www.afterall.org/online/4982
  • Creative Written Works | 2021
    Tello V, 2021, Juan Dávila, Self-Portrait as Ingre's Violin (1984), Queer Readings of the Monash University Collection, Ratliff M; Parker FE, (ed.), Monash University Museum of Art, https://www.monash.edu/muma/collection/queer-readings-of-the-collection/queer-readings-of-the-collection/juan-davila
    Creative Works (non-textual) | 2020
    Baker Smith D; Tello V, 2020, Opening Night (The Order of Arrangements), Know my Name, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 14 November 2020 - 14 July 2021, at: https://knowmyname.nga.gov.au/events/opening-night-order-arrangements/
    Creative Written Works | 2020
    Tello V, 2020, I, You, We, Together: For Juan, Paul and Paul, Thinking Business: Barbara Cleveland, Goulburn Regional Gallery
    Creative Works (non-textual) | 2020
    Tello V; Baker Smith D; Bullock N; England J, 2020, Know My Name Conference, Know My Name, National Gallery of Australia, 10 November 2020 - 13 November 2020, medium: Conference, at: https://knowmyname.nga.gov.au/events/know-my-name-conference/
    Conference Presentations | 2018
    Tello V, 2018, 'On the Margins of Global Art History', presented at Art Association of Australia and New Zealand, RMIT, Melbourne, 04 December 2018 - 08 December 2018, http://aaanz.info/aaanz-home/conferences/2018-conference/
    Other | 2018
    Tello V, 2018, Counter-Memory and Migratory Aesthetics: Staying with the Many Times of Global Contemporaneity, University of Munster, Munster, https://www.uni-muenster.de/Kunstgeschichte/index.html
    Other | 2017
    Performance Studies International (ed.), 2017, Decolonial Everywhere Study and Planning Group, Performance Studies International, Hamburg, http://www.psi-web.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/PSi23-OverFlow-schedule.pdf
    Curatorial Outputs | 2017
    Tello V, 2017, Future Souths: Dialogues and Aesthetics of the Global Souths, exhibited at: online, 03 July 2017 - 23 August 2017, Future Souths: Dialogues and Aesthetics of the Global Souths, http://futuresouths.org/
    Reports | 2017
    Tello V, 2017, ‘Research Panel: ”Futuring Education”, co-convened with Dr Caroline Lennette, UNSW Forced Migration Research Network, Refugee Alternatives: Improving Policy, Practice and Public Support, Refugee Council of Australia, Sydney
    Conference Presentations | 2017
    Tello V; Nguyen J, 2017, 'Decolonial Everywhere Study and Planning Group: Infrastructures of Knowledge', presented at Affective Shifts: Inside and Outside the Nation and Body, UNSW Art & Design, Sydney, 21 February 2017 - 21 February 2017
    Conference Presentations | 2017
    Tello V; Nguyen J; Macauley L; Odugbesan A; Thomopoulos C, 2017, 'Decolonial Everywhere Study and Planning Group (workshops)', presented at Performance Studies international, Hamburg, 07 June 2017 - 11 June 2017
    Conference Presentations | 2016
    Biddle J; Munster A; Tello V, 2016, '[Convened Seminar Series]', presented at precarity//futurity//aesthetics, CCAP and Visual Anthropology, NIEA, UNSW Art & Design, -
    Conference Presentations | 2016
    Tello V, 2016, 'Enduring Crises of Statelessness', presented at Performance Studies International, Melbourne, 05 July 2016 - 09 July 2016, http://www.psi2016.com/
    Conference Papers | 2016
    Tello V, 2016, 'Post-Institutional Critique in the Former West', in Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Leonardo/International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST), Boston, presented at Post-Society and Financial Exsanguination:The Social: 4th International Association for Visual Culture Biennial Conference, Boston, 29 September 2016 - 01 October 2016, http://ocradst.org/visualculture2016/
    Creative Written Works | 2016
    Tello V, 2016, Border Thinking, Political: Campus in Campus Collective Dictionary, Campus in Camps , (ed.), Campus in Camps/BAK, http://www.campusincamps.ps/projects/political/
    Creative Written Works | 2015
    Tello V, 2015, BDSM After Art History: My Safe Word is Performance (2014): In Conversation with Sarah Rodigari, My Safe Word is Performance, Barrett F, (ed.), Australian Experimental Art Foundation
    Creative Written Works | 2014
    Tello V, 2014, The Displacements of Lynne Roberts-Goodwin, MORE THAN EVER, M Contemporary, http://trove.nla.gov.au/version/210606947
    Theses / Dissertations | 2013
    Tello V, 2013, The Aesthetics of Counter-Memory: Contemporary Art and Refugee Histories After Tampa, University of Melbourne, University of Melbourne, http://hdl.handle.net/11343/38305
    Creative Written Works | 2013
    Tello V; Rodigari S, 2013, Act Natural, Going Down: An Anthology of Contemporary Feminist Sydney Performance, Rodigari S; Olivieri J, (ed.), ISCP, New York
    Conference Presentations | 2012
    Tello V, 2012, 'Distillations of Time: The Politics of Aftermath Photography and Rosemary Laing's to walk on a sea of salt (2004)', presented at Art Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference, University of Sydney, 11 July 2012 - 12 July 2012, http://aaanz.info/aaanz-home/conferences/2012_conference/
    Conference Presentations | 2010
    Tello V, 2010, 'After Géricault: Dierk Schmidt's 'History Paintings' for SIEV-X', presented at Association of Art Historians Conference, University of Glasgow, 15 April 2010 - 17 April 2010, http://www.aah.org.uk/annual-conference/past-conferences/2010
    Conference Presentations | 2009
    Tello V, 2009, 'Dierk Schmidt: SIEV-X and the recalibration of mass media images', presented at Art Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference, Australian National University, Canberra, 26 November 2009 - 28 November 2009, http://aaanz.info/aaanz-home/conferences/conference-2009-open-themed/
    Creative Written Works | 2009
    Tello V, 2009, Interview with Rosa Martinez, Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art, Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art, http://whitehotmagazine.com/articles/2009-interview-with-rosa-martinez/1704
    Creative Written Works | 2008
    Tello V, 2008, History Will Repeat Itself: Inke Arns Interview, Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art, Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art, http://whitehotmagazine.com/articles/february-2008-inke-arns-interview/1147
    Curatorial Outputs | 2008
    Tello V, 2008, team Australia, exhibited at: Carlton Hotel Studios, Melbourne, 04 December 2008 - 20 December 2008, team Australia, http://glennwalls.com/category/prototype-for-sophisticated-living-4-team-australia-curated-by-veronica-tello-part-2/
    Creative Written Works | 2006
    Tello V, 2006, Fe, Fie, Faux Femme, Feminist Actions, Nextwave Festival and Spacement Gallery
    Creative Written Works | 2006
    Tello V, 2006, Spewtiful: Ali Sanderson, Studio 12: Ali Sanderson, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, http://trove.nla.gov.au/version/32890785
    Curatorial Outputs | 2006
    Tello V, 2006, Feminist Actions, exhibited at: Spacement, Next Wave Festival, Melbourne, 15 March 2006 - 26 March 2006, Feminist Actions, http://nextwave.org.au/gallery/next-wave-festival-2006/
  • Media | 2017
    Tello V; Tawale S, 2017, Culture Connect, Murray Albury Museum of Art, Murray Albury Museum of Art

2021-2024: Australian Research Council, Linkage, Australian Regional Art Museums, Resettlement and Structural Change, with Ien Ang (Western Sydney Uni) and Salote Tawale (USyd) and Murray Art Museum Albury.

2020: Australia Council for Arts - Individual and Group Project funding, Australian Exhibition Histories: Margins and Institutions: Art in Chile after 1973 (1986) 

2019-2021: PLuS Alliance Research Fellowship, Latin American Art Networks 

2015-2018: UNSW Vice-Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Decolonial Futures and Contemporary Art

2015: Bundanon Trust Writer’s Residency, Counter-Memorial Aesthetics: Refugee Histories and the Politics of Contemporary Art 

I am currently undertaking four inter-related research projects:

  • Exhibition history of Margins and Institutions: Art in Chile after 1973 (1986) focussed on the queer and transnational solidarity networks forged by Chilean and Australian arts workers, especially Juan Dávila, Paul Foss, Paul Taylor and Nelly Richard  (for parts of this project I am working with Sebastián Valenzuela Valdivia): 2017-2023


  • Juan Dávila's performance/video works and the heteronormative/settler-colonial logics of Australian art history: 2020-2024


  • (with Diana Baker Smith) analysis of the settler-colonial/possessive histories and epistemological underpinnings of the National Gallery of Australia and its collection, culminating in the video artwork entitled Opening Night (The Order of Arrangements) (2020), and related essay for the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art (2022)


  • Analysing how the curatorial can advance structural change to make present figures and histories shaped by migration/dispossession: in collaboration with Salote Tawale, Distinguished Professor Ien Ang, Philip Mar and the Murray Albury Museum of Art (funded by the Australian Research Council, Linkage program): 2021-2024.

I convene the following courses within the Bachelor of Fine Art - across art history/theory, curatorial and studio: 

  • Australian Art, 1st year level (Art History/Theory)
  • Global Contemporary Art, 3rd year level (Art History/Theory) and Masters of Curating and Cultural Leadership
  • Contemporary Art Theories and Methods, 4th year/Honours level (Studio and Theory)