Founded in 1998 by Charles Esche and Mark Lewis, Afterall became a UAL Research Centre in 2016. Afterall originated as a publishing project, launching Afterall journal in 1999. The journal offers in-depth analysis of artists’ work alongside contextual essays.
It is published by Central Saint Martins in partnership with M HKA, Antwerp; the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto and in association with The University of Chicago Press. It was previously produced in association with California Institute of the Arts (2002–2009); Universidad Internacional de Andalucía arteypensamiento (2011–2014); the Smart Museum of Art and the Department of Visual Arts–Open Practice Committee, University of Chicago (2012–2015), the Art Gallery of Ontario (2016–18), and NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (2017–2020).
In 2006, Afterall launched the One Work series, which focuses on significant works of contemporary art. Founded with the MIT Press, the series has grown into a small library of works, each presented with a critical mapping of the aesthetic and cultural context in which it was made and that it has gone on to shape. The Two Works series, in which an artist responds to a key text that has informed their understanding of art and its histories, was launched in 2016. Afterall began publishing Critical Readers in 2006, which focus on specific areas of modern and contemporary art practice and gather together key texts, artists’ statements and manifestos. Titles have been produced in partnership with Tate Publishing and Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), forthcoming titles will be distributed by Koenig Books.
In 2010, Afterall initiated its Exhibition Histories publication series, which explores the public exposition and discussion of artworks and curatorial propositions. The resulting books and websites present critical analysis of landmark or significant art exhibitions that have left their mark on art history, as part of the wider field of research activity, Art Becoming Public. Exhibition Histories is currently published in association with Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. Previously, it was supported by Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna; the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; and Mudam, Luxembourg.