He is editor of the interdisciplinary journal, Critical Inquiry, a quarterly devoted to critical theory in the arts and human sciences. A scholar and theorist of media, visual art, and literature, Mitchell is associated with the emergent fields of visual culture and iconology. He is known especially for his work on the relations of visual and verbal representations in the context of social and political issues. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Morey Prize in art history given by the College Art Association of America. In 2003, he received the University of Chicago’s prestigious Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching.
His publications include: “The Pictorial Turn,” Artforum, March 1992; “What Do Pictures Want?”, October, Summer 1996; What Do Pictures Want? (2005);
The Last Dinosaur Book: The Life and Times of a Cultural Icon (1998); Picture Theory (1994); Art and the Public Sphere (1993); Landscape and Power (1992); Iconology (1987); The Language of Images (1980); On Narrative (1981); The Politics of Interpretation (1984).