Wall received his MA from the University of British Columbia in 1970, with a thesis titled Berlin Dada and the Notion of Context. That same year, Wall stopped making art. With his English wife, Jeannette, whom he had met as a student in Vancouver, and their two young sons, he moved to London to do postgraduate work at the Courtauld Institute from 1970–73, where he studied with Manet expert T. J. Clark. Wall was assistant professor at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1974–75), associate professor at Simon Fraser University (1976–87), taught for many years at the University of British Columbia and lectured at European Graduate School. He has published essays on Dan Graham, Rodney Graham, Roy Arden, Ken Lum, Stephan Balkenhol, On Kawara, and other contemporary artists.