Michael Craig-Martin, a prominent figure in British conceptual art, explores the interplay between objects and images, using symbols and pictures to evoke the human imagination. Over the last forty years, his primary focus has been the perceptual relationship between objects, representations, and language. Initially, his work incorporated readymades and references to American Minimalism, showcasing his conceptual clarity and elegant restraint. The fascination with semantics and the interaction between rhetoric and object remains a central theme in his artistic journey.
Michael Craig-Martin, born in 1941 in Dublin, Ireland, and educated in the United States, where he studied Fine Art at the Yale School of Art and Architecture, has been a prominent figure in British conceptual art since relocating to Britain in 1966. Craig-Martin's work has been featured in solo exhibitions worldwide, held in prestigious museums like the Kunstverein Hannover in Germany, Institut Valencià d’Art Modern in Spain, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. His art can be found in various public collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris, and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. In 1998, Craig-Martin represented Britain in the 23rd Sao Paulo Biennial. He served as a Tate Trustee from 1989 to 1999 and received a CBE honor in 2000. In 2006, he was elected as a Royal Academician (RA), and in 2016, he was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to art. Craig-Martin's influence on generations of British artists is notable through his tenure as a professor at Goldsmiths College School of Art in London, where he taught from 1974 to 1988 and later from 1994 to 2000. His influential teaching left a lasting impact on students who would later become known as the Young British Artists, including Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, and Gary Hume. In the fall of 2024, the Royal Academy of Arts, London, will present a retrospective, Michael Craig-Martin, the largest exhibition of the artist’s work in the United Kingdom. Craig-Martin is represented by Gagosian and Cristea Roberts in London. He lives and works in London and Venice.