Exhibition on view January 20 through March 3, 2018
A leading contemporary and conceptual artist, Michael Craig-Martin is a London-based creator of iconic minimalist paintings and prints of quotidian objects. A forerunner in his field for over forty years, he is an educator, painter, and recent author of On Being an Artist (2015). The foremost patron of the Young British Artists—including Damien Hirst, Julian Opie, and others he taught as Professor of Fine Art at London’s Goldsmiths College in the 1970s—Craig-Martin is simultaneously influenced by both conceptualism and the digital age.
Born in Dublin, Craig-Martin moved to Washington D.C. at a young age where he received his early education, later studying at Yale University. Upon returning to Europe in the mid-1960s, he began his artistic career exploring aestheticism, everyday objects, and media inspired by digital animations. Some of his most celebrated work includes the formative piece An Oak Tree (1973), sensationally colored paintings of mass produced objects, and large-scale black and white wall drawings. Over a long and successful career, Craig-Martin has received numerous awards: notably appointment as a Royal Academician in 2006, Chief Coordinator of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2015, and a knighthood for services to the Arts in 2016.
This show is a survey of Craig-Martin’s most recent editions, and examines the iconic use of color, design, and contemporary tension that defines his oeuvre. He employs the universal language of images to communicate the shared value of everyday objects that are both essential and insignificant. Using line drawing that is both precise and unforgiving, these works represent the authenticity that he searches for.
Craig-Martin has been collected by major museums worldwide, including Tate, London; MoMA, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. This winter we are pleased to welcome the work of this internationally recognized artist back to its roots in Washington, D.C.