Born in Dublin, Michael Craig-Martin has lived and worked in the UK since 1966. A leading figure in the British conceptual art movement, he completed both a BA and MFA at Yale (1961-64) in the years following Josef Albers’s chairmanship of the Department of Design, which had seen the modernist infuse Yale’s teaching methodology with the spirit of the Bauhaus. Although Albers was no longer at the school, many of the classes which Craig-Martin took had been devised by him.
“They were taught by his assistants, who had been taught by him and there was no question that you were getting what Albers wanted,” he says. “I knew that they were amazingly intellectually coherent and I have always thought one of the things that has interested me with certain people is that they develop a kind of internal logic about what they do, an aesthetic logic about what they do.”
His first solo show was held at Rowan Gallery, London in 1969, and in 1972 Craig-Martin was included in The New Art at the Hayward Gallery, London, now considered the definitive exhibition of British conceptual art. Craig-Martin’s influence on the development of contemporary British art was consolidated by his role as programme leader of the BA Fine Art programme at Goldsmiths College of Art, London, a role which he held from 1974-88 and 1994-2000.
Craig-Martin was appointed an Emeritus Professor of Fine Art at Goldsmiths in 2001 and was elected to the Royal Academy in 2006. In 2016, he was appointed a Knighthood for his services to the arts.