Sir Michael Craig-Martin RA (b. 1941)

Michael Craig-Martin grew up and was educated in the United States. He studied Fine Art at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture and, on completion of his studies in 1966, he moved to London where he has lived ever since. His early work drew together a variety of objects and materials and questioned the nature of art and representation. An Oak Tree, 1973, is one of his best-known early works. His more recent work, which includes painting, printmaking, site-specific installations, drawing, and digital pieces, continues to depict common place objects.

Craig-Martin had his first solo exhibition at the Rowan Gallery in London in 1969. Since then he has shown regularly both in the UK and internationally. Most notably there have been three major retrospectives of his work – at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1989, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin in 2006, and at the Serpentine Gallery in 2015. He has had solo exhibitions in public galleries in Germany, France, Ireland, Poland, Austria, Spain, China and South Korea. Group exhibitions include the British conceptual exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in 1972, The New Art, and the 1996 exhibition Un siecle de sculpture anglaise at the Jeu de Paume in Paris. He was the British representative at the São Paulo Biennial in 1998. He was awarded a CBE in 2001 and was knighted in 2016 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to art. He was Trustee of the Tate Gallery from 1989 until 1999 and of the Art Fund from 2005 until 2015.

Craig-Martin is also widely recognised as an effective and influential teacher. His teaching career started in 1966, but it is his period at Goldsmiths College, London, for which he is best known. His former students include many of those artists who made such a significant impact on the art scene in the 1990s; these include Damien Hirst, Gary Hume and Sarah Lucas.

He has curated exhibitions, including Drawing the Line, which toured venues including the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1995, and the 247th Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in 2015. He has also published many articles, essays and the book, On Being an Artist (2015).


Royal Academician


Born: 1941 in Dublin

Nationality: Irish

Elected RA: 12 December 2006

Elected Senior RA: 1 October 2015

Gender: Male

Preferred media: Painting, Sculpture, and Printmaking

Works by Sir Michael Craig-Martin in the RA Collection

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Associated books

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Associated archives

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