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Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

March 01, 2007

Cool Britannia Artist to Give First Canadian Talk at U of G

Michael Craig-Martin, one of the pivotal figures in the Cool Britannia art movement in the United Kingdom in the late ’80s and early ’90s, is giving his first Canadian talk March 13 at 5 p.m. in War Memorial Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Craig-Martin is the inaugural speaker for the University of Guelph’s Shenkman Lecture, an annual talk on contemporary art created through a generous endowment provided by Dasha Shenkman, a Canadian art collector who has lived in the United Kingdom for 40 years.

“We are absolutely thrilled with this generous gift,” said U of G president Alastair Summerlee. “Not only will our students benefit from getting to spend time with highly successful artists, but this also helps put the University of Guelph on the map as a leading institution of contemporary art.”

John Kissick, director of the School of Fine Art and Music said one of the things that attracted the lecture committee to Craig-Martin was that, in many ways, “he represents the complete package as a contemporary artist. His practice is rigorous and internationally renowned, but he’s also been intimately involved in the development of young artists and new ideas in the United Kingdom.”

Craig-Martin’s talk, "Putting Things in Context: A Survivor's Guide," will focus on issues around contemporary art, culture and education concerning artists. As he describes it, the talk will "mix reminiscence, personal philosophy, anecdote, self justification, and advice to provide background and put into context the ideas, experiences, and personalities that have shaped my work and life as an artist, and influenced my approach to art education."

He’ll describe how he came to be an artist, his education at Yale and, what brought him to Goldsmiths College at the University of London, where he taught from 1974 to 1988 and was a Millard Professor of Fine Art from 1994 to 2000. Craig-Martin’s lecture will be published in BorderCrossings, a Canadian art magazine.

Before coming to Guelph, Craig-Martin was in Japan creating a new installation at Tokyo’s National Art Centre as part of the “Living in the Material World: ‘Things’ in Art of the 20th Century and Beyond” exhibit, which opened in January and runs until mid-March.

His first one-person show was at the Rowan Gallery in London in 1969. Since then, he has exhibited in solo and group shows around the world, including the definitive exhibition of British conceptual art, “The New Art,” at the Hayward Gallery in 1972.

A major retrospective of his work was held in London at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1989. In 1994, he made site-specific installations at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and at the Museum Sztuki in Lodz, Poland. He also created large-scale site-specific installations at Düsseldorf Kunstverein (1997), Hannover Kunstverein (1998) and Stuttgart Kunstverein (1999). Craig-Martin represented Great Britain at the 1998 São Paulo Bienal, a cultural event that has been hosted in Brazil every two years since 1951. He also created a major wall painting installation at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1999.

In addition to his talk, Craig-Martin will spend time on March 12 and 13 with visual arts graduate students, both as a group and individually, doing studio visits and critiques.

“The idea behind this endowment is to invite speakers who can address the University community as a whole about contemporary art in its many faceted and complicated dimensions, and also for people to gain knowledge and wisdom from the artist that they can apply to their own work,” said Kissick.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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