Michael Craig-Martin was born in Dublin Ireland in 1941. He grew up and was educated in the United States, studying Fine Art at the Yale School of Art and Architecture. He has lived and worked in Britain since 1966.
His first solo exhibition was at the Rowan Gallery, London in 1969. He participated in the definitive exhibition of British conceptual art, “The New Art” at the Hayward Gallery in 1972. Throughout his career, making work in many different media, he has explored the nature and basic principles of visual language through the use of commonplace objects, images, words, and materials. His best known works include An oak tree of 1973, in which he claimed to have changed a glass of water into an oak tree; his large-scale black and white wall drawings; and his intensely coloured paintings, installations, and public commissions e.g. the DLR station at Woolwich Arsenal, the Laban Dance Centre in Deptford, the Radcliffe Childrens Hospital in Oxford.
He has presented exhibitions in numerous galleries and museums around the world, including the Centre Pompidou and the Museum of Modern Art, and his work is included in many international collections. He represented Britain in the 23rd Sao Paulo Biennal. A retrospective of his work was presented at the Whitechapel Gallery London in 1989, and a second at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin in 2006.
Craig-Martin is well known to have been an influential teacher at Goldsmiths College London where he taught for many years, and is considered a key figure in the emergence of the young British artists in the early 90’s – including Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas, Damien Hirst.
He was a Tate Trustee from 1989-99, is currently a Trustee of the Art Fund, and is an RA.