Michael Craig-Martin
Irish conceptual artist and painter



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Michael Craig-Martin
Irish conceptual artist and painter
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Date of Birth

August 28, 1941

Place of Birth

Dublin, Ireland

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Works by Michael Craig-Martin

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Right when you think you have a handle on the art world and nothing could surprise you, along comes a guy like Michael Craig-Martin.

From a distance, the Dublin born, Yale educated, Irish artist seems like a bit of a normal guy. He keeps himself well dressed, hair modestly parted, outfitting himself in tasteful coordinating black, but then he does something like his conceptual piece Oak Tree, where he places a glass of water on a transparent shelf and calls it a fully manifested oak tree. You see Michael Craig-Martin came into his prime during the era of conceptual art - a period in the '70’s where an artwork's aesthetics and marketability both took backstage to the idea that work of art represented, or its “concept.” Probably the easiest way to understand conceptual art is via Joseph Kosuth’s One and Three Chairs.

Personally, I find the majority of conceptual work a bit of a joke. But Michael here doesn’t, and the seriousness by which he takes his work is precisely how the man became a principal figure in British conceptual art. It is, then, a bit sad that in the 1990's he made a switch to painting. Currently, Michael Craig-Martin’s work is defined by illustrations of objects done in uniquely bright colors. It is very similar to the work produced during the pop-art movement in the 1960’s and in fact one of his pieces, Soup Can strongly resembles Andy Warhol’s Camble’s Soup Cans.

However, if you think that this shift to more conventional mediums of art might have mellowed out the man a bit, you would be wrong. Michael Craig-Martin is still rocking his incredibly unique mind. In an interview with the Guardian in 2012 he had the opportunity to talk about anything and he chose to spend a minute talking about chairs manufactured in the 1950’s.

In 2016, he was knighted during the Queen’s Birthday service, and the once Irishman currently lives and works in London, doing God knows what.




  1. Craig-Martin, Michael “The Catalan Suite I - Soup Can, 2013” Art Space 2019
  2. Gagosian. “MICHAEL CRAIG-MARTIN : About” 2019
  3. Manzoor, Sarfranz “Michael Craig-Martin interview - the Guardian” 05/28/2012
  4. Sorrell, Hanna “MICHAEL CRAIG-MARTIN : Biography” 2019

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Michael Craig-Martin

Sir Michael Craig-Martin CBE RA (born 28 August 1941) is an Irish-born contemporary conceptual artist and painter. He is known for fostering and adopting the Young British Artists, many of whom he taught, and for his conceptual artwork, An Oak Tree. He is Emeritus Professor of Fine Art at Goldsmiths. His memoir and advice for the aspiring artist, On Being An Artist, was published by London-based publisher Art / Books in April 2015.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Michael Craig-Martin.