Peter Davies
British artist



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Peter Davies
British artist
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Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Arty Fact

More about Peter Davies

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Peter Davies creates text paintings ranking his favorite artworks as an act of rebellion against art history.

Peter Davies was born in Edinburgh in 1970 and currently lives and works in London. He is known for his dry humor of conceptualism combined with the elegance of formalism. As Davies explains, “It allows conceptualism to be a ‘look’ and formalism to be an ‘idea’.” While he was in art school, his text painting, Gothic, which was essentially a list of all the artists he considered to be “gothic” with accompanying explanations, was shown at Lost in Space, an artist-run gallery in London.

Text paintings were popular in the 70s, although Davies departs from its traditional aesthetic. Instead of executing this technique with the dryness of his predecessors, Davies’ works are colorful, squiggly lists of contemporary art.

His first notable text painting was the Hot One Hundred, which ranks famous artworks and essentially is a list of Peter Davies’ favorite things. The piece put Davies on the map, and its success resulted in a sequel, the Hip One Hundred. In 2001, he created a third installment in the series, the Fun One Hundred.

Davies was also featured in the controversial exhibit Sensations, a collection of artworks owned by Charles Saatchi, namesake of the Saatchi Gallery. The collection was shown at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Hamburger Bahnof in Berlin, and the Brooklyn Museum in New York. It included works of many Young British Artists and young British artists (uncapitalized). During its three-month run at the Royal Academy, it had on average 2,800 visitors per day and a total of 284,734 visitors.

However, the controversial exhibit’s time at the Brooklyn Museum had a different reception. The pronographic and violent images, including a shark submerged in formaldehyde was altogether too much for the then Mayor Rudolph Guliani (who may or may not be afraid of sharks) who cut $7 million from the museum’s budget. Don’t worry; it was later restored after Guliani lost the court battle. The infamy led the National Gallery of Australia to dip out for fear of the inevitable public outcry from selachophobia (the fear of sharks).

Besides exhibiting in some of the best museums in the UK, he also is a lecturer at University College, London’s Slade School of Fine Art where he continues to research the legacy of conceptualism and the validity of abstract painting. His painting the Fun One Hundred, appears in the Hedonist’s Guide to Art under the chapter “the Pleasures of Being an Artist” along with a conversation with the editor of the book, Laura K. Jones. In the conversation, Davies speaks of the inherently hedonistic and rebellious life of the artist saying, “You can’t make exciting work if you are a total square.”






  1. Applin, Jo. “Small Touching Squares Painting.” Tate. February 2014.
  2. “Entertainment Sensational Hit for Royal Academy.” BBC. December 30, 1997.
  3. Jones, Laura K. The Hedonist’s Guide to Art. London: Filmer Ltd, 2010.
  4. “Mr. Peter Davies.” University College London, Slade School of Fine Art. Accessed September 10, 2019.
  5. “Peter Davies.” Artnet. Accessed September 10, 2019.
  6. “Peter Davies.” Saatchi Gallery. Accessed September 10, 2019.
  7. “Peter Davies Biography.” PicassoMio. Accessed September 10, 2019.
  8. “Peter Davies, the Fun One Hundred.” Eyestorm. Accessed September 10, 2019.
  9. “'Super Star Fucker - Andy Warhol Text Painting', Peter Davies.” Liverpool Museums. Accessed August 22, 2019.
  10. Vogel, Carol. “Australian Museum Cancels Controversial Art Show.” The New York Times (New York, New York.) December 1, 1999.

Featured Content

Here is what Wikipedia says about Peter Davies (artist)

Peter Davies (born 1970, Edinburgh, Scotland) is an artist based in London.

Davies ' at the Royal Academy of Art in London, Centro Brasileiro Britanico in Sao Paulo, Saatchi Gallery in London, Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik in Denmark and ICA in London. Davies won the John Moores Painting Prize in 2002.

His work is held in the collection of the Tate Gallery.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Peter Davies (artist).