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 University School of Art. He came to Britain on completion of his studies in 1966, and has lived and worked there ever since.
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, through work in many different media, he has explored the expressive potential of commonplace objects and images. 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.
Over the past fifteen years he has done exhibitions and site specific installations in numerous museums and public galleries including Kunsthaus Bregenz, the Centre Pompidou, MoMA, the Kunstvereins in Hannover, Dusseldorf, and Stuttgart, IVAM in Valencia, the Magasin in Grenoble, the Arp Museum in Rolandseck, and the National Art Center Tokyo. He represented Britain in the 23rd Sao Paulo Biennal. A retrospective of his work was presented at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London 1989 and 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, and is considered a key figure in the emergence of the young British artists in the early 90’s. Amongst his former students are Ian Davenport, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Liam Gillick, Michael Landy, Sarah Lucas, Julian Opie, and Fiona Rae.
He was an Artist Trustee of the Tate Gallery from 1989-99, received a CBE in 2001, and was elected to the Royal Academy in 2006.