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Recent work by Michael Craig-Martin on view at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire
Stoker Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire (C), and his wife Amanda, Duchess of Devonshire (L), stand with Michael Craig-Martin (R) looking at an umbrella sculpture.

DERBYSHIRE.- Michael Craig-Martin will be the featured artist at Chatsworth in a rare exhibition devoted entirely to his recent work as a sculptor opening in March 2014.

The exhibition will comprise twelve large-scale sculptures, six of which will be unveiled for the first time, placed in the historic gardens and landscape at Chatsworth. Each work is an immense line drawing in space fabricated in steel and painted in a vibrant hue. Commonplace objects - an umbrella, a high heel shoe, a wheelbarrow - are dramatically enlarged and positioned to actively engage with their landscape setting.

To accompany the exhibition, Michael Craig-Martin has delved into Chatsworth’s spectacular collection and curated a classical sculpture tour of the house. In addition the artist has also personally selected a group of portraits from the Devonshire Collection of old master drawings, regarded as one of the finest collections in the world.

The exhibition is curated by the artist and Hannah Obee, Exhibitions Curator at Chatsworth House.

Michael Craig-Martin was born in Dublin in 1941 and educated in the United States, studying fine art at Yale University. He returned to Europe in the mid-1960s, becoming one of the key figures in the first generation of British conceptual artists. He taught at Goldsmith's College School of Art from 1974–88 and 1994–2000, where he was a powerful influence on a generation of his students who became known as the Young British Artists, including Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas, and Damien Hirst.

From his early box-like constructions of the late 60’s he moved increasingly to the use of ordinary household objects, playing against the logic of his sources. In 1974, he exhibited his iconic piece An Oak Tree, consisting of a glass of water standing on a shelf high on the gallery wall. In the accompanying text, he asked himself questions to assert that, despite appearances, he had changed the glass of water into an oak tree. In the late 70’s he began to make line drawings of ordinary objects, creating over the years an ever-expanding vocabulary of images which form the foundation of his work to this day. Craig-Martin continued working in various mediums, always maintaining an elegant restraint and conceptual clarity. During the 1990s the focus of his work shifted decisively to painting, with the same range of boldly outlined motifs and luridly vivid colour schemes in unexpected combinations applied both to works on canvas, and to increasingly complex installations of wall paintings.

Craig-Martin's work is in many public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Tate Gallery, London, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. He has had solo exhibitions at institutions across the world including Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2006) and most recently Krefeld Museum, Germany (2013). A retrospective of his work was presented at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1989) and a second at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2006–07). Permanent large-scale installations can be seen at the DLR Station Woolwich Arsenal, the European Investment Bank, Luxembourg, and the Laban Dance Centre, Greenwich, a collaboration with architects Herzog and DeMeuron. He was an Artist Trustee of Tate from 1989-99, received a CBE in 2001, and was elected to the Royal Academy in 2006. The artist lives and works in London.

Chatsworth, set in the heart of the Peak District, is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and has been passed down through sixteen generations of the Cavendish family. As well as its inspiring architecture, landscape and history, Chatsworth also houses the Devonshire Collection, one of Europe’s most significant art collections.

Successive generations of the Devonshire family have commissioned leading artists as well as those less well known since the 17th century up until today. The 12th Duke and Duchess, and their son and daughter-in-law, share their predecessors’ enthusiasm for contemporary art. Fine and decorative art acquired over nearly 50 years, is on view throughout the visitor route as well as displayed and used in their private apartments. Family portraits by Lucian Freud and (give old master example) share rooms with works by Sir Anthony Caro, Ai Weiwei and Michael Craig Martin. Outdoor sculpture by Allen Jones, Barry Flanagan and Richard Long join 18th-century marbles in the garden; silver by Hiroshi Suzuki and Kay Ivanovich sits alongside baroque metalwork inside the house; and a recent table in ceramic by James Rigler pushes the boundaries of craft.

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March 13, 2014

Recent work by Michael Craig-Martin on view at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire

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