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In this year’s Chairman’s Choice Presentation, Martínez Celaya considers possible ways of being in the world as artists—but not just as artists—that resist and ultimately overcome the disenchantment of our age.
Enrique Martínez Celaya is an artist and author who during the early part of his career worked also as a scientist. His work has been exhibited and collected by major institutions around the world and he is the author of books and papers in art, poetry, philosophy, and physics. He is the Roth Family Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Dartmouth College and has been named the Provost Professor of Humanities and Arts at the University of Southern California. Having developed a practice influenced by and in dialog with literature and philosophy, Martínez Celaya has created projects and exhibitions for the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, The Phillips Collection, Washington, the Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, and the Pérez Art Museum Miami, among others, as well as for institutions outside of the art world, including the Berliner Philharmonie in Berlin, Germany, and the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, and the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., among others. His work has been the subject of several monographic publications including Enrique Martínez Celaya, 1992-2000 published by Wienand Verlag (Köln), Enrique Martínez Celaya: Working Methods published by Ediciones Polígrafa (Barcelona), and most recently Martínez Celaya, Work and Documents 1990-2015 published by Radius Books (Santa Fe).
Before his current academic positions at Dartmouth College and the University of Southern California, Martínez Celaya was appointed as the second Presidential Professor in the history of the University of Nebraska in 2007, and from 1994 to 2003 he taught as a tenured professor in the faculty of Pomona College and Claremont Graduate University. Martínez Celaya was a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College and has received the Knight Foundation Grant, the National Artist Award from the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, the California Community Foundation Fellowship, J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for the Visual Arts, the Cecil and Ida Green Honors Chair at Texas Christian University, the Young Talent Award from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and he was a Regents Fellow of the University of California at both Berkeley and Santa Barbara. He is the founder of Whale & Star Press and the author of books in philosophy, poetry and art, including On Art and Mindfulness: Notes from the Anderson Ranch, published by Whale & Star Press (Los Angeles) in collaboration with the Anderson Ranch Arts Center; Collected Writings and Interviews 1990-2010 and The Nebraska Lectures, both published by the University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln); October, published by Cinubia (Amsterdam); as well as the artist book Guide, which was later serialized by the magazine Works & Conversations (2002). As a physicist, Martínez Celaya published scientific papers on superconductivity and lasers, and is the inventor of several patented laser devices. He has worked in collaboration with scientists, entrepreneurs, writers, musicians, and architects, including the Canadian rock-band, Cowboy Junkies, the poet and Nobel-Prize-winning chemist, Roald Hoffmann, and the novelist Mary Rakow. He has offered lectures at venues around the world including the American Academy in Berlin and the Aspen Institute. In 1998, as an extension of his commitment to the education and formation of artists, Martínez Celaya founded Whale & Star Press, an imprint that publishes books on art, poetry, art practice, and critical theory. In addition, he has sponsored programs for children, provided scholarships for artists, and assisted schools in curricular development.
Martínez Celaya was born in Cuba in 1964 and raised in Spain and Puerto Rico. He initiated his formal training as an apprentice to a painter at the age of 12. In 1986 he received a BS in Applied Physics and a minor in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and in 1988 he received an MS with a specialization in Quantum Electronics from the University of California, Berkeley. While a graduate student, he conducted part of his research at Brookhaven National Laboratory where also painted the Long Island landscape. He completed all course work for the Ph.D. and a significant part of his dissertation before abandoning physics for art in 1990. In 1994 he attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture and in the same year he earned a MFA with the department’s highest distinction from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
Supported by: Sheila and David Fuente