Artangel’s Co-Directors James Lingwood and Michael Morris have announced their decision to step down from the organisation which they have led for 30 years.
Since they became Co-Directors in 1991, Artangel has generated some of the most widely discussed art of recent times and is one of the most consistently admired cultural organisations, respected by artists and audiences alike in Britain and beyond.
Since 1991, James and Michael have produced over 125 projects including Rachel Whiteread’s House, Michael Landy’s Breakdown, Jeremy Deller’s The Battle of Orgreave, Gregor Schneider’s Die Familie Schneider, Francis Alys’s Seven Walks and Roger Hiorns’s Seizure, and drawn audiences to a wide range of places from the empty Reading Prison to the Palace of Westminster, the west coast of Iceland and the island of Portland, downtown Detroit and London’s Oxford Street
James and Michael’s final year of new Artangel commissions will be in 2022/3. The recruitment of a new Director will begin immediately, to be in place by early 2022 and developing the future vision for Artangel.
James Lingwood and Michael Morris said:
“It’s been a rollercoaster ride, without always knowing when the track is about to loop. Working like this demands great faith from artists, angels, our staff and board, funders, and friends too. Without their belief, Artangel could not have thrived over the past three decades and our most memorable projects would never have seen the light of day. We’ll be stepping off the rollercoaster at the end of 2022. Artangel will move forward, imagined afresh under new leadership. We’re excited to see what happens next.”
Artangel – A Brief History
For more than three decades, Artangel has developed close collaborations with many of the world’s leading artists, filmmakers, writers, composers and performers to produce surprising new works of scale and originality. There have been recurrent landmarks along the way; exceptional projects shaped by different places, seizing public attention and continuing to resonate long afterwards.
From Michael Clark’s Mmm…, a radical reworking of The Rite of Spring with his mother Betty and muse Leigh Bowery to Rachel Whiteread’s concrete cast of a terraced house, London has been at the heart of Artangel’s work since the early 1990s.
Over the thirty years that have followed, signature projects ranging from Michael Landy’s Break Down, P J Harvey’s Recording in Progress, and Steve McQueen’s Year 3 to Taryn Simon’s An Occupation of Loss, Jorge Otero-Pailos’s The Ethics of Dust and Roger Hiorns’s Seizure, have exerted a magnetic pull to particular destinations in the city.
Some projects unfold over a single day, such as Jeremy Deller’s re-enactment of The Battle of Orgreave in South Yorkshire; whilst others evolve over the long term, notably Jem Finer’s continuous thousand-year Longplayer.
Sometimes the visitor experience is solitary. Witness the unnerving encounter with Gregor Schneider’sDie Familie Schneider or Janet Cardiff’s immersive audio walk, The Missing Voice, both sited in Whitechapel. At other times large crowds gather, such as the multitudes drawn to Ryoji Ikeda’s spectra over seven summer nights in 2014 to mark the centenary of the First World War.
Moving image works such as Matthew Barney’sCremaster 4, Yael Bartana’s And Europe will be Stunned, Francis Alys’ Seven Walksand Tony Oursler’s The Influence Machine have been widely seen around the world, as have Artangel’s feature films for the cinema, including Clio Barnard’s The Arbor and Here for Life by Andrea Luka Zimmerman and Adrian Jackson.
Artangel has often spread its wings beyond the capital, notably with presentations from The Artangel Collection throughout the UK. Comprising more than 25 film and video works, the collection was set up in partnership with Tate in 2011 to mark 20 years of Artangel commissions under the directorship of James Lingwood and Michael Morris.
Most commissions begin as conversations with an artist but sometimes they are inspired by a site. The silent cells and chapel of the empty Reading Prison, where Oscar Wilde was incarcerated, housed haunting works by artists, writers and readers including Rita Donagh, Marlene Dumas, Robert Gober, Richard Hamilton, Nan Goldin, Wolfgang Tillmans, Doris Salcedo, Patti Smith and Colm Toíbín. Currently at Orford Ness on the Suffolk coast, Afterness has just begun, with new installations by artists Alice Channer, Emma McNally and Tatiana Trouvé for this former military test site and a walking trail in which new writing by poet Ilya Kaminsky can be heard on headsets.
Further afield, Artangel has realised three major long-term commissions – Roni Horn’s Vatnasafn/Library of Water in Iceland, Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead in Detroit and Cristina Iglesias’ Tres Aguas in Toledo, attracting audiences to places of enduring significance for each artist.
Artangel was established as a charitable organisation in 1985, and is generously supported by Arts Council England, the private patronage of the Artangel International Circle, Special Angels, Guardian Angels and The Company of Angels. Over 500 individuals have been ‘angels’ for Artangel over the past three decades and a successful fundraising campaign in 2018 created a £2m Artists for Artangel fund for new commissions artangel.org.uk