Steve McQueen is a British artist. He studied at Chelsea College of Art and Design, Goldsmiths College, and the Tisch School at NYU. McQueen, who often appears in his own works, is known for his multi-layered, fascinating films and his utilization of extreme and unexpected camera angles. He won the Turner Prize in 1999 for his exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and an OBE in 2002. His work is represented in museum collections throughout the world and he has shown widely in important group and solo exhibitions. These include Documenta X and XI, the 50th and 52nd Venice Biennales, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Museu Serralves, Oporto, Fondazione Prada, Milan, and the Renaissance Society, Chicago. As Official War Artist to Iraq, commissioned by the Imperial War Museum in 2003, McQueen generated international media attention with one of his rare non-film works Queen and Country.
McQueen has been equally concerned with the act of recording moving images as he is with the specific conditions in which these images are presented. The size of the screen, the dimensions of the room, and the relationship between the viewer and the projection itself are all fundamental considerations. McQueen's thinking about formal and spatial relationships in this regard lends a sculptural element to his art. One work in particular, Queen and Country (2007–09), is an entirely sculptural installation with no moving image or sound component. Presented here for the first time outside of the United Kingdom, the work is a memorial to British men and women killed in military service during the most recent war in Iraq.
Most of McQueen's oeuvre—including his gallery-based installations as well as feature films—evidences a potent, at times oblique, political consciousness. Many works address specific social and historical moments in ways that seemingly emerge from documentary or journalistic impulses. Other films are more abstract, their meanings shaped by allegory or metaphor. McQueen always communicates directly to viewers through what one writer termed "the medium of aesthetic affect."
McQueen was awarded the 2008 Gucci Group Award for the direction of Hunger, a striking, strong and emotional film which is about the last six weeks of the life of Provisional Irish Republican Army hunger striker Bobby Sands.
This exhibition is coorganized by the Art Institute of Chicago and Schaulager, Basel, Switzerland
The Art Institute of Chicago