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Adrian Searle

Born, 1951 in UK

Adrian Searle is chief art critic of The Guardian newspaper in Britain, and has been writing for the paper since 1996. Previously he was a painter. He curates art shows and also writes fiction and is a regular contributer to Frieze magazine.

Before joining the Guardian he wrote for The Independent, Time Out and Artscribe magazine (1976 - 92).

Having previously written on Chris Ofili’s work, in 2003, Searle again wrote on Ofili, for Within Reach, a catalogue produced by Victoria Miro Gallery to accompany the presentation of Chris Ofili at the British Pavilion, Venice 2003. (This was the 50th Venice Biennale, 15 June - 2 November 2003). Searle’s text - A Fine Romance - appeared in Volume One of the three-volume publication. A quote from another text on Ofili, by Searle,  was used in the gallery guide accompanying Ofili’s mid-career retrospective at Tate Britain, 27 January - 16 May 2010. That particular text was Adrian Searle, Going through the motions, The Independent, 27 December 1994.

Searle was one of the jurists for Turner Prize exhibition of 2004, held at Tate Britain, 20 October - 23 December 2004. The other jury members were Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate, and Chairman of the Jury, Catherine David, Director of Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, Robert Taylor, Representative of the Patrons of New Art, and David Thorp, Curator, Contemporary Projects, Henry Moore Foundation.

Along with Kutlug Ataman, Langlands & Bell, and Yinka Shonibare, Jeremy Deller was shortlisted for the Turner Prize 2004. The award was, in due course, made to Deller, for “Memory Bucket, a mixed media installation at Art Pace, San Antonio, documenting his travels through the state of Texas. This continued Deller’s personal investigation of the social and cultural make-up that defines different societies.”

Ataman was shortlisted for “his poignant and incisive video installations which describe the lives of individuals, creating intimate portraits while addressing broader social concerns, as shown at the Istanbul Biennial and other European venues.” Langlands & Bell were shortlisted “For The House of Osama bin Laden, an exhibition first shown at the Imperial War Museum, London, featuring photographs, digital animations and video works made following their visit to Afghanistan, which extended their interest in buildings, their histories and how we relate to them.” Shonibare was shortlisted “For his sculptural installations in which he continues to use African fabric to subvert conventional readings of cultural identity, as seen in his exhibition Double Dutch at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, and in his solo show at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.”

(All quotes from the introduction to the Turner Prize catalogue, 2004, Tate Publishing, London.)

The accompanying catalogue contained introductions - both written and visual - to these artists’ work.

Searle wrote a smaller piece, appended to one of several substantial press features on Yinka Shonibare’s Fouth Plinth sculpture. The full title of the main piece was Bottle of Trafalgar: celebrating Nelson’s victory as multiculturalism triumph on fourth plinth. It was written by Charlotte Higgins, Chief arts writer, the piece was accomanied by a substantial colour photograph taken moments after the work was unveiled. The article appeared in the Guardian on Tuesday 25 May 2010, on page 11. Searle’s supplementarty review of the work was titled Rule Britannia - shipshape and slightly kitsch. From the piece, (View from Below), “ Shonibare’s work is the sort of thing one might come across in a coastal shopping mall, and it sits on a plinth as though on a mantlipiece. I suppose I ought not to like it, but I do, very much.”


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