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Steve McQueen (artist)

Steve McQueen (artist)

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Steve Rodney McQueen CBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (born 1969) is a British artist and filmmaker
Filmmaking
Filmmaking is the process of making a film, from an initial story, idea, or commission, through scriptwriting, casting, shooting, directing, editing, and screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a theatrical release or television program...

. He is a winner of the Golden Camera at the Cannes Film Festival, a Turner Prize
Turner Prize
The Turner Prize, named after the painter J. M. W. Turner, is an annual prize presented to a British visual artist under the age of 50. Awarding the prize is organised by the Tate gallery and staged at Tate Britain. Since its beginnings in 1984 it has become the United Kingdom's most publicised...

 and BAFTA.

Early years


Born in London, McQueen grew up in West London and went to Drayton Manor High School. He was a keen footballer, turning out for the St. Georges Colts football team. He did an art A level at Hammersmith and West London College, then studied art and design at Chelsea College of Art and Design
Chelsea College of Art and Design
Chelsea College of Art and Design, the erstwhile Chelsea School of Art, is a constituent college of the University of the Arts London, and is a leading British art and design institution with an international reputation...

 and then fine art
Fine art
Fine art or the fine arts encompass art forms developed primarily for aesthetics and/or concept rather than practical application. Art is often a synonym for fine art, as employed in the term "art gallery"....

 at Goldsmiths College
Goldsmiths College
Goldsmiths, University of London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom which specialises in the arts, humanities and social sciences, and a constituent college of the federal University of London. It was founded in 1891 as Goldsmiths' Technical and Recreative Institute...

 where he first became interested in film. He left Goldsmiths in 1993 and then studied briefly at the Tisch School
Tisch School of the Arts
Tisch School of the Arts is one of the 15 schools that make up New York University ....

 in New York City. He found the approach there not experimental enough for him, however, complaining that "they wouldn't let you throw the camera up in the air".

Career


McQueen's films, which are typically projected onto one or more walls of an enclosed space in an art gallery
Art gallery
An art gallery or art museum is a building or space for the exhibition of art, usually visual art.Museums can be public or private, but what distinguishes a museum is the ownership of a collection...

, are often in black and white and minimalist
Minimalism
Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts...

. He has cited the influence of the nouvelle vague and the films of Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol
Andrew Warhola , known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art...

. He often appears in the films himself.

His first major work was Bear (1993), in which two naked men (one of them McQueen) exchange a series of glances which might be taken to be flirtatious or threatening. One of his best known works, Deadpan (1997), is a restaging of a Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton
Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton was an American comic actor, filmmaker, producer and writer. He was best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression, earning him the nickname "The Great Stone Face".Keaton was recognized as the...

 stunt in which a house collapses around McQueen who is left unscathed because he is standing where there is a missing window.

As well as being in black and white, both these films are silent. The first of McQueen's films to use sound was also the first to use multiple images: Drumroll (1998). This was made with three cameras, two mounted to the sides, and one to the front of an oil drum which McQueen rolled through the streets of Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

. The resulting films are projected on three walls of an enclosed space. McQueen has also made sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

s such as White Elephant (1998) and photographs.

He won the Turner Prize
Turner Prize
The Turner Prize, named after the painter J. M. W. Turner, is an annual prize presented to a British visual artist under the age of 50. Awarding the prize is organised by the Tate gallery and staged at Tate Britain. Since its beginnings in 1984 it has become the United Kingdom's most publicised...

 in 1999, although much of the publicity went to Tracey Emin
Tracey Emin
Tracey Karima Emin RA is a British artist of English and Turkish Cypriot origin. She is part of the group known as Britartists or YBAs ....

, who was also a nominee.

In 2006, he went to Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 as an official war artist. The following year he presented Queen and Country
Queen and Country (artwork)
Queen and Country is an artwork by British artist Steve McQueen. The work is a set of 155 sheets of stamps, each sheet commemorating a soldier who lost their life in the Iraq War between 2003 and 2008...

, a piece which commemorated the deaths of British soldiers who died in the Iraq War by presenting their portraits as a sheet of stamps.

His 2007 film, Gravesend
Gravesend (film)
Gravesend is a 1997 criminal drama film directed by Salvatore Stabile.-Plot summary:Four friends from the ghetto get involved in a careless prank which goes badly wrong. As their weekend spirals out of control, they try to "fix" the situation with criminal acts and only succeed in making things...

, depicted the process of Coltan
Coltan
Coltan is the industrial name for columbite–tantalite, a dull black metallic mineral from which the elements niobium and tantalum are extracted. The niobium-dominant mineral is columbite, hence the "col" half of the term...

 refinement and production. Gravesend premiered at The Renaissance Society in the United States.

His 2008 film Hunger
Hunger (2008 film)
Hunger is a 2008 film about the 1981 Irish hunger strike. It was written by Enda Walsh and Steve R. McQueen, who also directed. It was made by Blast! Films and commissioned by Channel 4 and Film4. It premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, winning the prestigious Caméra d'Or award for...

, about the 1981 Irish hunger strike
1981 Irish hunger strike
The 1981 Irish hunger strike was the culmination of a five-year protest during The Troubles by Irish republican prisoners in Northern Ireland. The protest began as the blanket protest in 1976, when the British government withdrew Special Category Status for convicted paramilitary prisoners...

, premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

. McQueen received the Caméra d'Or
Caméra d'Or
The Caméra d'Or is an award of the Cannes Film Festival for the best first feature film presented in one of the Cannes' selections ....

 (first-time director) Award at Cannes. The film was also awarded the inaugural Sydney Film Festival
Sydney Film Festival
The Sydney Film Festival is an annual film festival held in the Australian city of Sydney and is held over 12 days in June. The competitive film festival draws international and local attention, with films being showcased in several venues across the city centre and includes features,...

 Prize, for "its controlled clarity of vision, its extraordinary detail and bravery, the dedication of its cast and the power and resonance of its humanity". The film also won the 2008 Diesel Discovery Award at the Toronto International Film Festival
Toronto International Film Festival
The Toronto International Film Festival is a publicly-attended film festival held each September in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 2010, 339 films from 59 countries were screened at 32 screens in downtown Toronto venues...

. The award is voted on by the press attending the festival. "Hunger" also won the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. award for a New Generation film in 2008 and the best film prize at the London Evening Standard Film Awards in 2009.

McQueen represented Britain at the 2009 Venice Biennale
Venice Biennale
The Venice Biennale is a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years in Venice, Italy. The Venice Film Festival is part of it. So too is the Venice Biennale of Architecture, which is held in even years...

.

Steve McQueen is represented by Thomas Dane Gallery, London, and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris.
He lives and works in Amsterdam and London.

McQueen has been tapped to direct Fela, a biopic about the Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti
Fela Kuti
Fela Anikulapo Kuti , or simply Fela , was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick.-Biography:...

 

Already an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to the visual arts.

McQueen's second film Shame
Shame (2011 film)
Shame is an erotic drama film co-written and directed by Steve McQueen, starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. Shame was co-produced by Film4 and See-Saw Films...

is set in New York City. Shame is about a 30-something sex addict named Brandon who has trouble managing his sexual impulses once his willful sister moves in.

Films

Year Film Credited as
Director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

Producer
Film producer
A film producer oversees and delivers a film project to all relevant parties while preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film. They will also often take on some financial risk by using their own money, especially during the pre-production period, before a film is fully financed.The...

Writer
Screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

Actor
Actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

Role
2008 Hunger
Hunger (2008 film)
Hunger is a 2008 film about the 1981 Irish hunger strike. It was written by Enda Walsh and Steve R. McQueen, who also directed. It was made by Blast! Films and commissioned by Channel 4 and Film4. It premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, winning the prestigious Caméra d'Or award for...

2011 Shame
Shame (2011 film)
Shame is an erotic drama film co-written and directed by Steve McQueen, starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. Shame was co-produced by Film4 and See-Saw Films...

2014 Twelve Years a Slave
Twelve Years a Slave
Twelve Years a Slave is the written work of Solomon Northup - a man who was born free, but was bound into slavery later in life.-Synopsis:The book, which was originally published in 1853, tells...


Further reading

  • Brockington, Horace. "Logical Anonymity: Lorna Simpson
    Lorna Simpson
    Lorna Simpson is an African American artist and photographer who made her name in the 1980s and 1990s with artworks such as Guarded Conditions and Square Deal. Her work often portrays black women combined with text to express contemporary society's relationship with race, ethnicity and sex...

    , Steve McQueen, Stan Douglas
    Stan Douglas
    Stan Douglas is an artist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has exhibited internationally, including Documenta IX, 1992, Documenta X, 1997, Documenta XI, 2002 and the Venice Biennale in 1990, 2001 and 2005...

    ." International Review of African American Art 15 No. 3 (1998): 20-29.

  • Demos, TJ. "The Art of Darkness: on Steve McQueen." October No. 114 (Fall 2005): 61-89.

  • Demos, TJ. "Giardini: A Fairytale." In Steve McQueen (British Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 2009).

External links