Artangel’s Lingwood and Morris to stand down

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The co-directors of Artangel, the agency that over more than 30 years has changed the perception of public art, are to stand down.

James Lingwood and Michael Morris (pictured here, left to right) became co-directors in 1991 and their productions have included some of the most widely seen public sculptures and events, from Rachel Whiteread’s House in 1993 (pictured here by Damon Hyldreth, which won her the Turner Prize, to Inside, an exhibition at Reading Prison in 2016 in which artists, actors and writers explored Oscar Wilde’s experiences as a prisoner there.

“James and Michael have had an absolutely transformative impact on the arts” said Artangel’s chair Jenny Waldman, who is also director of Art Fund. “In an exemplary partnership they have made Artangel the ingenious and creative producer of cultural experiment that it is today. They have established a platform that enables artists to be at their most bold and ambitious – an important legacy for a new generation and an exciting opportunity for the future leadership of Artangel.”

In their time there have been 125 projects, including Michael Landy’s Breakdown for which the artist assembled thousands of his own possessions in an assemblage in a former West End shop; Jeremy Deller’s Battle of Orgreave (below), a re-enactment in Yorkshire of the confrontation between police and striking miners in 1984; and Year 3, for which Steve McQueen had portraits taken of every Year 3 child in London offering a glimpse of the capital’s future though the time-honoured format of the school photograph.

The most recent project is Afterlife at the now deserted former military test site at Orford Ness on the Suffolk coast, with installations by artists Alice Channer, Emma McNally and Tatiana Trouvé.  

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride, without always knowing when the track is about to loop” Morris and Lingwood said. “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.”  

Artangel was established by the late Roger Took in 1985, and is 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, and a successful fundraising campaign in 2018 created a £2m Artists for Artangel fund for new commissions.

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