Born: 1963. Nationality: British.
‘Bob and Roberta Smith’ is the pseudonym adopted by the artist and activist Patrick Brill whose work conveys scepticism about the contemporary art industry at the same time as campaigning for more serious recognition of the importance of art in state education.
He studied at Reading University, followed by a scholarship at the British School in Rome before gaining an MA in Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College in London. He also spent some time in New York learning sign writing.
Much of his art has been in the form of text works painted as brightly coloured slogans on banners or recycled fragments of wood, often making humorous or provocative commentary on politics, art and popular culture. His practice also incorporates installations, performance and video.
Brill is also a teacher, currently Associate Professor at London Metropolitan University and Course Leader of the MA in Fine Art course. He recently announced his intention to run against Michael Gove MP in the 2015 general election; Gove, during his tenure as Education Secretary proposed the removal of arts subjects from the National Curriculum as part of his overhaul of the GCSE exam system. The artist created an open letter to Gove in the form of a 1,000 word placard advocating the protection of the creative arts in Britain.
His work has been shown in London at Tate Britain, the Hayward Gallery, the Serpentine Gallery, as well as at Tate Liverpool, CCAC San Francisco, the National Gallery, Copenhagen and the CIMA Gallery, Calcutta. He is represented in many in public and private collections including the Tate Collection, UK Arts Council Collection and the British Council Collection.
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