360 Speaker Series: Matthew Collings

Artist, Writer and Critic

March 21, 2013

Matthew Collings is an English writer-critic/artist/curator/television presenter.  Famous in the UK for bringing new developments in art to the attention of a mass audience, Collings’ TV documentaries and books have been described as “knowing,” “sly as a fox” and “hilariously horrible.”

The international art magazine, Frieze, describes him as a “laconic, affectionately deprecating critic of both his subject and himself.”  Artforum described his insiders’ guide to the art scene, Blimey! From Bohemia to Britpop: The London Artworld from Francis Bacon to Damien Hirst, as “the most popular contemporary art book ever.”  The late, revered Brit art critic, David Sylvester, called him “fearless,” and when his six part series “This Is Modern Art” was aired on prime time national TV, it won a BAFTA for its combination of knowledge, humor and icy weirdness. 

Collings studied painting at the Byam Shaw Art School, 1974-78, and Goldsmiths College, 1990-92. His publications include This Is Civilisation (2008), Sarah Lucas (2002), Art Crazy Nation (2001), This Is Modern Art (1999), and Blimey! From Bohemia to Britpop: The London Artworld from Francis Bacon to Damien Hirst (1997). Collings’ television work includes Renaissance Revolution: Bosch, Piero, Raphael (2010) This Is Civilisation (2008), Impressionism: Revenge of the Nice (2003), Matt’s Old Masters (2002), Hello Culture (2001), and This Is Modern Art (1998), winner of the BAFTA, Independent TV Award and Royal Television Society Award.  He served as editor for Artscribe from 1983-87 and writes a regular column for ArtReview.