As an independent art organization based in London, UK., Artangel is mainly known for commissioning site-specific visual art works.
The United Kingdom experienced a prolonged economic downturn in the 1970s, and when the Thatcher administration came to power in ‘79, it announced cuts in financial support for the visual arts. Artangel was founded in 1985 to address this situation, and James Lingwood and Michael Morris became the co-directors in 1991. Since then, Artangel has commissioned works that go against conventional notions of art, and it has been active for many years as one of London’s most influential curatorial bodies.
Artangel’s activities are supported by supporters called “Angels.” Depending on the amount of annual support, there are several types of supporters, such as Company of Angels, Guardian Angels, and Special Angels, and the angels receive a preview of their work, invitations to special dinners with artists and curators, and limited-edition memorabilia.
For projects to commission artworks, prominent museums in the UK, such as Tate Modern, galleries, private foundations, and the BBC are sometimes involved as partners in commissions, but funding from the Angels supports artists’ creative activities without relying on public funds and ensures independence in curation.
One of their commissioned works was House (1993), a template representation of Victorian terraced houses by sculptor Rachel Whiteread. Whiteread won the most prestigious Turner Prize in British art for this work. In addition to producing unprecedented works such as a commission to compose music that will be performed over a thousand years (the first note was played on December 31, 1999 and will be performed until 2999), and a performance of mourning songs in a special opera house built underground, as well as active commissioning of video works and works for web-based release.
Lingwood and Morris, who have led Artangel’s activities for more than 30 years, stepped down as Associate Directors in 2022 and were replaced by the new Director, Mariam Zulfiqar, who formerly lead the National Arts Programme at Forestry England, a British forest conservation organization, and who has served as Deputy Director and chief curator for UP Projects to promote art projects in public spaces.
31 Eyre Street Hill
London EC1R 5EW
Tel: +44 (0)20 7713 1400