James Lingwood and Michael Morris Co-Directors of Artangel have announced their decision to step down from the organisation they have led for 30 years.
Since they became Co-Directors in 1991, Artangel has generated some of the most widely discussed art of recent times and is one of the most consistently admired cultural organisations, respected by artists and audiences alike in Britain and beyond.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride, without always knowing when the track is about to loop
Since 1991, James and Michael have produced over 125 projects, including Rachel Whiteread’s House, Michael Landy’s Breakdown, Jeremy Deller’s The Battle of Orgreave, Gregor Schneider’s Die Familie Schneider, Francis Alys’s Seven Walks and Roger Hiorns’s Seizure, and drawn audiences to a wide range of places from the empty Reading Prison to the Palace of Westminster, the west coast of Iceland and the island of Portland, downtown Detroit and London’s Oxford Street.
James and Michael’s final year of new Artangel commissions will be in 2022/3. The recruitment of a new Director will begin immediately, to be in place by early 2022 and developing the future vision for Artangel.
James Lingwood and Michael Morris said: “It’s been a rollercoaster ride, without always knowing when the track is about to loop. 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. We’ll be stepping off the rollercoaster at the end of 2022. Artangel will move forward, imagined afresh under new leadership. We’re excited to see what happens next.”
Artangel Chair Jenny Waldman said: “James and Michael have had an absolutely transformative impact on the arts. In an exemplary partnership, they have made Artangel the ingenious and creative producer of cultural experiments 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.”
For more than three decades, Artangel has developed close collaborations with many of the world’s leading artists, filmmakers, writers, composers and performers to produce surprising new works of scale and originality. There have been recurrent landmarks along the way; exceptional projects shaped by different places, seizing public attention and continuing to resonate long afterwards.
Most commissions begin as conversations with an artist but sometimes they are inspired by a site. The silent cells and chapel of the empty Reading Prison, where Oscar Wilde was incarcerated, housed haunting works by artists, writers and readers including Rita Donagh, Marlene Dumas, Robert Gober, Richard Hamilton, Nan Goldin, Wolfgang Tillmans, Doris Salcedo, Patti Smith and Colm Toíbín. Currently at Orford Ness on the Suffolk coast, Afterness has just begun, with new installations by artists Alice Channer, Emma McNallyand Tatiana Trouvé for this former military test site and a walking trail in which new writing by poet Ilya Kaminsky can be heard on headsets.
Artangel was established as a charitable organisation in 1985, and is generously 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 over the past three decades and a successful fundraising campaign in 2018 created a £2m Artists for Artangel fund for new commissions