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Jeremy Millar


  • Jeremy Millar is an artist, and has curated numerous exhibitions and written extensively upon contemporary art. His work in all these fields is marked by extensive research, as suggested by each particular project, and has led to an extremely diverse range of research interests, from the works of WG Sebald to gift economies in Papua New Guinea. More generally, his interests lie in contemporary criticism, contemporary art, the history of photography, film, contemporary music, visual anthropology, inter-cultural performance, museology, and the notion of ‘place’ across various disciplines.

  • Biography

  • Jeremy Millar studied photography at Nottingham Polytechnic, graduating in 1992.

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  • Practice

  • Jeremy Millar curated the exhibition The Institute of Cultural Anxiety: Works from the Collection at the ICA, London, in 1994, which laid the foundation for a continuing interest in various models of curating. After spending six months at Fabrica, in northern Italy, working with Oliviero Toscani and Godfrey Reggio, Millar became curator at The Photographers’ Gallery, London, in 1995. During his five-year tenure at the gallery, he curated a number of solo exhibitions, including the first London showings of David Shrigley, Roman Signer and Boris Mikhailov, as well as important group exhibitions; these included Speed, staged also at the Whitechapel Gallery, which explored speed in twentieth-century art and design, including works by Matisse, Duchamp, Hamilton and Hapaska. Millar also co-edited (with Michiel Schwarz) an accompanying publication, which included contributions by writers such as JG Ballard, Susan George, and Peter Wollen. In 2000, Millar became a freelance curator, and was invited to co-curate the major exhibition within Media City Seoul, with Barbara London, curator at MoMA; this included works by major international artists including Nam Jume Paik, Bruce Nauman, Steve McQueen and Tacita Dean.

    In 2001, Millar became the inaugural director of the Brighton Photo Biennial 2003, and curated two of the exhibitions: Make Life Beautiful! The Dandy in Photography from 1850 to the Present Day, and The Inconsiderable Things: Peter Fraser and Rachel Harrison. He also commissioned new projects by Mark Leckey, Boris Mikhailov, Beat Streuli, and Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane. In 2007 he curated Waterlog, an exhibition inspired by WG Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn (1998), which included new commissions by Tacita Dean and Marcus Coates, amongst others.

    More recently, Millar conceived an exhibition for Hayward Touring, Every Day is a Good Day: The Visual Art of John Cage, the largest exhibition presented on the subject; this opened at BALTIC in 2010, and toured the UK for approximately 16 months. He also oversaw the accompanying publication, writing an introductory essay, and conducting interviews with four of Cage’s key collaborators. He was also one of the performers of Cage’s Radio Music (1956) at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, in 2011.

    Since 1992, Millar has published over 80 texts in a number of international publications. His books include Confessions (Bookworks, 1996), Airport (edited with Steven Bode, 1997), Speed — Visions of an Accelerated Age (edited with Michiel Schwarz, 1998), Peter Fraser (2002), Place (with Tacita Dean, Thames and Hudson, 2005) and The Way Things Go (Afterall Books, 2007). He has also contributed to many artists' publications, amongst them Tacita Dean, Roni Horn, Douglas Gordon, Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane, Marine Hugonnier, Beat Streuli, Graham Fagen, Keith Tyson, Graham Gussin, Adam Chodzko, Joachim Koester, Sam Taylor-Wood, Liam Gillick, Pierre Huyghe, Roman Signer, Simon Starling, and Jane and Louise Wilson. He has also contributed to magazines and journals such as Afterall, Art Monthly,, Blueprint, frieze, Modern Painters, Parkett, Sight and Sound, and Trans>, and is a member of the editorial board of Afterall. He has spoken at numerous museums, galleries and art schools in Europe and the USA, including extended periods at Sotheby’s Institute, London.

    Millar has been on the panel of many awards including the Spectrum Photography Prize, Hannover, (1995), The Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards to Artists (2001), and the Citigroup Photography Prize (2004). He is the recipient of fellowships from NESTA, the Arts Foundation, and from 2007 until 2010 was AHRC Research Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford.

    As an artist, Millar has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad; recent exhibitions and screenings include Inverleith House, Edinburgh; the Vigeland Museum, Oslo; Sleeper, Edinburgh; Tate Modern, London; National Maritime Museum, London; David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Tate St Ives; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Ethnographic Museum, Krakow; SE8, London; HICA, Inverness-shire; Plymouth Arts Centre; BALTIC, Gateshead; CCA, Glasgow; and Project Arts Centre, Dublin. A permanent public work was installed in Folkestone in 2006. A monograph on his work, Zugzwang (almost complete), with an essay by Brian Dillon, was published in 2006. He recently completed a new commission based upon John Ruskin's 'Elements of Drawing' for the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

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Selected work