Over the last two decades, Steve McQueen has been influential in expanding the way in which artists work with film. Among his early films are Bear (1993), Deadpan (1997) which re-enacts Buster Keaton’s famous stunt in which he survives a house falling on his head, Drumroll (1998) involving a metal barrel, mounted with cameras, being rolled through the streets of Manhattan and Caribs’ Leap / Western Deep (2002) which was one of the highlights of Documenta XI.
Born in West London in 1969, he studied at Chelsea School of Art (1989-90) and Goldsmith’s College (1990-1993) in London, and at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, in New York (1993-94). He won the first ICA Futures Award in 1996 and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. In 1997, solo exhibitions of his work were held in Frankfurt, Eindhoven and New York, where he showed both at the Marian Goodman Gallery and at the Museum of Modern Art. In 1998 he won a DAAD artist’s scholarship to Berlin and, in 1999, besides exhibiting at the ICA and at the Kunsthalle in Zürich, won the Turner Prize. In 2002 he was awarded the OBE.
In 2003 he presented a major exhibition at Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris called Speaking In Tongues which included the breathtaking new piece Once Upon a Time, a collaboration with NASA and linguist William Samarin. In the same year McQueen was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum as Offical War Artist to Iraq, attracting international attention with a rare non-film work titled Queen and Country which has since shown widely throughout the UK. Selected to represent the British Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, he made the film Giardini. He has since had solo exhibitions around the world.
For his first feature film, Hunger, McQueen won the Camera d’Or and an International Film Critics Federation Prize at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. His 2013 feature 12 Years a Slave received numerous awards including the Academy Award for Best Picture, Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Drama, and the BAFTA Award for Best Film.