Michael Craig-Martin was in characteristically modest form as he launched not one, but two books in the Reynolds Room at London’s Royal Academy of Arts last night. Drawing is a magnificent 600-page tome presenting 300 of MCM’s distinctive line drawings, while his memoir-cum-instructional-guide On Being an Artist is a 151-chapter collection of his writings over the past four decades on life, art and many other matters. (We recently reported on the segment devoted to the artist’s early, and brief, stint as a journalist staking out Christine Keeler.)
To much laughter (the guests ranged from Richard Long, Sandy Nairne and Stephen Deuchar to Nicky Haslam and Joan Bakewell), Andrew Brown, the publisher of On Being an Artist, introduced his author by reading from the chapter entitled “On Sel ected Press Criticism of Me”, which lists the media’s often far-from-friendly descriptions of MCM. Brown concluded with two that got the most hoots from the audience: No. 608 (out of 612) in Tatler’s list of “People Who Really Matter,” and “the most hated man in British art.” For his part, Craig-Martin self-deprecatingly declared that his book “has shown me that I’ve had a far more interesting life than I realised”.