Opening Conversation | Marc Quinn: History Painting +

Marc Quinn, artist, in conversation with Martina Droth, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Yale Center for British Art

About Marc Quinn

Born in London in 1964, Quinn is a British contemporary artist and one of the leading artists of his generation. His sculptures, paintings, and drawings explore what it means to be human in the twenty-first century. His work connects frequently and meaningfully with art history, from antiquity to modern masters. Quinn came to prominence in 1991 with his sculpture Self (1991), a cast of his head made from eight pints of his frozen blood. While much of his early work focused on explorations of self, Quinn soon became fascinated with reflecting the experiences of other people, questioning value, perception, and the fault lines of society. Critically acclaimed works include Alison Lapper Pregnant (2005), exhibited on the Fourth Plinth of London’s Trafalgar Square; Siren (2008), a solid-gold sculpture of Kate Moss shown in the British Museum coinciding with the 2008 financial crisis, posing questions of value and belief systems in society; Breath (2012), a colossal replica of Alison Lapper Pregnant, commissioned for the 2012 London Paralympics opening ceremony; and Self-conscious Gene (2019) an eleven-foot, six-inch tall bronze sculpture of Rick Genest, popularly known as Zombie Boy, now on permanent display at the Science Museum, London. Over the last decade, Quinn’s work has increasingly engaged with the media, current affairs, and world events. History Paintings (2009–present) is his ten-year series of hyperreal oil paintings of pivotal moments in recent history, drawn directly from press photography. During the COVID-19 pandemic, as news cycles accelerated, Quinn created HISTORYNOW (2020–present), a series of paintings derived from iPhone screenshots of news stories and Instagram posts. 

Since 2015, Quinn has developed several not-for-profit projects, which seek to raise awareness about the ongoing global refugee crisis. These include 100 Heads (2019–present), a series one hundred concrete portrait busts of refugees living today.

Quinn’s work is included in collections around the world, including Tate, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Fondazione Prada, Milan; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Quinn lives and works in London. 

This program is presented through the generosity of the Terry F. Green 1969 Fund for British Art and Culture.

Please note: This event will be recorded and/or live-streamed for distribution and documentation. All attendees (or parents/guardians on behalf of minors attending the event) agree to the possibility of their image or voice being captured and used for this purpose.

Top image
Marc Quinn, 2021. © Marc Quinn studio

Related events


Marc Quinn: History Painting +

Friday, May 20, 2022–Sunday, October 16, 2022

You may also like


at home: Opening Program | Art in Focus: The Provocation of Conditions

Wednesday, June 30, 2021, 12:30–1:30 pm ET


at home: Opening Program | Art in Focus: Women From the Center

Friday, March 5, 2021, 12:30–1:30 pm ET