Artists in Conversation | Andy Holden

September 15, 2023

Andy Holden in conversation with Hammad Nasar, curator, writer, and strategic adviser

About Andy Holden

Born in Bedfordshire in 1982, Andy Holden creates large installations, sculpture, painting, pop music, performance, animation, curation, and video installations. His work is often defined by very personal starting points used to arrive at more abstract philosophical questions. As a teenager, Holden wrote a manifesto for art titled Maximum Irony! Maximum Sincerity, which has informed much of his practice and has been called a precursor to meta modernism. For his first major show, Art Now: Andy Holden at Tate Britain (2010), he exhibited Pyramid Piece, a vastly enlarged replica of a stone he long ago stole—and later returned—from the Great Pyramid at Giza. From 2011 to 2017 Holden worked on Laws of Motion in a Cartoon Landscape, an hour-long animated film that explores the idea that the world is best understood as a cartoon.

Cartoons feature heavily in Holden’s work, and in 2018 he was included in the exhibition Good Grief, Charlie Brown! at Somerset House which examined the legacy of Peanuts. Holden’s work Natural Selection (2017) was made in collaboration with his father, Peter Holden, who is an ornithologist. The multimedia piece with bird nests, eggs, and imagery explored questions of nature and nurture and people’s changing relationship with the natural world. His recent installation for British Art Show 9 (2022)—centered around an animated film about an unknown artist whose work he discovered in a charity shop—explored notions of time, sickness, and legacy.

Solo exhibitions of his work include Chewy Cosmos Thingly Time (2011) at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; The Cookham Erratics (2012), Benaki Museum, Athens; and Eyes in Space, part of Mark Leckey’s 2013 touring show Universal Addressability of Dumb Things. Holden has released several records with his band, the Grubby Mitts. In 2012, he adapted for stage David Foster Wallace’s book Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, performed at the ICA in London. He also curated the first edition of Wysing Arts Centre’s annual music festival, focusing on artists’ music projects. Holden lives and works in Bedford, UK.