Top image: Lake District Landscape, by Conrad Atkinson, 1980s


Conrad Atkinson

Since 1992, Conrad has been Professor of Art and Chair Dept of Art and Art History University of California at Davis. Currently Professor Emeritus (2002). Distinguished Visiting Professor/Artist in Residence, Courtauld Institute, London University. Honorary Fellow Cumbria University UK and Churchhill Fellow 1972.

His series of 16 collage paintings: For Wordsworth; for West Cumbria, was purchased by the Tate in 1980. You can see and read about it here. (External link).  

He wrote about the (above) painting, Lake District Landscape:


This piece is an updated study initially for a large 30’ long piece called, For Wordsworth; for West Cumbria, bought in 1980 by the Tate. Lake District Landscape is I think a later piece commissioned in the eighties by Ingrid Sischy for ARTFORUM  – I can’t remember the date, but she asked for five related pieces Wordsworth and Shelley.

Conrad Atkinson, 2018


And writing about Art Gene:

“The range, variety and depth of engagement with community and social issues makes Art Gene a unique actor in the arts not only in Cumbria but in the region and in the nation. Their unique contribution at the cutting edge of socially concerned art practices makes a compelling and ambitious spectacle. The Tory gov. talks about the powerhouse of the north..meaning the industrial powerhouse but their actions prove this is of course a political scam……..however I would argue Art Gene is a major player in making the case that the north and its cultural organisations could be a potential cultural powerhouse of the nation”.

Conrad Atkinson, 2017

Image below: Bobby Sands “TODAY I HEARD THE BIRDS SINGING”, Conrad Atkinson


Conrad Atkinson is one of the most important fine artists in the world who specialize in social and political concerns.  The strength of all of his graphics, installations, paintings and sculptures is their visual appeal.  Although the text is significant, the images are most compelling and provocative. Atkinson’s earliest pieces demonstrate the proposition, exploited by advertisers during the same years as his art practise, that an image is worth a thousand words. Conrad Atkinson has been consistently committed to making the world better while creating works that are visually arresting and well crafted.  This combination of ambition and accomplishment is unique.  There are no other British artists of his humanity and stature.

Miranda McClintic, Curator Hirschhorn Museum, Washington DC


Because of his clarity, his wit, his love of community and his gift for locating the hidden stitch that unravels the seam, Conrad Atkinson has gradually revealed himself to be one of the most thoroughly humanist artists of our time.

Dan Cameron, Director New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York


Conrad Atkinson’s light, on the other hand, is luminous, as it is in the work of the artists he engages: William Wordsworth, Vincent van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, and the light of their landscapes; Pablo Picasso and the bursting bombs he alludes to in Guernica. The path is better lit, but no less difficult or treacherous. And the nexus of viewer and art is quite similar; one is forced to recognize certain facts, ideas, and events revealed in a way that it is painful to avoid or deny them, rather than the other way around. Meanings normally concealed by our habit of viewing art as something apart from life are deliberately reclaimed. The collaborations are introduced by wall texts that describe Atkinson’s connection to or meetings with the aforesaid artists (all of them dead) and their agreements to redo certain important works, all of this in rather vulgar terms that jolt them into the present.

Donald Goddard, New York Review


Conrad Atkinson, Tate


Above image: Asbestos, Conrad Atkinson, 1975 (Collection of the Tate).
Lower image: Valmara Landmines, Conrad Atkinson

Further Reading