The Kitchen Sink Too: Artists’ Voices from Modern Britain with Michael Bird

Paul & Katherine Feiler by Andrew Lanyon

Paul & Katherine Feiler by Andrew Lanyon

Ebenezer is delighted to welcome back Michael Bird for this extremely well illustrated talk on British modern artists.

During 2016–17, as Goodison Fellow at the British Library, Michael Bird has been researching the vast Artists’ Lives audio archive.

Stories of artists’ lives are often told by non-artists – critics, historians, biographers. The Artists’ Lives oral history project is different. Beginning in 1990 as part of National Life Stories, it now comprises almost 400 life-story interviews with British artists and other people in the art world. These extended interviews range across all areas of life, from artists’ first memories through relationships and family life to their studio practice and professional careers. They are both intimate personal testimonies and evocative records of cultural and social change in twentieth-century Britain.

The Watchers by Lynn Chadwick

The Watchers by Lynn Chadwick

Using material from the recordings at the British Library, Michael curated the exhibition In Their Own Words: Artists Voices from the Ingram Collection at The Lightbox. His anthology of extracts from 50 Artists’ Lives interviews will be published by Lund Humphries in autumn 2018.

Michael returns to the Ebenezers to report on his year of listening to Artists’ Lives and discovering how oral history can illuminate visual art – how the voice in isolation can give the listener access to profoundly non-verbal domains of practice and experience. He’ll present a selection of images and audio extracts from his project – a fascinating sample of the many and varied voices of modern British art.


Michael Bird

Michael Bird

Michael Bird is a writer, art historian and curator. He was educated at Merton College, Oxford, and taught English and worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer and independent art historian.

His 100 Ideas that Changed Art and recent children’s book, Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories: A Children’s History of Art, have been translated into 15 languages.

His books include monographs on modern British artists Sandra Blow, Lynn Chadwick, Bryan Wynter and George Fullard, and The St Ives Artists: A Biography of Place and Time.

‘Michael Bird’s The St Ives Artists: A Biography of Place and Time opens doors to a hidden past. His wit and readability make light of his meticulous research, and his narrative approach makes this a compelling story.’
Helen Dunmore – The Guardian

Michael is a regular presenter and contributor on BBC Radio and reviewer for the Daily Telegraph and lectures widely.

Read more about Michael's books.

Michael with Elizabeth Frink's 'Riace'

Michael with Elizabeth Frink's 'Riace'

Paolozzi

Paolozzi

Joanie Gorman