Enrique Martínez Celaya is an artist, author, and former physicist whose work has been exhibited and collected by major institutions worldwide. He is Provost Professor of Humanities and Arts at the University of Southern California, Distinguished Professor for the MFA in Fine Arts at Otis College of Art and Design, and a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College. He has realized exhibitions, projects, interventions, and social and intellectual interactions not confined to museums and galleries, including the Berliner Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany, the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, New York, and Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, Germany, among many others. His work is held in 56 public collections internationally, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig. Martínez Celaya is the author of several books, including two volumes of his Collected Writings and Interviews, 2010-2017 and 1990-2010, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2020 and 2011; and The Nebraska Lectures, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011. His work has been the subject of several monographic publications including Martínez Celaya, SEA SKY LAND: towards a map of everything, Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2021, Enrique Martínez Celaya and Käthe Kollwitz: Von den ersten und den letzten Dingen, Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2021, Martínez Celaya, Work and Documents 1990-2015, Santa Fe: Radius Books, 2016, and Enrique Martínez Celaya: Working Methods, Barcelona: Ediciones Polígrafa, 2012.
Martínez Celaya was born in Cuba and raised in Spain and Puerto Rico. He initiated his formal artistic training as an apprentice to a painter at the age of 12. He received a Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics and a minor in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, and a Master of Science with a specialization in Quantum Electronics from the University of California, Berkeley. He conducted part of his graduate physics research at Brookhaven National Laboratory and holds several patents in laser devices. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture and earned an MFA with the department's highest distinction from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was also a Regents Fellow and Junior Fellow of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center. In 1997 he was the recipient of the Art Here and Now Award from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 1998, Martínez Celaya created Whale & Star as an evolving idea of social interaction and responsibility. It has an internationally recognized imprint that publishes books in art, poetry, art practice, and critical theory. Before his current academic posts, he held the positions of Roth Family Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Dartmouth College, Presidential Professor at the University of Nebraska, and Associate Professor at Pomona College and the Claremont Graduate University. He received a Doctor Honoris Causa from Otis College of Art and Design in 2020 and delivered its commencement address. He is a Fellow of the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, a Fellow of Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, and a Fellow of the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation. He is a Governor on the Board of Otis College of Art and Design, was the artist advisor to the Anderson Ranch Arts Center from 2018-2021, where he was also the 2007 recipient of its National Artist Award, and he is a member of the International Advisory Council of the Hispanic Society of America. He has offered lectures at venues worldwide, including the American Academy in Berlin, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Royal Drawing School, and the Aspen Institute.