He had just moved into a vast new studio and I was invited there to photograph the brunch and book signing for his new book The Pearl.
The Pearl is a book that chronicles his moving and immense show at Site Santa Fe, published by Radius Books.
Enrique Martínez Celaya was trained as an artist as well as a physicist and currently works in painting, sculpture, photography, and writing. His work has been widely exhibited internationally and is included in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The State Hermitage Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden, and the Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig, Germany, among others.
He has received the National Artist Award from the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, the California Community Foundation Fellowship, J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for Visual Arts, a Knight Foundation Grant, and the Young Talent Award from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Martínez Celaya is a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College, was honored as the second Presidential Professor in the history of the University of Nebraska, taught as a tenured professor in the faculty of Pomona College and Claremont Graduate University, and is a Trustee of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center and served on the Creative Council of Kaneko. In 2013, Ediciones Polígrafa (Spain) published Enrique Martínez Celaya: Working methods/Métodos de trabajo a comprehensive study of Martínez Celaya’s work process and Radius Books (Santa Fe) published Enrique Martínez Celaya: The Pearl, which documents his expansive exhibition at SITE Santa Fe.
In addition to his work in the visual arts, Martínez Celaya is the author of Collected Writings and Interviews 1990-2010 and The Nebraska Lectures, both published by the University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln), The Blog: Bad Time for Poetry, published by Whale & Star Press (Miami), October, published by Cinubia (Amsterdam), and the artist book Guide, which was later serialized by the magazine Works & Conversations (Berkeley). He has also written essays on art, poetry and aesthetics and has lectured at international venues including the American Academy in Berlin, the Aspen Institute and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Martínez Celaya initiated his formal training as an apprentice to a painter at the age of 12. He studied Applied & Engineering Physics at Cornell University, worked at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and pursued a Ph.D. in Quantum Electronics at the University of California, Berkeley. As a physicist, he published scientific papers on superconductivity and lasers, and is the inventor of several laser devices and of an often-cited patent. He received a Skowhegan Fellowship to attend the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine and earned a Master of Fine Arts with the department’s highest distinction from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was supported by a Regents Fellowship and was a junior fellow at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center.