A brush with... Jeremy Deller

Ben Luke talks to Jeremy Deller about his influences—from writers to film-makers, musicians and, of course, other artists—and the cultural experiences that have shaped his life and work. Deller, born in London in 1966, has created some of the most extraordinary works of recent decades, acting as a catalyst for exhibitions, films, events and happenings that often involve numerous collaborators. His works reflect on social movements, communities and countercultures, the history of art and design, pop-cultural forms and celebrated public figures. He discusses the early influence of Francis Bacon, how Mike Kelley was an important figure in defining the possibilities of art’s relationship with popular culture, the power of Gitta Sereny’s pivotal biography of Albert Speer, his ongoing engagement with music in various forms, and much more. Plus, he gives insight into his studio life and answers our usual questions—including the ultimate: “What is art for?”

Jeremy Deller, Art is Magic (book), Cheerio, £30/$60; Art is Magic (exhibition), Frac Bretagne, La Criée contemporary art centre and Musée des beaux-arts, Rennes, until 17 September; Jeremy Deller: Welcome to the Shitshow!, Kunsthalle Charlottenberg, Copenhagen, until 6 August.

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