Marcus Harvey

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Myra by Marcus Harvey (1995)

Marcus Harvey (born 1963 in Leeds) is an English artist and painter, one of the Young British Artists (YBAs).


Harvey has shown work internationally in many exhibitions including "The Führer's Cakes" at Galleria Marabini in Bologna, "Snaps" at White Cube in London, "Sex and the British" at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Salzburg and "London Calling: Young British Artists Criss-Crossed" at Galleri Kaare Berntsen in Oslo.

Life and art[edit]

Marcus Harvey grew up in Moortown, a suburb of Leeds. He attended Allerton Grange High School, graduated from Goldsmiths College in 1986, and is also an alumnus of the Leeds College of Art. At that time he became a close friend of Damien Hirst. Harvey did not take part in the Freeze show as he had graduated from Goldsmiths earlier, but Hirst included him when he curated Some Went Mad, Some Ran Away (1994). Harvey's work attracted the attention of Charles Saatchi.

Harvey is known for his tabloid-provoking 9 by 11 feet (2.7 by 3.4 m) portrayal of Moors murderer Myra Hindley, created from handprints taken from a plaster cast of a child’s hand, and shown in the Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in 1997. The painting had to be temporarily removed from display for repair after it was attacked in two separate incidents on the opening day, in which ink and eggs were thrown at it.[1] The Times newspaper's art critic, Richard Cork, wrote that:

Far from cynically exploiting her notoriety, Harvey's grave and monumental canvas succeeds in conveying the enormity of the crime she committed. Seen from afar, through several doorways, Hindley's face looms at us like an apparition. By the time we get close enough to realise that it is spattered with children's handprints, the sense of menace becomes overwhelming.[2]

As critic John A. Walker explains, "the units of mark from which the iconic image was constructed were not brushmarks of pigment but a child’s open palm prints. (To be precise, the prints were made with a plaster cast of a child’s hand, not the hand itself.) When viewed from a distance Myra Hindley’s face dominates, but close up the handprints are foregrounded.".[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alberge, Dalya (19 September 1997), "Attacks force Hindley portrait to be moved", The Times, retrieved 29 September 2009, (subscription required (help)) 
  2. ^ Cork, Richard (16 September 1997), "The Establishment clubbed", The Times, retrieved 30 September 2009, (subscription required (help)) 
  3. ^ Walker, John A. (Spring 1998). Marcus Harvey’s "sick, disgusting" painting of Myra Hindley. Tate, the art magazine. Retrieved 9 October 2010

External links[edit]