Keith Coventry (1958- Present) was born in Burnley in 1958, and continues to live and work in London. He attended Brighton Polytechnic Academy from 1978-1981 and the Chelsea School of Art London from 1981-1982.
Coventry’s first solo exhibition was at the Karsten Schubert gallery in 1992. Charles Saatchi was an early advocate and collector. Coventry was featured in Young British Artists V (1995) at Saatchi’s gallery in St. John’s Wood. Coventry was also included in the Sensation exhibition of 1997 at the Royal Academy (RA), where he was exposed to a wider audience. In 2006, Glasgow’s Tramway Arts Centre held a mid-career retrospective to honour Coventry’s work. Since then, he has exhibited in London, Zurich, Berlin and Seoul.
Coventry was a co-founder and curator of City Racing, a not-for-profit gallery in Kennington which gave artists such as Sarah Lucas, Gillian Wearing and Fiona Banner early exposure. Coventry was later celebrated in the book City Racing, The Life and Times of an Artist Run Gallery.
Coventry is known for his interest in art history and how that filters into the artistic process, saying in 2008: ‘I look at the history of art, and I look at a social issue and I combine them.’ He later said: ‘the social issue re-empowers modernism. If you attach it to a piece of art history, it becomes alive again.’ This interest in the overlap between art, social issue and the history of art’s relationship with social issues can be traced through all Coventry’s series beginning with Coventry’s famed Estate Paintings, which combine homage to Kasimir Malevich’s supremacist paintings, yet Coventry’s geometric style and blood red pigments make the concepts wholly original and new. Coventry’s Estate Paintings are in fact true replicas of the maps showing the layout of buildings on British housing estates; blending the social issue, the history of representation and his own artistic style and agenda seemingly effortlessly into his art. His series are unique and independent, yet all imbued with something of Coventry’s interest in this junction between social history and art.
Coventry’s work features in many public collections. Including the Tate Gallery, London, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD). In 2009, the Arts Council England acquired a large number of works from his ‘Crack City Series’ to exhibit publically.