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Adrian Searle (born 1951) is the chief art critic of The Guardian newspaper in Britain, and has been writing for the paper since 1996. Previously he was a painter. He curates art shows and also writes fiction.



He taught at Central St Martins College of Art (1981–94), Chelsea College of Art (1991-6) and Goldsmiths College (1994-6). He has curated shows, such as Unbound: Possibilities in Painting (1994), an international exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. In 2003 he co-curated a Pepe Espaliu retrospective at Reina Sofia, Madrid, and curated Glad That Things Don't Talk at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.

He was a painter and exhibited widely, but stopped when he took up his newspaper job. He said, "I was always torn between making art and writing. Writing won." He also writes fiction.[1]

Before joining The Guardian, he wrote for The Independent, Time Out and contributed regularly to Artscribe magazine (1976–92). He now also writes for Frieze art magazine.


  • Jim Shaw's ICA "Thrift Store Paintings" (2000):
1) The paintings are awful, indefensible, crapulous….these people can't draw, can't paint; these people should never be left alone with a paintbrush.
2) The Thrift Store Paintings are fascinating, alarming, troubled and funny. Scary too, just like America.[2]
Ofili says that he was trying to do something sincere - whatever sincerity means nowadays. It would be a great pity to split The Upper Room apart, to sell the paintings one by one. The Tate should buy it. The Upper Room is better than Ofili probably realises.[3]
Charles Saatchi had almost completed installing New Blood at his gallery at London's County Hall last week when we met by chance. "Let me write your review for you," he said, enraged. "I'm a cunt, this place is shit, and the artists I show are all fucked. Will that do for you?" I almost wish my views could be expressed with the same vigour, precision and exactitude. It would save a lot of time.[4]
Once in a lifetime is too often for the Stuckists. So dreadful are they that one might be forgiven for thinking there must be something to them. There isn't, except a lot of ranting.[5]
The eye-candy dot paintings walked off the walls; the gore sells in buckets. But the spin paintings were always miserable and the big bronzes are boring. Nor has his art been particularly influential, or developed much. Hirst has lived his career backwards, doing his greatest work first, saving all the repetitive stuff and the juvenilia for later.[6]
We learn that she's "so tired and borred of masterbating". Why not just give it a break, Tray? ... This exhibition is an exhausting bender, careening from highs to lows. The lows are bad. Somehow Emin wouldn't be any good if they weren't.[7]

See also

  • Other contemporary UK art critics
David Lee
Louisa Buck
Brian Sewell
Sarah Kent
Waldemar Januszczak
Matthew Collings


  1. ^ Buck, Louisa (2000). Moving Targets 2: A User's Guide to British Art Now. Tate Gallery Publishing. ISBN 1-85437-316-1
  2. ^ "What the Critics Say – Jim Shaw at the ICA", newsletter 2,, October 23, 2000 Retrieved March 28, 2006
  3. ^ "Monkey Magic", The Guardian, June 25, 2002 Retrieved March 21, 2006
  4. ^ "Same Again Saatchi", The Guardian, March 23, 2004 Retrieved March 21, 2006
  5. ^ "Scouse Stew, The Guardian, September 21, 2004 Retrieved March 21, 2006
  6. ^ "Is Damien Hirst the Most Powerful Person in Art?", The Guardian, November 1, 2005 Retrieved March 21, 2006
  7. ^ "Tracey Emin", The Guardian, May 27, 2005 Retrieved March 21, 2006

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