Enrique Martínez Celaya, trained as artist and physicist, works in painting, sculpture, photography, and writing. His projects frequently take the form of multi-disciplinary environments that balance images with the immediacy of the material experience. His ideas as well as his approach are influenced by a wide range of sources, including Nordic poetry, samurai mores, quantum physics, the emotional mechanisms of kitsch, analytic and continental philosophy, Latin American literature, and everyday life. 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, and the Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig, Germany, among others. 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. 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, and the Young Talent Award from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.??
In addition to his pursuits 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. Through a series of social enterprises conjointly named Whale & Star, he provides educational opportunities for children through activities and scholarships, and has built an internationally recognized imprint that publishes books on art, poetry, art practice, and critical theory. In 2010 Martínez Celaya created The Lecture Project, which hosts public lectures at his studio by art historians, critics, and philosophers.
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 PhD 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. Despite his interest and promise in science, he ultimately decided on a career in art, receiving a Skowhegan Fellowship to attend the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine and earned an MFA with the department's highest distinction from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was supported by a Regents Fellowship.