In a career spanning over 30 years, Steve McQueen has critically engaged with themes such as history, class, and race, through film, photography, and installation. Using projected light and sound, much like a sculptor or a painter, McQueen creates environments that resonate on multiple levels and go beyond the conventional frame of cinema. Whether shown on sleek, large screens or small monitors, his work—in particular the filmic, which employs nonlinear storytelling—firmly embeds viewers in the inescapable present while simultaneously destabilizing them.
At Dia Beacon, the artist presents a new work, co-commissioned by Dia and Schaulager, Laurenz Foundation, Münchenstein, in which he builds upon past experiments of how light, color, and sound affect and upend our perception of space, time, and ourselves. McQueen transforms the 30,000-square-foot ground-level gallery into an immersive installation, journeying through the complete spectrum of visible light in concert with a sonic component that responds to the space.
The co-commission is accompanied by a catalog, co-published with Schaulager, documenting the development of the work alongside essays and illustrations. The exhibition at Dia Beacon is complemented by a concurrent presentation of McQueen’s Sunshine State (2022) as well as a new monitor-based work at Dia Chelsea, opening September 2024.
Steve McQueen is curated by Donna De Salvo, senior adjunct curator, special projects, with Emily Markert, curatorial assistant, and Randy Gibson, manager of exhibition technology.
Following Dia Beacon, the commission will travel to Schaulager, Münchenstein, where it will be adapted to its unique exhibition spaces.
The commission is made possible by the Laurenz Foundation.
All exhibitions at Dia are made possible by the Economou Exhibition Fund.
Steve McQueen is made possible by major support from Ford Foundation. Special thanks to Visiolite.
Steve McQueen was born in London in 1969. Surveys of his work have been held at the Art Institute of Chicago (2012); Schaulager, Münchenstein (2013); Tate Modern, London (2020); and Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan (2022). Recent solo presentations include those at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016); the Art Institute of Chicago (2017); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2017); Pérez Art Museum, Miami (2017); the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester (2017); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2017–2018); Tate Britain, London (2019–21); and Serpentine Gallery, London (2023). McQueen has participated in Documenta X (1997) and XI (2002); as well as in the Venice Biennale (2003, 2007, 2013, and 2015), representing Great Britain in 2009. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Turner Prize (1999); the W. E. B. Du Bois Medal, Harvard University (2014); and the Johannes Vermeer Award (2016). He was declared Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2002, Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2011, and Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2020.
McQueen directed the feature films Hunger (2008), Shame (2011), 12 Years a Slave (2014), and Widows (2018); as well as the series Small Axe (2020), an anthology of five films shown on BBC and Amazon; and Uprising (2021), a three-part documentary series made in collaboration with James Rogan for BBC. His latest documentary, Occupied City (2023), is based on the book Atlas of an Occupied City, Amsterdam 1940–56 by Bianca Stigter. He is working on the historical film project Blitz. McQueen won the Caméra d’Or at Cannes Film Festival for Hunger in 2008, and an Oscar for Best Motion Picture for 12 Years a Slave in 2014.
McQueen lives in Amsterdam and London.
Steve McQueen was born in 1969 in London, where he currently lives.