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 Chelsea, McQueen will present a new monitor-based work alongside a recent two-channel video, Sunshine State (2022), in the adjacent gallery. Sunshine State is displayed on both sides of two large screens, encouraging visitors to move through the space and view the work from either vantage point. Opening with footage of a burning sun, the work unfurls clips from the musical drama The Jazz Singer (1927), the first “talkie” in the history of cinema, starring the famous singer Al Jolson. In a voiceover, McQueen recounts a poignant story that his late father relayed on his deathbed about a personal experience of violent racism in Florida, giving the work its title. Originally commissioned by the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Dia’s presentation marks the debut of the 2022 piece on the East Coast of the United States, throwing its eponymous connection to Florida into sharp relief.
Steve McQueen at Dia Chelsea is complemented by a concurrent exhibition at Dia Beacon, a new installation co-commissioned with Schaulager, Laurenz Foundation, Münchenstein, on view from May 2024 through April 2025. Taken together, the exhibitions reveal the breadth of McQueen’s practice and the through lines that run between his pictorial and more abstract works.
Steve McQueen is curated by Donna De Salvo, senior adjunct curator, special projects, with Emily Markert, curatorial assistant.
All exhibitions at Dia are made possible through the Economou Exhibition Fund.
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.