I was sad to learn of the passing of Martin Gardner in 2010. I really enjoyed reading his articles in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN. I did send him a letter but it was never answered.
Martin Gardner: 1914-2010
Chris French mourns the passing of Martin Gardner, a prolific writer and populariser of mathematics, and one of the most influential figures in scepticism
Martin Gardner’s uncompromising attacks on fringe science and New Age ideas delighted his admirers and enraged his detractors.
Photograph: Konrad Jacobs, Erlangen/Creative Commons
Tuesday 25 May 2010 07.39 EDT Last modified on Wednesday 10 February 2016 10.38 EST
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I woke up on Sunday morning to some very sad news. Martin Gardner had died the previous day at the age of 95.
Gardner’s life was not only long but extraordinarily productive. He was a polymath and a gifted writer, publishing more than 70 books in his long career as well as innumerable magazine and newspaper articles. His wide range of interests included recreational mathematics, pseudoscience, scepticism, magic, religion, philosophy and literature. He will be mourned by many hundreds of thousands around the world.
It is no exaggeration to describe Gardner as one of the most influential figures in scepticism. In 1976 he was a founding member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP; now known as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, CSI).
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His sceptical credentials were already well established by that time. Back in 1952 he had published his seminal analysis of the nature of pseudoscience, Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. In this classic work, which is still well worth reading, he demolished a wide range of pseudoscientific claims to the total satisfaction of any reader with an iota of critical intelligence. His targets covered a very wide range including UFOs, creationism, Atlantis, scientology, Rudolf Steiner, dowsing, reincarnation, and Wilhelm Reich – to name but a few. It is, of course, slightly depressing to realise just how contemporary this book still sounds.
Gardner’s uncompromising attacks on fringe science and New Age ideas delighted his admirers and enraged his detractors for many decades. From 1983 to 2002, he contributed a regular column to the Skeptical Inquirer magazine under the title “Notes of a fringe watcher” and published several more sceptical books including Science: Good, Bad and Bogus and Order and Surprise.
His interests were by no means limited to science and mathematics, however, and he found time to write many acclaimed books of literary criticism. The most successful of these is probably his annotated versions of the Alice stories (available in several versions including The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition). Gardner and Lewis Carroll had a huge amount in common: a passion for mathematics and logical puzzles, a love of conjuring, and a curious and playful intellect that delighted in wordplay and whimsy.
Little wonder then that the Annotated Alice books are such a joy to read, as Gardner explains the literary references, solves the puzzles and unravels the clever puns in the most loved of Carroll’s offerings. I can still remember my delight at being presented with so many translations of the famous Jabberwocky nonsense poem, “‘Twas brillig and the slithy toves …”
He also produced annotated versions of several other classic works including G. K. Chesterton’s The Innocence of Father Brown and The Man Who Was Thursday and poems such as The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and The Night Before Christmas. He even wrote fictional works, including the semi-autobiographical novel The Flight of Peter Fromm.
He will probably be best remembered as the man who made maths fun in a way that no one else had ever quite managed before. This was no doubt partly because he never took a maths course beyond high school. Indeed, it is said that he struggled to learn calculus. But what he did have was a fascination with puzzles and magic tricks and a wonderful ability to communicate and share his enthusiasm, which eventually led to his writing a recreational mathematics column for Scientific American that ran for 25 years.
Many collections of his perplexing and intriguing brain-teasers were published under such titles as Mathematical Carnival and Mathematical Circus. For many people, including me, these books were a first introduction to the playful and creative mind of Mr Gardner.
In light of the above, his views on religion may come as a surprise. Unlike most sceptics, he was neither an atheist nor an agnostic. Instead he described himself as “a philosophical theist”. He was critical of organised religion but he believed in God. This belief, he felt, depended entirely upon faith and could never be proved or disproved by science and logic. He did not believe that God intervenes directly in the world to perform miracles or that God communicates directly with human beings, but he believed that human beings live happier lives through faith and prayer.
Like hundreds of thousands of other fans throughout the world, although I never met Gardner, I am sure I would have liked him if I had. By all accounts he was a shy man who did not enjoy appearing in public. I feel I know something of him through his books and I mourn his passing. However, his loss will obviously be felt so much more keenly by those who did have a close personal relationship with him. James Randi, himself a towering figure within scepticism, is one such person. I leave you with his words:
My world is a little darker…
Martin Gardner has died. I have dreaded to type those words, and Martin would not have wanted to know that I’m so devastated at what I knew – day to day – had to happen very soon. I’m glad to report that his passing was painless and quick. That man was one of my giants, a very long-time friend of some 50 years or so. He was a delight, a very bright spot in my firmament, one to whom I could always turn to with a question or an idea, with any strange notion I could invent, and with any complaint or comment I could come up with.
I never had an angry word with Martin. Never. It was all laughs and smiles, all the best of everything.
Forgive me for writing this without any editing. It’s just as it occurs to me. I can’t quite picture my world without him, and just yesterday I printed up a new set of mailing labels for him, plus stationery, which didn’t get mailed. For the last few years I supplied him with that small favor, assuring him that he should notify me when he ran out, but he never did, because he thought it was too much trouble for me. Only when I received a letter from him last week that was hand-addressed, did I know that it was time for another shipment to Oklahoma.
He was such a good man, a productive and useful member of our society, and I can anticipate the international reaction to his passing. His books – so many of them – remain to remind us of his contributions to us all. His last one was dedicated to me, and I am just so proud of that fact, so very proud…
It will take a while, but Martin would want me to get on with my life, so I will.
Chris French (Twitter @chriscfrench) is a professor of psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he heads the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit. He edits the The Skeptic
Martin Gardner Communications Award
On May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I sent a letter to Martin Gardner and here is a portion of that letter below:
I have enclosed a cassette tape by Adrian Rogers and it includes a story about Charles Darwin‘s journey from the position of theistic evolution to agnosticism. Here are the four bridges that Adrian Rogers says evolutionists can’t cross in the CD “Four Bridges that the Evolutionist Cannot Cross.” 1. The Origin of Life and the law of biogenesis. 2. The Fixity of the Species. 3.The Second Law of Thermodynamics. 4. The Non-Physical Properties Found in Creation.
In the first 3 minutes of the cassette tape is the hit song “Dust in the Wind.” Below I have given you some key points Francis Schaeffer makes about the experiment that Solomon undertakes in the book of Ecclesiastes to find satisfaction by looking into learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries, and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).
Schaeffer noted that Solomon took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.”
Here the first 7 verses of Ecclesiastes followed by Schaeffer’s commentary on it:
The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.
Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it. Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.
Solomon doesn’t place man outside of the cycle. Man doesn’t escape the cycle. Man is in the cycle. Birth and death and youth and old age.
There is no doubt in my mind that Solomon had the same experience in his life that I had as a younger man (at the age of 18 in 1930). I remember standing by the sea and the moon arose and it was copper and beauty. Then the moon did not look like a flat dish but a globe or a sphere since it was close to the horizon. One could feel the global shape of the earth too. Then it occurred to me that I could contemplate the interplay of the spheres and I was exalted because I thought I can look upon them with all their power, might, and size, but they could contempt nothing. Then came upon me a horror of great darkness because it suddenly occurred to me that although I could contemplate them and they could contemplate nothing yet they would continue to turn in ongoing cycles when I saw no more forever and I was crushed.
Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Schaeffer noted that Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”
- Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
- Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future. (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
- Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors— and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness, and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
- Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
- There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)
By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “ Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had and that “all was meaningless UNDER THE SUN,” and looking ABOVE THE SUN was the only option. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that.
Livgren wrote, “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”
Both Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. Hope is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.
Kerry Livgren/Dave Hope: 700 Club Interview (Kansas) Part 1
This is part 1 of a 2 part interview featuring Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope of Kansas on the 700 Club discussing their faith.
Kerry Livgren/Dave Hope: 700 Club Interview (Kansas) Part 2
Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.
Watching the film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? in 1979 impacted my life greatly
Francis Schaeffer in the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?
Francis and Edith Schaeffer
Riley was born at Norwood, London, the daughter of a businessman. Her childhood was spent in Cornwall and Lincolnshire. She studied at Goldsmiths’ College from 1949 to 1952, and at the Royal College of Art from 1952 to 1955. She began painting figure subjects in a semi-impressionist manner, then changed to pointillism around 1958, mainly producing landscapes. In 1960 she evolved a style in which she explored the dynamic potentialities of optical phenomena. These so-called ‘Op-art‘ pieces, such as Fall, 1963 (Tate Gallery T00616), produce a disorienting physical effect on the eye.
Riley taught children for two years before joining the Loughborough School of Art, where she initiated a basic design course in 1959. She then taught at Hornsey School of Art, and from 1962 at Croydon School of Art. She worked for the J. Walter Thompson Group advertising agency from 1960, but gave up teaching and advertising agency work in 1963-4.
Group shows include Young Contemporaries, London, 1955; Diversion, South London Art Gallery 1958; an Arts Council Touring Exhibition, 1962; Tooth’s Critics Choice Exhibition, selected by Edward Lucie-Smith, 1963; John Moores’ Exhibition, Liverpool, 1963; The New Generation, Whitechapel Gallery 1964; Movement, Hanover Gallery, London, 1964; Painting and Sculpture of a Decade 1954-1964, Tate Gallery, 1964; and Op Art, touring Ireland in 1967. Her numerous European and American exhibitions include The Sixties Collection Revisited, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut, 1978.
Riley was awarded the AICA Critics Prize in 1963 and also that year a John Moores’, Liverpool Open Section prize. In 1964 she was awarded a Peter Stuyvesant Foundation Travel bursary to the USA. In 1968 she won an International Painting Prize at the Venice Biennale.
Her first solo exhibition was held at Gallery One in 1962 with a second solo show the following year. Other solo shows were held at Nottingham University, 1963; Richard Feigen Gallery, New York and Feigen Palmer Gallery, Los Angeles, 1965; Museum of Modern Art, New York, with US tour, 1966; Venice Biennale, British Pavilion (with Phillip King), 1968; Hayward Gallery, London, 1971; National Gallery, Prague, 1971; Hayward Gallery and Kunsthalle Nuremberg, 1992; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, 1995; and Waddington Galleries, London, 1996.
Robert Kudielka (ed.), Bridget Riley: Dialogues on Art, introduction by Richard Shone, London 1995
Movement in Squares, 1961,
tempera on hardboard
|Born||Bridget Louise Riley
24 April 1931
Norwood London, England, UK
|Education||Goldsmiths College, Royal College of Art|
|Known for||Painting and Drawing|
Bridget Louise Riley CH CBE (born 24 April 1931 in Norwood, London) is an English painter who is one of the foremost exponents of Op art. She currently lives and works in London, Cornwall and the Vaucluse in France.
Early life and education
Riley was born in London in 1931. Her father, John Fisher Riley, originally from Yorkshire, was a printer. Her grandfather was an officer in the Army. In 1938 he relocated the printing business, together with his family, to Lincolnshire.
At the beginning of World War II Riley’s father was mobilised from the Honourable Artillery Company and sent to the Far East. Bridget Riley, together with her mother and sister Sally, moved to a cottage in Cornwall. The cottage, not far from the sea near Padstow, was shared with an aunt who was a former student at Goldsmiths’ College, London. Primary education came in the form of irregular talks and lectures by non-qualified or retired teachers. She attended Cheltenham Ladies’ College (1946–1948) and then studied art at Goldsmiths College (1949–52), and later at the Royal College of Art (1952–55). There her fellow students included artists Peter Blake, Geoffrey Harcourt (the retired painter, also noted for his many well known chair designs) and Frank Auerbach. In 1955 Riley graduated with a BA degree.
Between 1956 and 1958 she nursed her father, who had been involved in a serious car crash, and herself suffered a breakdown. After this she worked in a glassware shop and also, for a while, taught children. She eventually joined the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, as an illustrator, where she worked part-time until 1962. The large Whitechapel Gallery exhibition of Jackson Pollock, in the winter of 1958, was to have a major impact on her.
Her early work was figurative with a semi-impressionist style. Between 1958 and 1959 her work at the advertising agency showed her adoption of a style of painting based on the pointillist technique. Around 1960 she began to develop her signature Op Art style consisting of black and white geometric patterns that explore the dynamism of sight and produce a disorienting effect on the eye. In the summer of 1960 she toured Italy with mentor Maurice de Sausmarez, and the two visited the Venice Biennale with its large exhibition of Futurist works.
Early in her career, Riley worked as an art teacher from 1957–58 at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Harrow (now known as Sacred Heart Language College). Later she worked at the Loughborough School of Art (1959),Hornsey College of Art, and Croydon College of Art (1962–64).
In 1961, with partner Peter Sedgley, she visited the Vaucluse plateau in the South of France, and acquired a derelict farm which would eventually be transformed into a studio. Back in London, in the spring of 1962, Riley was given her first solo exhibition, by Victor Musgrave of Studio One.
In 1968 Riley, with Peter Sedgley and the journalist Peter Townsend, created the artists’ organisation SPACE (Space Provision Artistic Cultural and Educational), with the goal of providing artists large and affordable studio space.
It was during this time that Riley began to paint the black and white works for which she is best known. They present a great variety of geometric forms that produce sensations of movement or colour. In the early 1960s, her works were said to induce sensation in viewers as varied as seasick and sky diving. From 1961 to 1964 she worked with the contrast of black and white, occasionally introducing tonal scales of grey. Works in this style comprised her first 1962 solo show at Musgrave’s Gallery One, as well as numerous subsequent shows. For example, in Fall, a single perpendiculars curve is repeated to create a field of varying optical frequencies. Visually, these works relate to many concerns of the period: a perceived need for audience participation (this relates them to the Happenings, for which the period is famous), challenges to the notion of the mind-body duality which led Aldous Huxley to experiment with hallucinogenic drugs; concerns with a tension between a scientific future which might be very beneficial or might lead to a nuclear war; and fears about the loss of genuine individual experience in a Brave New World. Her paintings have, since 1961, been executed by assistants from her own endlessly edited studies.
Riley began investigating colour in 1967, the year in which she produced her first stripe painting. Following a major retrospective in the early 1970s, Riley began travelling extensively. After a trip to Egypt in the early 1980s, where she was inspired by colourful hieroglyphicdecoration, Riley began to explore colour and contrast. In some works, lines of colour are used to create a shimmering effect, while in others the canvas is filled with tessellating patterns. Typical of these later colourful works is Shadow Play.
In many works since this period, Riley has employed others to paint the pieces, while she concentrates on the actual design of her workSome are titled after particular dates, others after specific locations (for instance, Les Bassacs, the village near Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt in the south of France where Riley has a studio).
Following a visit to Egypt in 1980–81 Riley created colours in what she called her ‘Egyptian palette’ and produced works such as the Kaand Ra series, which capture the spirit of the country, ancient and modern, and reflect the colours of the Egyptian landscape. Invoking the sensorial memory of her travels, the paintings produced between 1980 and 1985 exhibit Riley’s free reconstruction of the restricted chromatic palette discovered abroad. In 1983 for the first time in fifteen years, Riley returned to Venice to once again study the paintings that form the basis of European colourism. Towards the end of the 1980s Riley’s work underwent a dramatic change with the reintroduction of the diagonal in the form of a sequence of parallelograms used to disrupt and animate the vertical stripes that had characterised her previous paintings. In Delos (1983), for example, blue, turquoise, and emerald hues alternate with rich yellows, reds and white.
Over the course of her career, Riley has created murals for major art institutions, including the Tate, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the National Gallery, but none were permanent. In 2014, the Imperial College Healthcare Charity Art Collection commissioned the artist to make a permanent 56-meter mural, her first for 27 years, for St Mary’s Hospital, London; the work was installed on the 10th floor of the hospital’s Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother Wing, joining two others for the 8th and 9th floors completed by Riley more than 20 years earlier.
On the nature and role of the artist
Beckett interprets Proust as being convinced that such a text cannot be created or invented but can only be discovered within the artist himself, and that it is, as it were, almost a law of his own nature. It is his most precious possession, and, as Proust explains, the source of his innermost happiness. However, as can be seen from the practice of the great artists, although the text may be strong and durable and able to support a lifetime’s work, it cannot be taken for granted and there is no guarantee of permanent possession. It may be mislaid or even lost, and retrieval is very difficult. It may lie dormant, and be discovered late in life after a long struggle, as with Mondrian or Proust himself. Why it should be that some people have this sort of text while others do not, and what ‘meaning’ it has, is not something which lends itself to argument. Nor is it up to the artist to decide how important it is, or what value it has for other people. To ascertain this is perhaps beyond even the capacities of an artist’s own time.
Writer and curator
Riley has written on artists from Nicolas Poussin to Bruce Nauman. She co-curated “Piet Mondrian: From Nature to Abstraction” (with Sean Rainbird) at the Tate Gallery in 1996. Alongside art historian Robert Kudielka, Riley also served as curator of the 2002 exhibition “Paul Klee: The Nature of Creation”, an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London. In 2010, she curated an artists choice show at the National Gallery in London, choosing large figure paintings by Titian, Veronese, El Greco, Rubens, Poussin, and Paul Cézanne.
In 1965, Riley exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City show, The Responsive Eye (created by curator William C. Seitz); the exhibition which first drew worldwide attention to her work and the Op Art movement. Her painting Current, 1964, was reproduced on the cover of the show’s catalogue. Riley became increasingly disillusioned, however, with the exploitation of her art for commercial purposes, discovering that in the USA there was no copyright protection for artists. The first US copyright legislation was eventually passed, following an independent initiative by New York artists, in 1967.
She participated in documentas IV (1968) and VI (1977). In 1968, Riley represented Great Britain in the Venice Biennale, where she was the first British contemporary painter, and the first woman, to be awarded the International Prize for painting. Her disciplined work lost ground to the assertive gestures of the Neo-Expressionists in the 1980s, but a 1999 show at theSerpentine Gallery of her early paintings triggered a resurgence of interest in her optical experiments. “Bridget Riley: Reconnaissance”, an exhibition of paintings from the 1960s and 1970s, was presented at Dia:Chelsea in 2000. In 2001, she participated in Site Santa Fe, and in 2003 the Tate Britain organised a major Riley retrospective. In 2005 her work was featured at Gallery Oldham. Between November 2010 and May 2011 her exhibition “Paintings and Related Work” was presented at the National Gallery, London.
In June and July 2014 the retrospective show “Bridget Riley: The Stripe Paintings 1961–2014” was presented at the David Zwirner Gallery in London. In July and August 2015 the retrospective show “Bridget Riley: The Curve Paintings 1961–2014” was presented at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea. From September 2015 to January 2016, the Courtauld Gallery presented “Bridget Riley: Learning from Seurat” in London, illustrating how Georges Seurat‘s pointillist work The Bridge at Courbevoie influenced her towards abstract painting. In November 2015, the exhibition Bridget Riley opened at David Zwirner in New York. The show features paintings and works on paper by the artist from 1981 to present; the fully illustrated catalogue features an essay by the art historian Richard Shiff and biographical notes compiled by Robert Kudielka.
- Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal
- Arts Council Collection, London
- British Council Collection, London
- Ferens Art Gallery, Hull
- Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
- Glasgow Museums Resource Centre, Glasgow
- Government Art Collection, London
- Leeds Art Gallery
- Maclaurin Art Gallery at Rozelle House, Ayr
- Manchester Art Gallery
- Morley College, London
- Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
- Museum of Modern Art, New York
- National Museum Cardiff, National Museum Wales
- Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City
- Ruth Borchard Collection
- Southampton City Art Gallery
- Tate, London
- University of Warwick
- Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
- Whitworth, Manchester
Artists who have acknowledged Riley’s influence on their work include Ross Bleckner, Philip Taaffe, and Diana Thater. In 2013, Riley claimed that a wall-sized, black-and-white checkerboard work by Tobias Rehberger plagiarised her painting Movement of Squares and asked for it to be removed from display at the Berlin State Library‘s reading room.
Riley has been given honorary doctorates by Oxford (1993) and Cambridge (1995). In 2003, she was awarded the Praemium Imperiale, and in 1998 she became one of only 65 Companions of Honour in Britain. As a board member of the National Gallery in the 1980s, she blocked Margaret Thatcher‘s plan to give an adjoining piece of property over to developers and thus helped ensure the eventual construction of the museum’s Sainsbury Wing.Riley has also received the international prize for painting at the 1968 Venice Biennale, the Kaiserring of the city of Goslar in 2009 and the 12th Rubens Prize of Siegen in 2012. Also in 2012, she became the first woman to receive the Sikkens Prize, the Dutch art prize recognising the use of colour.
In 2006, her Untitled (Diagonal Curve) (1966), a black-and-white canvas of dizzying curves, was bought by Jeffrey Deitch at Sotheby’s for $2.1 million, nearly three times its $730,000 high estimate and also a record for the artist. In February 2008, the artist’s dotted canvas Static 2 (1966) brought £1,476,500 ($2.9 million), far exceeding its £900,000 ($1.8 million) high estimate, at Christie’s in London. Chant 2 (1967), part of the trio shown in the Venice Biennale, went to a private American collector for £2,561,250 ($5.1 million), in July 2008, at Sotheby’s.
Riley is represented in London by Karsten Schubert who has been her main agent since 1990, as well as by David Zwirner in London and New York, Max Hetzler in Paris and Berlin, and Green on Red Gallery in Dublin.
- Bridget Riley: The Stripe Paintings 1961–2014 (New York: David Zwirner Books, 2014). Texts by Robert Kudielka, Paul Moorhouse, and Richard Shiff. ISBN 9780989980975 
- Bridget Riley: The Stripe Paintings 1961–2012 (London: Ridinghouse; Berlin: Holzwarth Publications and Galerie Max Hetzler, 2013). Texts by John Elderfield, Robert Kudielka and Paul Moorhouse.
- Bridget Riley: Works 1960–1966 (London: Ridinghouse, 2012). Bridget Riley in conversation with David Sylvester (1967) and with Maurice de Sausmarez (1967).
- Bridget Riley: Complete Prints 1962–2012 (London: Ridinghouse, 2012). Essays by Lynn MacRitchie and Craig Hartley; edited by Karsten Schubert.
- The Eye’s Mind: Bridget Riley. Collected Writings 1965–1999 (London: Thames & Hudson, Serpentine Gallery and De Montfort University, 1999). Includes conversations with Alex Farquharson, Mel Gooding, Vanya Kewley, Robert Kudielka, and David Thompson. Edited by Robert Kudielka.
- Bridget Riley: Paintings from the 60s and 70s (London: Serpentine Gallery, 1999). With texts by Lisa Corrin, Robert Kudielka, and Frances Spalding.
- Bridget Riley: Selected Paintings 1961–1999 (Düsseldorf: Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen; Ostfildern: Cantz Publishers, 1999). With texts by Michael Krajewski, Robert Kudielka, Bridget Riley, Raimund Stecker, and conversations with Ernst H. Gombrich and Michael Craig-Martin.
- Bridget Riley: Works 1961–1998 (Kendal, Cumbria: Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Museum, 1998). A conversation with Isabel Carlisle.
- Bridget Riley: Dialogues on Art (London: Zwemmer, 1995). Conversations with Michael Craig-Martin, Andrew Graham Dixon, Ernst H. Gombrich, Neil MacGregor, and Bryan Robertson. Edited by Robert Kudielka and with an introduction by Richard Shone.
- Bridget Riley: Paintings and Related Work (London: National Gallery Company Limited, 2010). Text by Colin Wiggins, Michael Bracewell, Marla Prather and Robert Kudielka. ISBN 978 1 85709 497 8.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Bridget Riley|
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- Jonathan Jon,es, The Life of Riley (interview), The Guardian, 5 July 2008
- “At the end of my pencil” article by Bridget Riley, London Review of Books
- Slideshow of paintings in Bridget Riley’s Museum für Gegenwartskunst retrospective, 2012