Enrique Martínez Celaya is an artist with a highly literate and non-aligned approach to art making. His practice spans a broad range of media and disciplines often embodied in the multi-faceted projects he creates for art venues as well as for environments not traditionally associated with the visual arts. Among the major public collections with works by Martínez Celaya are the Houston Museum of Fine Arts; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He has been recognized with many awards and prizes including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Young Talent Award, the California Community Foundation Fellowship, J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for the Visual Arts and the Anderson Ranch National Artist Award. Martínez Celaya writes and lectures on art—often in its relation to literature and ethics—and his essays have appeared in many publications, including the collection published by the University of Nebraska Press entitled Enrique Martínez Celaya: Collected Writings and Interviews, 1990-2010.
Trained also as a scientist, Martínez Celaya studied Applied Physics at Cornell University and, supported by a fellowship from the Brookhaven National Laboratory, pursued a Ph.D. in Quantum Electronics at the University of California, Berkeley. As a scientist he worked on superconductivity, lasers and laser delivery systems, research for which he was issued an often-cited patent. Martínez Celaya attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine and received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was honored as the second Presidential Professor in the history of the University of Nebraska, and taught as a tenured professor in the faculty of Pomona College and Claremont Graduate University. Martínez Celaya maintains a studio and imprint, Whale & Star, in Miami and lives in Delray Beach, Florida.