About Carl Craig

Carl Craig is a post-minimalist time-based artist, living and working in Detroit, Michigan. Born in Detroit in 1969, he began his career in the late 1980s as a DJ and producer, and soon came to prominence within the Detroit techno scene. There are many ways that the city of Detroit has imprinted on Craig. Having grown up in Detroit amidst the pervasive post-industrial landscape, Craig spent significant time in desolate warehouses creating his own sound and found inspiration from the City’s architecture.

Craig is frequently acknowledged as one of the field’s most wide-ranging artists, integrating inspirations and sounds from a variety of musical genres into his work. He has released several recordings on both his own Planet E Communications record label and under a number of aliases employed to explore new directions. By creating artworks that establish a temporary environment or event, Craig has continually challenged and expanded the social dimension of art, inviting people from all walks of life to inhabit the special and personal spaces that he constructs and to communally engage in shared movements and actions.

One of the fundamental texts inspiring Craig is Future Shock by Alvin Toffler which he was introduced to by one of his mentors Juan Atkins (whose own label Metroplex derives from Toffler’s work). Future Shock explores the impact of rapid technological and societal changes on individuals. Toffler explores the challenges of adapting to rapid societal changes, similar to Detroit and its struggle with its post-industrial complex. This struggle found a global resonance, particularly in Berlin, where the techno movement thrived and connected two cities undergoing transformative shifts in the early 1990s.

In 2020, Dia Art Foundation commissioned him to create a sound installation at Dia Beacon in dialogue with the unique architecture of the space. Party/After-Party (2020) marked his first commission for an art institution. Deeply personal, Party/After-Party accesses both the euphoria of the club environment and the feeling of isolation that follows this collective experience. In 2023, LA MOCA brought the immersive environment Party/After-Party to the Geffen Contemporary in Los Angeles. Carl Craig: Party/After-Party is held in the permanent collection of Dia Art Foundation.

Artist Statement

My practice is interventional, it aims to create new discourse around the intersection of sound and visual art. Hearing is the most immersive sensation, and music is the only art form where you can see and hear the impact. I aim to bring the experiences I encountered over years as a DJ to the gallery space, and use this drive to dismantle the white cube.

Snippet from Techno City: What is Detroit Techno?, original concept by Guy McCreery, directed by Ben Cohen. Courtesy of Third Ear Records.