John Kindness

Visual Arts

John Kindness was born in Belfast in 1951 and studied fine art at the Belfast College of Art (now the University of Ulster) and worked as a graphic designer for the BBC before devoting himself full-time to art making in 1986.

Since then he has held fellowships in the International Studio Program at PS1 in New York and the British School in Rome. His exhibition, “Treasures of New York,” led to solo exhibitions at the ICA in Philadelphia, the Kerlin Gallery in Dublin, the Drawing Room in New York, and Littlejohn Contemporary.

His work is collected in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, British Council, Imperial War Museum, National Gallery of Ireland, Ulster Museum, and Victoria and Albert Museum.

John Kindness has been one of the artists most prominent in providing iconic images of a Belfast with his sculptures at the bus station and the weir. His waterfall at the bus station, constructed out of the shards of broken ornaments of the kind that suggest Irish quaintness perhaps reminds us of the old kitch take on our cultural roots while presenting them as litter, washed away.

Projects and Commissions:

2015 Commission for permanent artwork, new exhibition centre, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Commission to design St. Patrick’s Day postage stamp, An Post, Ireland

2013 The Neuro hypothetical currency distributed via museum donation boxes,

major public galleries & museums, London & Dublin

Ninja Turtle Harp street poster distribution linking to website

2012 Gaswork permanent artwork , docklands, Dublin

2010 The Labour Monument Elmwood Park, Philadelphia

2009 Herakles & the Birds SOURCE Arts Centre & Library, Thurles, Ireland

2008 Portrait of Elizabeth Meehan Queens University, Belfast

05/06 The Loathly Lady animated opera project with writer Wendy Steiner

2003 Sisters portraits on car bonnets, civic offices, Ballymun, Dublin

3 Orders of Periwigs (after William Hogarth) Bar Library, Belfast

2000 Gay Byrne Wallpaper, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

1999 Bigfish permanent art work Donegall Quay, Belfast

1998 Museum of the Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly Children’s Hospital, Belfast

Solo Exhibitions:

2014 ‘Odysseus’ Galway Arts Festival, Ireland

09/10 Belfast Frescoes with cross-community project, Ulster Museum Belfast

2008 An English Interior Foundling Museum, London

2007 Aristotle Contemplating Laundry Slate Gallery, Williamsburg, New York

English Pictures Hillsboro Fine Art, Dublin

2006 Retrospective 1986-2006 Switch Room, Belfast (now Golden Thread)

2003 Car Paint portraits, Littlejohn Contemporary, New York

2001 Studio Show British School at Rome

1999 The Savage God Installation in project space, Drawing Centre, New York

1997 John Kindness Institute for Contemporary Art, Philadelphia

Solo show Littlejohn Contemporary, New York

1995 Belfast Frescoes Ulster Museum, Belfast & Kerlin Gallery Dublin

1992 Treasures of New York Art In General, New York & Kerlin Gallery Dublin

1990 Kindness Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin

Selected Group Exhibitions:

2015 Mediation on Plates, Irish Pavillion at Expo, Milan

2014 Sectarian Armour, new display, Imperial War Museum, London

Art of the Troubles, Ulster Museum, Belfast

Meditation on Plates, Casino at Marino, Dublin

Re-framing the Domestic in Irish Art, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda

2013 Catalyst: Contemporary Art & War Imperial War Museum North

2012 Who do you see when you look at me? Burren College of Art, Ireland

2011 Peeping Tom (as below) Kunsthal KaDe, Amersfoort, Netherlands

2010 Peeping Tom curated by Keith Coventry, Vegas Gallery, London

2009 ‘Night Canvass’ special showing of an early work at RHA, Dublin

2008 Me v. U. (young curators selection) Oriel Davies Gallery, Powys, Wales

2007 Driven Fieldgate Gallery, London

Top 20 ‘39London’ Images from National Gallery’s favourite postcards.

2006 Wandering Rocks Gimpel Fils, London

Responding to Rome Estorick Collection, London

2005 Artfutures Bloomberg Space, London

Wunderkammer curated by Edward Allington

Caution: Uneven Surfaces, Temporarycontemporary gallery, London

Paint on Metal, Tucson Museum of Art, Arizona, U.S.A.

2004 At War, Centre de Cultura Contemporanea de Barcelona, Spain

Views From An Island, MMM, Beijing, and Shanghai Art Museum, China

Time Capsule, Art in General, New York

In the Time of Shaking (with Amnesty International) IMMA, Dublin

2003 Time Capsule Artists inspired by archaeology Art In General, New York

2002 Ierse Kunst Stedelijk Museum, Aalst, Belgium


2015 Kohler Arts/Industry Award, residency using cast-iron, enamel & ceramics, WI, USA

2014 Gottlieb Foundation award

2003 Pollock Krasner Foundation award

2001 Sargant Fellowship, British School at Rome

1997 Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia

1995 Artist in Residence, Ulster Museum, Belfast

1990 PS1, International studio Program, New York


Odysseus, Galway Arts Festival

John Kindness Retrospective On-line catalogue, Switch Room, Belfast, HYPERLINK

“” Essays: Marianne O’Kane, Wendy Steiner

Belfast Frescoes, Crowquill/Ulster Museum. Essay: Ciaran Carson

Kindness, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin. Essay: John Carson

Treasures of New York, Kerlin Gallery/A.C.N.I. Essays: Lucy Lippard, David Sandlin.

Selected Public Collections:

British Museum, London

Boston Museum of Fine Art, U.S.A.

British Council, U.K.

Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, U.S.A.

Imperial War Museum, London

Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin

National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

Ulster Museum, Belfast

Victoria & Albert Museum, London