During the last thirty years, Robert Ayers has enjoyed a remarkable career, gaining a reputation not only as an artist, but as a writer, as a teacher, as a curator, as a producer and promoter, and as a tireless advocate for the contemporary arts.
Robert Ayers has worked continuously as an artist since the early 1970s, establishing himself as a key figure in the development of live art in Britain. He was one of the instigators of the NOW festival in Nottingham, England, and saw it become one of Europe's outstanding programs of live art, new theater, performance, music, dance, and technology. In 1998 he acted as the first ever guest curator of the (British) National Review of Live Art, and in 2001 he was installed as one of the first Honorary Associates of the National Review.
Robert Ayers has written extensively on painting, sculpture, performance, dance, music, technology, and the interdisciplinary arts for Art + Auction, Art Monthly, ARTnews, Performance Magazine, Studio International, Artscribe, to which he acted as a contributing editor, Live Art Magazine, Transcript, Dance Theatre Journal, Contemporary, Performance Research, and a range of books, exhibition catalogues, scholarly journals, and websites. 1991 saw the publication of Live Art, an Artist's Newsletter handbook on all professional aspects of live art, which he co-edited, and which was described by one reviewer as ‘an inspiration’.
He now works as an independent artist and art-writer: his exhibition reviews appear in every issue of ARTnews, in 2005 he was appointed New York correspondent for Total Theatre magazine (London), and in 2008 he became New York correspondent to EIKON (Vienna). He is a contributor to ARTINFO.com (www.artinfo.com) (where he was Senior Editor, 2006-08) and which has featured hundreds of his articles, interviews, reviews, and auction reports since 2005. In 2009 he launched A Sky filled with Shooting Stars (www.askyfilledwithshootingstars.com) where he provides an in-depth and wide-ranging commentary on the New York art scene.
Robert Ayers is committed to expanding comprehension of the contemporary arts, and is recognized as a gifted and committed teacher. He has taught and lectured in universities, polytechnics, and art colleges throughout Britain, Europe, and the United States. Between 1989 and 1994 he was Head of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at The Nottingham Trent University in England, between 1994 and 2003 he was the university’s Artistic Director, and in 1995 he was installed there as Professor of the Contemporary Arts, a personal chair created in recognition of his standing as an artist, writer, and academic.
Robert Ayers enjoys a reputation for working at the most immediately contemporary edge of the interdisciplinary arts. In 2003 he conducted a highly prestigious research residency at Franklin Furnace in New York City. This residency was funded by the (British) Arts and Humanities Research Board and was awarded on the strength of Robert Ayers’s ‘academic excellence’. It enabled him to make an entirely original first hand study of the relationship between physical and digital forms of performance art.
Robert Ayers is recognized as possessing one of the more consistently stimulating imaginations in the contemporary interdisciplinary arts, and enjoys a genuinely international profile.