Anthony (Tony) Cragg was born on April 9, 1949, in Liverpool. From 1969 to 1977 he studied at Gloucestershire College of Art in Cheltenham, the Wimbledon School of Art, and the Royal College of Art in London. In 1977 he moved to Germany and taught at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. The following year he had his first solo exhibitions at the Lisson Gallery in London, the Lutzowstrasse Situation in Berlin, and the Kunstlerhaus Weidenallee in Hamburg. At a time in which Minimalism, Conceptual art, and Arte Povera were dominant, Cragg came to be considered one of the leading figures in the renewal of sculpture.

Like Carl Andre, Richard Long, and Bruce Nauman, among others, Cragg broadened the realm of sculpture, for instance by introducing new materials and techniques. In an attempt to adapt his materials to the world surrounding him, his first sculptures were made of plastic or found objects and materials. Cragg distinguished between art conceived in an ideal framework—like the work of Constantin Brancusi, Alberto Giacometti, and Andy Warhol—and art created by instinct in relation to the world, like that of Edgar Degas, Joseph Beuys, and Medardo Rosso.

In the 1980s Cragg’s work became influenced by the work of scientists and philosophers, from Isaac Newton to Alain Prochiantz. He began to create wood sculptures with forms reminiscent of the domestic architecture found in the Norwegian fjords region and giant versions of laboratory equipment. Cragg participated in Documenta Kassel in 1982 and 1987, and represented England at the Venice Biennale in 1988. That same year he received the Turner Prize. In 1994 he was elected to the Royal Academy. Cragg lives and works in Wuppertal, Germany.