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Native American (Choctaw), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1959, in Phoenix.

Beadworker, painter, fashion designer, glass artist , performance artist.

Marcus Amerman is a distinguished Choctaw artist who works in a number of media and in performance (as a figure called ‘Buffalo Man’) but is best known for creating his own approach to the Native American tradition of beadworking. Amerman has a BA in Fine Art from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and also studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and the Anthropology Film Center. He lives and works north of Santa Fe. Amerman uses a highly mimetic style in his beadwork to recreate, and hence reclaim, Indian images from history, as in his beaded version of the famous D.F. Barry photograph, ...

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Kirsta Willis

African-American fashion designer. Burrows’s trademarks included colour blocking, asymmetry, fluid jersey separates and fluted ‘lettuce’ hems. With a youthful nonchalance and anti-establishment sensibility, Burrows clothes defined the movement and the eclecticism of New York City’s nightlife in the 1970s.

Burrows’s love affair with colour stemmed from his mother, who taught him to draw using the entire box of crayons, while from his seamstress grandmother, he learned how to sew. However, Burrows never contemplated a career in fashion until he attended the Philadelphia Museum College of Art. After graduating from Newark’s Arts High School, Burrows set out for Philadelphia, intent on becoming an art teacher. However, spurred on by a fashion exhibition he viewed, Burrows left the arts college in his second year, working briefly in the display department of Bamberger’s department store before enrolling in Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Technology. He graduated in ...

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Sharon Matt Atkins

American painter, printmaker and teacher. Colescott produced highly expressive and gestural paintings that addressed a wide range of social and cultural themes and challenged stereotypes. Interested in issues of race, gender and power, his work critiqued the representation of minorities in literature, history, art and popular culture. Stylistically, his work is indebted to European modernism, particularly Cubism and Expressionism, but also makes references to African sculpture, African American art and post–World War II American styles....

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American fashion designer of Belgian birth. Von Furstenberg is best known for her sexy, printed jersey wrap dresses. Von Furstenberg credits her work ethic and determination to her mother Lily, the survivor of a Nazi concentration camp. In 1966 at the University of Geneva, she met Austro-Italian Prince Edward Egon von Furstenberg, heir to the Fiat fortune. The two married in Paris in ...

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Michael Spens and Carla Tilghman

American architect, exhibition designer, furniture and jewlery designer, and teacher. He qualified at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, in 1954 and attended the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, in 1956–7. After working in various architectural practices, from 1962 he practised independently in Venice, Los Angeles establishing the firm of Frank O. Gehry and Associates, Inc of which he remains the Design Principal. His early work focused on the potential of small-scale works to provide a succinct metaphorical statement, as with various exhibition designs for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and his designs for the Joseph Magnin Stores at Costa Mesa and San Jose (both ...

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Canadian First Nations (Oneida), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1950, in Oshweken (in Ontario).

Sculptor (stone/bronze/wood). Masks, jewellery.

David General grew up on the Grand River Reserve in Southern Ontario. He worked as a schoolteacher before deciding to become an artist after a trip to the Manitoulin Island Reserve, which inspired him to use visual art to promote his Native American heritage. He is a self-taught artist and briefly worked as a painter before turning exclusively to sculpture in the mid-1970s after meeting Bill Reid. Throughout his career he has been heavily involved in working for First Nations (Native American) rights: he co-founded and chaired the Society of Canadian Artists of Native Ancestry (SCANA), has been the coordinator for the Department of Indian Affairs art collection and was an elected representative, and latterly Chief (...

Article

Native American (Kiowa), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1970, on Wind River Reservation (Wyoming).

Beadwork, installation.

Teri Greeves applies beadwork to contemporary objects such as shoes, stilettos and trainers. Her art expresses the contemporaneity of the indigenous experience. Greeves’ reservation upbringing exposed her to bead workers from various tribal backgrounds. She formally trained at University of California–Santa Cruz (BA American Studies, ...

Article

Native American (Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1 April 1943, in Los Angeles.

Sculptor, painter, printmaker, jewellery maker.

The Chiricahua Apache artist Bob Haozous, son of the well-known Apache sculptor Allan Houser (Haozous is the indigenous name which became Houser when anglicised), is a noted figure in his own right, having the distinction of contributing work to two Venice Biennales (...

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Rebecca Arnold

Venezuelan fashion designer, active also in the USA (see fig.). While Herrera’s designs always contain elements of current fashion, her work is more about the cultivation of a sleek international style that is classically feminine. Her upbringing amongst the élite, leisured classes of South America encouraged her to view clothing as a visual expression of good taste and ease. Rather than following trends, her designs tend to favour clean lines, with a focus on detail....

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Amy Widmayer

American fashion and accessories designer. He is often regarded as the most talented and influential American designer of his generation, due in part to his uncanny understanding of how the perception of fashion’s past and the definition of beauty and glamour change with the passage of time (...

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Melissa Marra

American fashion designer. Known for her exuberant, colourful designs, in the 1960s Johnson emerged as the most prominent designer in New York City’s pop scene—her use of unorthodox material was kindred to the Pop art mentality. Her designs project a sense of unabashed levity and humour that has endured....

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Beth Dincuff Charleston

American fashion designer. Few designers have managed to be as influential as Norma Kamali without extensive press coverage. Specializing in ready-to-wear garments, Kamali introduced the world to the concepts of high-heeled sneakers and mix-and-match bikinis, originated the ‘sleeping bag’ coat and was the first designer to see the wide sartorial possibilities of both sweatshirt jersey and parachute silk (...

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Beth Dincuff Charleston

American fashion designer. Karan’s standing as one of the most successful fashion designers in the United States rests upon her understanding of the needs of the modern woman. Karan is known for using sensuoups, soft fabrics in muted colour schemes, especially black, in layered ensembles that are as flattering as they are practical. As both creator and businesswoman Karan is the true heir of American sportswear designers such as ...

Article

Beth Dincuff Charleston

American fashion designer. Klein first found success with coats and suits, but his creative repertoire grew to encompass sophisticated American sportswear, evening wear and licensed mass market items such as jeans, fragrance and underwear. Known for using luxurious fabrics in a subdued colour palette, his signature pieces and innovations include the peacoat, day-into-night dressing, t-shirts adapted for evening wear and the ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 19 August 1949, in Pasadena.

Painter (including gouache), collage artist, draughtsman, performance artist, lithographer. Stage sets, stage costumes.

Robert Kushner studied at the University of California, San Diego, where he received a BA. In 1971 he travelled in Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, Europe and India with Amy Goldin. He lives and works in New York. His early work in the 1970s was performance art in which his costumes (or lack of them) were as important as the performance. He was a founder of the Pattern and Decorative movement of the 1970s, and his numerous decorative works are inspired by Matisse. He views his work as a continuation and update of a vast conservative tradition, and believes in the importance of beauty in everyday life....

Article

M. B. Whitaker

American fashion designer (see fig.). Lauren is the founder of Polo Ralph Lauren, a fashion company with men’s, women’s, children’s and home brand extensions. Lauren’s collections draw inspiration from romantic, vintage Americana and genteel British aristocracy. Conceptual themes that recur in his work include: equestrian and other sports, yachting, prep school style, rugged and utilitarian work clothing, cowboys, safari (...

Article

Native American (Warm Springs, Wasco and Yakima), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1943, in Oregon.

Ceramicist, glass artist, mask-maker, jewellery artist, printmaker, sculptor. Public art.

‘Giving voice to my ancestors’ is a central concern of the Pacific Northwest and Oregon-based artist Lillian Pitt. Much of the work she creates in a variety of media (ceramics, glass, bronze, and other materials) contains a strong awareness of the deep histories of her peoples and their 12,000-year existence in the Columbia River Basin in Oregon. Born and raised at Warm Springs Indian Reservation near Madras, Oregon, she directly descends from the three tribal peoples based there after a historic treaty removed them from their homelands along the Columbia River....

Article

Kristen E. Stewart

Dominican-born American fashion designer. De la Renta’s illustrious career spans nearly six decades and is part of the canon of American fashion design (see fig.). Known for flattering, highly wearable designs characterized by sophisticated femininity and romantic details, de la Renta made a name for himself both as a designer and as a man of style at the centre of prominent social circles....

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Jordana Moore Saggese

African American sculptor, jeweller, printmaker, installation artist, performance artist, and poet . Daughter of the renowned quiltmaker Elizabeth Talford Scott (b 1914), she received a BFA in art education from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, in 1970 and her MFA from Institute Allende in Mexico in ...

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Beth Dincuff Charleston

American fashion and textile designer ( see fig. ). Sprouse was democratic in his design references but esoterically concerned with the quality of his creations. He drew inspiration from many different forms of art and popular culture. He is best remembered for his association with ...