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Article

Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy

American installation artists, active also in Puerto Rico. Jennifer Allora (b Philadelphia, Mar 20, 1974) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Richmond, Virginia (1996), and Guillermo Calzadilla (b Havana, Cuba, Jan 10, 1971) graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Escuela de Artes Plastica in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1996). Allora and Calzadilla met in Italy in 1995 during a study abroad program in Florence. They then lived together in San Juan for a year before moving to New York City where they started working collaboratively while each participated in different residency and study programs. In 1998–1999, Allora participated in the year-long Whitney Independent Study Program, while Calzadilla participated in the P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center National Studio Program.

Allora & Calzadilla’s first important international exhibition was the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo in 1998 curated by Paulo Herkenhoff, which investigated the idea of cultural cannibalism known in Brazilian literature as ...

Article

Daniel Montero

(b Mexico City, 1970).

Mexican installation artist, video artist, and performance artist. Amorales studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, after attending Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (1996–1997), both in Amsterdam. He worked with images and signs of different types that when modified, combined, and recoded produce new images and meanings in turn. Based on pre-existing information and images he found on the Internet, Amorales created a particular way of working, more closely resembling that of a design studio than a traditional artist’s atelier. In his workspace and with a team of assistants, he proposed different ways of understanding the forms in which signs circulate and are appropriated, inquiring into notions of authorship, communication, and artistic media. From 1998 Amorales collected images from the Internet and converterted them into black, white, and red vectors. This collection is now known as the Liquid Archive. With these images, he produced several artworks in which multiplicity, repetition, and juxtaposition are constant. For example, in the video ...

Article

Eduardo Serrano

(b Cartagena, Dec 18, 1920; d Bogotá, Apr 1, 2004).

Colombian painter, sculptor, printmaker, filmmaker, and stage designer. He studied at the Art Students League in New York from 1941 to 1943 and subsequently visited Italy, where he studied fresco and etching techniques before settling again in Colombia. Consistently devoted to the human form, he initially depicted figures with angular heads and striped tunics in a strong light, with symbolic objects such as eggs, masks, or cages.

In such later paintings as Boy with Umbrella (1964; Washington, DC, A. Mus. Americas) Grau’s figures were transformed into plump, fleshy, and voluptuous beings, richly arrayed with lace, feathers, hats, and fans, like characters taken from the theater or from popular turn-of-the-century postcards. His scenes were gradually filled with anecdotal details and numerous objects, including cupboards, easels, boxes, masks, and flowers, through which he suggested emotionally charged atmospheres. Grau also produced murals, prints, stage sets, films, and especially sculptures. The first of these were assemblages of antique and industrial objects, but he subsequently made cast-bronze sculptures that convey a sensuousness, mystery, and nostalgia similar to that evoked by his paintings....

Article

Mexican, 20th–21st century, female.

Born in 1963, in Culiacán (Mexico).

Active in Mexico City.

Performance artist, video artist, sculptor, photographer.

Social Practice Art, Conceptual Art.

Through performance art, photography, and sculpture, Teresa Margolles draws attention to the death, violence, and civil unrest that has plagued Mexico City since the rise of the drug cartels. Her work may be classified as social practice. Playing on the viewers’ imaginations and fears, Margolles uses subject matter that forces viewers to confront the brutal realities of modern-day Mexico.

In 1990, while completing her diploma in forensic medicine and science of communication at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City, Margolles founded the artistic collective SEMEFO (Servicio Medico Forense – Forensic Medical Services) with artists Arturo Angulo Gallardo, Carlos Lopez Orosco, and Juan Luis Garcia Zavaleta. Their work critiqued Mexico’s economy of death, exploitation, and violence. The collective would use the city morgues as their studio and would collect and incorporate human body parts, fluids, and residues into their work....

Article

Cuban, 20th century, female.

Active in the United States.

Born 1948, in Havana; died 8 September 1985, in New York.

Sculptor, installation artist, performance artist, video artist, photographer.

Body Art, performance.

Ana Mendieta’s family left Cuba in 1961 for political reasons. She studied in the United States at the University of Iowa as a painter before radically changing her artistic direction. From 1972 to 1980, Mendieta created performance pieces, or ‘earth–body sculptures’, in Iowa and Mexico; these involved inserting her body into nature as a means of expressing and questioning her Afro-Cuban roots. She was particularly influenced by Santería, a syncretic South American religious movement, while exploring her status as a woman and an immigrant.

Mendieta joined the Artist in Residence Inc. (A.I.R.) Gallery in New York in 1978. A.I.R was the first all-female gallery to be opened in the United States. Mendieta’s active participation in the gallery was crucial to the development of her own feminist practice. While working at the gallery, Mendieta met her future husband, the Minimalist artist Carl Andre....

Article

Susan S. Weininger

(b Havana, Nov 18, 1948; d New York, Sep 8, 1985).

American sculptor, performance artist, video artist, and painter of Cuban birth. From the age of 12, when she was sent to the USA from Cuba by her parents, she lived in orphanages and foster homes in Iowa. Her sense of exile and the separation from her family proved strong motivating forces on her later work. After completing an MA in painting at the University of Iowa in 1972, she entered the university’s new Multimedia and Video Art program, in which she was free to experiment and develop a unique formal language, gaining an MFA in 1977.

In the 1970s Mendieta began to create “earth-body sculptures” outdoors in Iowa, using the primal materials of blood, earth, fire, and water, having first executed performances that she documented in photographs or black-and-white films. In the Silueta series she traced or sculpted the image of her body on the ground, using ignited gunpowder, leaves, grass, mud, stones, other natural elements, or cloth (e.g. ...

Article

Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Painter, intervention artist, video artist. Multimedia.

In 1995 Orta took part in the international contemporary art fair in Paris, held at the Yvonamor Palix art space. In 1996, he organised an exhibition revealing the diversity of his techniques at the gallery in Pointe du Dourven (Côtes-d'-Armor)....

Article

Spanish, 21st century, female.

Born 1989, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Performance artist. Installation, video and net-art, social-media art, Instagram art.

Amalia Ulman studied Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins in London, receiving her BFA in 2011. Ulman is a multidisciplinary artist whose work is concerned with consumerism and how identity is constructed through social media, class, and social status. She works in a variety of mediums including installations, sculpture, performance, poetry, film, collage, and net art. In her Excellences & Perfections from 2014, Ulman staged a performance through her Instagram and Facebook accounts, inspired by stereotypes of how young women present themselves. In three parts – Innocence, Sin, Redemption – she tells the story of a wealthy and beautiful young blonde girl who just moved to Los Angeles. As she breaks up with her boyfriend she turns to the lifestyle of a ‘sugar baby’, falling into a deep depression and changing her hair colour to become a brunette. Ultimately, through mediation, yoga, and inspirational slogans, she comes out on top as a healthy and peaceful individual. By examining the reception of her deceptively orchestrated photographs through both likes and comments, she makes apparent society’s obsession with image, beauty, wealth, and status....

Article

Chilean, 20th century, female.

Active in New York.

Installation artist, performance artist, poet, film maker.

Cecilia Vicuna studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes at the University of Santiago de Chile, then at the Slade School of Fine Arts at University College London. She lives and works in New York....