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Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 24 January 1940, in New York.

Painter, sculptor, performance artist, video artist. Multimedia.

Body Art, Conceptual Art.

Vito Acconci was born in the Bronx, New York and lives and works in Brooklyn. He studied at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts and at the University of Iowa. He has taught in various art schools and universities and in particular at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University and the Parsons School of Design in New York....

Article

Frazer Ward

(Hannibal)

(b New York, Jan 24, 1940).

American poet, performance, video, and installation artist, and urban designer. Acconci worked for an MFA degree at the University of Iowa from 1962 to 1964. He initially devoted himself to poetry and writing that emphasized the physicality of the page and then began to produce visual work in real space in 1969. He worked as a performance artist from 1969 until 1974. His performance work addressed the social construction of subjectivity. A central work, Seedbed (1972; New York, Sonnabend Gal.), saw Acconci masturbate for six hours a day, hidden under a sloping gallery floor, involving visitors in the public expression of private fantasy. Between 1974 and 1979 he made a series of installations often using video and especially sound, mainly in gallery spaces, examining relations between subjectivity and public space. For Where We Are Now (Who Are We Anyway) (1976; New York, Sonnabend Gal.), a long table in the gallery and recorded voices suggested a realm of public or communal debate, but the table extended out of the window over the street like a diving board, countering idealism with the realities of city life. In the 1980s Acconci made sculptures and installations, many viewer-activated, invoking basic architectural units and domestic space. ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1968, in Redondo Beach (California).

Installation artist, photographer, film maker. Multimedia.

Doug Aitken is a graduate of the Pasadena Art Center College of Design. He started as art director for Fatboy Slim, Iggy Pop and Barenaked Ladies' video clips. He operates from New York and Los Angeles. His installation ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Installation artist, video artist, photographer, sculptor, film maker. Multimedia.

Beth B. attended art school as a child. She studied at University of California, Irvine, and at San Diego State University, and obtained a BFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York. She took her initial as a surname from 'B-Movies', the film company she founded in New York City in the late 1970s. Beth B. has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and from the New York State Council on the Arts. She is co-founder of the artists' group Collaborative Projects Inc. She lives in New York City....

Article

Frazer Ward

(b San Francisco, CA, 1967).

American sculptor, installation artist, filmmaker, and video artist. Barney emerged in the early 1990s to considerable fanfare, based on the reputation of works made while still an undergraduate at Yale University (he graduated with a BA in 1989), and early exhibitions in New York galleries. Exhibitions such as Field Dressing (1989; New Haven, CT, Yale, U., Payne Whitney Athletic Complex), and early works in the series Drawing Restraint (begun in 1987), established characteristics of Barney’s work: striking imagery drawn from an idiosyncratic range of sources (sport-oriented in the earliest works), sculptural objects in signature materials (e.g. petroleum jelly, ‘self-lubricating plastic’), and athletic performances by the artist, in the service of arcane personal mythology (see fig.). These characteristics are most fully expressed in the Cremaster cycle of five films (1994–2003, released out of order, beginning with Cremaster 4 (1992)). Elaborate and expensive productions featuring lush imagery, drawing on both marginal and mainstream histories (performance art and Hollywood cinema), Celtic and Masonic lore, popular cultural references (Harry Houdini, Gary Gilmore), and anatomical metaphors (the Cremaster is the muscle by which the testicles are raised and lowered), the ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in New York and Berlin.

Born 1949, in Columbus (Ohio).

Installation artist, sculptor, mixed media, video artist. Multimedia.

Judith Barry studied finance, architecture and art at the University of Florida, graduating in 1972. She received an MA in Communication Arts from New York Institute of Technology in ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Columbus, OH, 1949).

American installation artist and video artist. She graduated from the University of Florida in 1972, having studied finance, architecture and art; in 1986 she received an MA in Communication Arts from New York Institute of Technology. Barry’s work was consistently guided by an interest in the ways in which lived social relations are translated into built form in architecture and public space. Casual Shopper (1980–81; see 1988 exh. cat., p. 14) is typical of her early video pieces in examining these issues through a narrative about a couple in a Californian shopping mall; in it, Barry shows how the realms of private fantasy blend into the fantastical confections of the mall’s architecture. The slide and film installation In the Shadow of the City...Vamp r y... (1982–5) points to her related interests in subject formation, states of mind, and the way in which power is exercised through the gaze: bringing together a series of domestic and urban spaces, the images show a number of figures looking out of a window and a woman watching a man sleep. ...

Article

American, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 4 February 1959, in Fulton (Missouri).

Mixed media artist, video artist.

Nick Cave received his BFA at Kansas City Art Institute in 1982, and in the summer of 1979 studied at the Alvin Ailey School of Dance. He continued with graduate studies at North Texas University and then completed his MFA in 1989 at Cranbrook Academy of Art. His Soundsuits, in addition to his other series, are inspired both by fine art and elements of contemporary culture. Ultimately, these sculptures, which are both worn and displayed statically, are inspired by his materials. The highly textured fabrics and found materials are often sourced from flea markets and then assembled into loosely anthropomorphic costumes that are hand constructed by Cave himself and his assistants. He also creates two-dimensional works in addition to a variety of mixed media sculptures and video works such as his 2012 film, Blot...

Article

Naomi Beckwith

(b Fulton, MO, Feb 4, 1959).

American sculptor and multimedia artist working in fibre, installation, video, and performance. The youngest of seven sons born into a central Missouri family, Cave demonstrated an early acumen with hand-made objects and throughout his career has created works out of texturally rich materials imbued with cultural meaning. Cave received his BFA (1982) from the Kansas City Art Institute, developing an interest in textiles and, after some graduate-level work at North Texas State University, received his MFA (1989) from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, renowned for their textile, fibre art, and design programmes. While working toward his art degrees, Cave simultaneously studied with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, a company known for introducing African American folk traditions into the modern dance vocabulary. Cave moved to Chicago where he became chair of the Department of Fashion Design at the School of the Art Institute in 1980.

Working across the disciplines of sculpture, textile, dance, and cultural performance, Cave’s oeuvre is based on the human figure; he has produced wearable art as sculptures, arrangements of human and animal figurines as installations, and performance works. Cave’s signature works, the multi-sensory ‘...

Article

Aileen June Wang

(b San Leandro, CA, Feb 3, 1972).

American performance and video artist of Chinese ancestry. Chang earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego in 1994. She showed her first solo exhibition at Jack Tilton Gallery, New York, in 1999. Her body of work focused on how people can be deceived, either through sight—what one sees is not necessarily true—or through mainstream assumptions about such topics as Asia, sexuality, and socially accepted behavior. Chang attributed her past stint in a cybersex company as the catalyst for exploring illusion as a theme. She realized that video flattened three-dimensional, live performances into a stream of two-dimensional images, enabling her to engage in visual deception.

Most of Chang’s early works investigated problems of gender and sexuality, using her own body and elements suggesting violence or transgression. The photograph Fountain (1999) depicted her inside a cubicle of a public lavatory, with a urinal visible on the far wall. Wearing a business suit, she knelt on hands and knees, seemingly kissing herself but actually slurping water off a mirror on the floor. The accompanying video focused on Chang’s face and her passionate interaction with her own reflection. While the photograph suggested female humiliation in a male world, the video complicated matters by implying that the act was motivated by narcissism....

Article

Christopher Finch

(b Chicago, IL, Dec 5, 1901; d Burbank, CA, Dec 15, 1966).

American film maker, animator, and entrepreneur. Much of his childhood was spent in rural Missouri, but during his adolescence the family moved to Kansas City, where he formed an interest in drawing and in Vaudeville theatre. He received little formal training, but by the age of 18 he was earning his living as a cartoonist, first in print and then in the fledgling field of animation. While still in Kansas City, Disney began, with his most important early associate Ubbe (‘Ub’) Iwerks (1901–71), to produce animated shorts including Alice’s Wonderland (1923), in which a young girl, filmed in live action, cavorted with cartoon characters. In 1923 Disney moved to Los Angeles, where Iwerks and other members of the Kansas City team joined him. They continued to produce similar comedies until 1927, when these were superseded by a fully animated series starring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. By this time Disney himself had given up animation to concentrate on a supervisory role, but his ability to provide cartoon stories with dramatic structures and his flair for squeezing humour from visual jokes helped make Oswald a success. Disney lost the rights to the character to an unscrupulous distributor, however, precipitating the crisis that led to his greatest triumph. Urgently needing a new character, Disney created a mouse named Mickey (reputedly the name was chosen by Disney’s wife after many others, such as Mortimer, had been considered). The prototype Mickey, based on circles for ease of animation, was drawn by ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Washington, AR, July 10, 1940).

Native American Cherokee sculptor, performance artist, and video artist. In 1968 he moved to Geneva, where he attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1972. After his return to the USA he lived on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and played an active part in the American Indian Movement; he also served from 1975 to 1979 as the executive director of the International Indian Treaty Council in New York. He left both organizations in 1980. Durham’s sculptures and installations can be seen against a background of activism, in which he records the plight of Native Americans in the face of Western colonial culture. His sculptures, bricolages of found objects, often take the form of vivid anthropomorphic constructions, appearing as ironic fetishes in an ethnographic display. Durham often includes words that provide witty if inconclusive suggestions of the type of protest that he is staging, as in the wall-mounted work ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1952.

Sculptor, video artist. Multimedia.

Ken Feingold took part in the 1995 Lyons Biennale, with an interactive sculpture entitled Childhood/Hot and Cold Wars.

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 27 September 1965, in Billings (Montana).

Installation artist, performance artist, video artist, writer. Multimedia.

Andrea Fraser studied at the School for Visual Arts (1982(1983) and at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, New York (...

Article

Donna Stein

(b New York, May 29, 1940; d New York, Nov 21, 1998).

American multimedia artist, video artist, teacher and writer. She studied painting at Cornell University (BA 1961) and New York University (MA 1967). She married architect James Ingo Freed in 1967. By the late 1960s she possessed a Portapak, one of the earliest Sony portable video recorders, and was among the first generation of artists to create and define video art. At first, she used video to produce a series of artist portraits, interviewing James Rosenquist, Lee Krasner, Adolph Gottlieb, Robert Morris, Roy Lichtenstein, and Joyce Kozloff, among others. Later she investigated personal, social and political issues relating to gender and sexuality. In 1972, her work was featured in the groundbreaking exhibition Circuit: A Video Invitational curated by David Ross at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY.

Her best-known videotape, Art Herstory (22 minutes long and in color), was made in 1974 while she was an artist-in-residence at the Television Lab at the media company WNET. Brilliantly witty and feminist, Freed inserted herself into famous paintings from the 12th to the 20th century by artists such as Raphael, Chardin, Ingres, Manet and van Gogh. She critiqued male-dominated Western art history by portraying a contemporary woman at odds with her depiction in the past....

Article

Donna Stein

(b Essen, June 23, 1930; d New York, Dec 15, 2005).

American architect, educator and critic of German birth. He married writer, multimedia and video artist Hermine Freed in 1967. In 1939 Freed and his 4-year-old sister escaped Nazi Germany via France and Switzerland with an American uncle. In Chicago he was placed in the care of another uncle until his parents immigrated. Freed attended classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, decided to become an architect and enrolled at the Illinois Institute of Technology (BArch 1953). There he learned the tectonics of architecture and was influenced by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

After one year working in New York with Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson on the Seagram Building, I(eoh) M(ing) Pei hired him in 1956. Freed’s earliest projects for the Pei office were award-winning high-rise residential and office buildings (Kips Bay Plaza housing complex, 1963; University Plaza towers, 1967; 88 Pine Street, 1973...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 18 June 1960, in New York City.

Performance artist, writer, art historian, curator. Multimedia, video, film, Internet art. Multiculturalism, feminism.

Coco Fusco studied semiotics at Brown University (1982) and received a MA in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University (...

Article

Revised and updated by Margaret Barlow

(b Urbana, IL, March 31, 1942).

American performance artist, video artist, and writer. Graham founded the Daniels Gallery in New York and was its director from 1964 to 1965; there he came into contact with Minimalist artists such as Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt, and Donald Judd. This led him to question the gallery structure and the art displayed and to experiment with conceptual art. From 1965 to 1969 he produced a series of works published in magazines, such as Schema (1966; Brussels, Daled priv. col., see 1988 exh. cat., p. 9). This series consisted merely of a descriptive list of its own contents, including the number of words, and so referred to nothing beyond itself, unlike Minimalist art that he believed referred to the surrounding display space. Furthermore, the magazine was, unlike a gallery, clearly related to time and change through its regular appearance and topicality.

From 1969 to 1978 Graham was primarily involved with performance, film, and video. His first performance took place at the Loeb Student Center at New York University in ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant and Margaret Rose Vendryes

(b Cleveland, OH, 1959).

American printmaker, film maker, installation and conceptual artist and writer.

Green, of African descent, has worked primarily with film-based media, and has published criticism and designed installations that reveal her commitment to ongoing feminist and black empowerment movements. She earned her BA from Wesleyan University in 1981 and also spent some time at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1980, returning in the late 1980s to study in the Whitney Independent Study Program, graduating in 1990. At the age of 24 she began exhibiting her comparative compositions containing found objects, images, and texts that question recorded history.

Green’s work deals with issues of anthropology and travel. By undertaking projects via the methodology of the 19th-century explorer, she exposed the arbitrary and prejudiced nature of classification, as in Bequest (1991; see 1993 exh. cat.), an installation she made at the invitation of the Worcester Museum of Art to commemorate their 50th anniversary. Using the museum as a ready-made stage set, she installed works of art alongside 19th-century texts explaining stereotypes of whiteness and blackness. Green characteristically intervened in the history of her chosen site to produce a fiction that included her own responses as an African American woman to her findings. In ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1956, in Lima (Ohio).

Performance artist, installation artist, photographer, video artist. Multimedia.

Ann Hamilton studied at the University of Kansas, and at Yale (geology, sculpture and textiles). She lives and works in Columbus, Ohio. A multimedia artist, her earliest shows featured numerous performance works in complex, often vast environments. Her installations are conceived as 'temporal intersections', incorporating the cultural history, geography and socio-economic characteristics of a particular site. Her work engages every area of the human experience, based on the principle that an object should 'take physical possession' of the viewer, before an attempt is made to name it (and hence to 'pin it down'). Each installation implicates a specific sensory environment and highly personal gestures. In ...