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Latvian, 20th century, male.

Born 7 October 1930, in Riga, Latvia; died 11 February 2002, in Riga.

Painter, graphicist, draughtsman, and academician. Landscape, genre, still-life, human figure, and abstract subjects.

Boriss Bērziņš’s artistic training began in childhood when the electrician’s son was exposed to Russian Orthodox icons. He copied reproductions of famous paintings and took lessons from watercolourist Jānis Skučs. He studied at Riga’s Janis Rozentāls Art High School ...

Article

Latvian, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 6 September 1943, in Riga, Reichskommissariat Ostland (now Latvia).

Painter, scenographer, poster designer, graphicist, and book illustrator. Literary, allegorical and historical subjects; abstractions and symbolic representations; installations, performance, and soundworks.

Ilmārs Blumbergs spent his childhood in Siberian exile, then studied in the Department of Stage Design at Riga’s Secondary School of Applied Arts ...

Article

Felipe Chaimovich and Roberto Conduru

Brazilian art after 1980 developed a growing dialogue with international contemporary art, sometimes challenging the latter’s hegemony. The revision of constructive modernism and its criticism in Brazilian art since the 1960s were at stake when young artists faced the globalization of the art world during the 1990s. During the 2000s, a more political concern reinforced collective alliances.

In the early 1980s, Brazil experienced the euphoria of the waning moments of dictatorship, which lasted from 1964 to 1985, and the beginning of a new democratic regime. Dictatorship had compromised the collective project of the avant-garde of the 1960s, as advocated by Hélio Oiticica in the catalog text of the group exhibition Nova Objetividade Brasileira (Brazilian New Objectivity) at the Museu de Arte Moderna of Rio de Janeiro in 1967. Brazilian New Objectivity aimed at a transformation of the national culture by means of experimental art, but dictatorship had prohibited group meetings since ...

Article

Anne Kirker

(b Grafton, NSW, Nov 14, 1953).

Australian photographer and installation artist. Hall began her career as a photographer in the mid-1970s, relinquishing a formal training in painting. She produced black-and-white modernist images of people embedded in their surroundings, favouring the incidental and over-looked. However by 1978, when she had lived for a time in London, Hall shifted away from the documentary tradition. Impressed by the Dada and Surrealism Reviewed exhibition at the Hayward Gallery that year, she started to create small yet dense tableaux from discarded objects. During 1978–82 she was a student at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY and, on returning to Australia, wholeheartedly adopted strategies of appropriation and intricate fabrication for her photographs. One of the first Australian artists qualified to teach photo-studies, Hall taught at the South Australian School of Art, Adelaide, from 1983.

Hall’s camera images became increasingly idiosyncratic, playful and interpretatively complex. Instead of seeing meaning in the world around her, she decisively devised projects that explored major philosophical themes. In ...

Article

Rebecca Arnold

[née Pacanins y Nino, Maria Carolina Josefina]

(b Caracas, Jan 8, 1939).

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 among 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 favor clean lines, with a focus on detail.

Herrera was brought up in an environment where clothes were bought from Parisian couturiers, such as Cristobal Balenciaga, or made by skilled local dressmakers. In each case, craftsmanship and structure were important, combined with a desire to acknowledge wealthy women’s lifestyles within the design of each garment. Herrera therefore developed an appreciation for refined design skills and good fit early in her life, which was to prove crucial to her own evolution as a designer. Combined with this awareness of fashion’s central role in the life of wealthy women was her cosmopolitan outlook. This was nurtured by regular trips to Europe and North America, which provided inspiration through visits to galleries and museums, and gave her an understanding of the international lifestyle of many women of her class. The need of these women to be dressed stylishly and appropriately for diverse events from tennis matches to cocktail parties or office work in a city shaped Herrera’s outlook, as much as her appreciation of art and culture....

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Texas, 1950).

American sculptor. Lee came to prominence as a Minimalist in the 1970s. An interest in modernism and the monochrome, as well as a hostility to narrative, made the grid her starting point; following which she began to paint predominantly in black. In the mid-1980s she began to divide up her surfaces with dynamic diagonals and introduced more colour. Nututun (1989; see 1992–3 exh. cat., p. 11) is typical of this stage, when her work developed into wall reliefs: an irregular polygon in shape, it is divided into two fragments of amber-coloured, patinated bronze that partially enclose two smaller fragments of green-coloured bronze. By the end of the decade she was making wall reliefs composed of a number of small, shaped and differently coloured panels constructed from various metals, often arranged in large grid compositions. 40 Faults (1989; see 1992–3 exh. cat., pp. 42–3) consists of 40 large green–black patinated metal reliefs, similar to apostrophes in shape. In the late 1990s she began to produce free-standing sculpture, though the forms of the pieces were still predominantly flat and frontal. ...

Article

Deborah Cullen

[MoMA] (New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 by patrons Lillie P(lummer) Bliss, Cornelius J. Sullivan and Rockefeller family §(1) to establish an institution devoted to modern art. Over the next ten years the Museum moved three times and in 1939 settled in the Early Modern style building (1938–9) designed by Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone that it still occupies at 11 West 53 Street. Subsequent renovations and expansions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s by Philip Johnson, in 1984 by Cesar Pelli and in 2002–4 by Yoshirō Taniguchi (b 1937). MoMA QNS, the temporary headquarters during this project, was subsequently used to provide art storage. In 2000, MoMA and the contemporary art space, P.S.1, Long Island City, Queens, announced their affiliation. Recent projects are shown at P.S.1 in Queens in a renovated public school building.

According to founding director, Alfred H(amilton) Barr...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Manchester, July 5, 1953).

English painter and printmaker. He received an MFA from Goldsmiths’ College, London, in 1982. While his earliest work was entirely abstract, it bore the influence of Modernist collage, and in that it suggested a search for more direct systems of reference which resolved itself in a turn towards figurative painting in large canvases of the early 1980s. A residency at the National Gallery, London, in 1985 led to a series of works which drew on earlier sources: Deposition (1985; see 1986 exh. cat., p. 35) condensed one of Rembrandt’s versions of the subject to the image of the body being enclosed by the earth; such motifs dominated O’Donoghue’s work at this time. The picture also brought together elements that continued to appear in his later work: violent brushwork, a palette of starkly contrasting colours and religious themes. The Fires series (see 1989 exh. cat.) which followed retained these elements, though it marked a return to greater abstraction. In ...

Article

Latvian, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 23 July 1948, in Riga, Latvian SSR (now Latvia).

Painter and performance artist. Cityscape, landscape, genre painting, allegorical, literary, and portrait subjects, appropriated imagery modified with ultrarealistic self-portraiture, and individual and collaborative performance art.

Miervaldis Polis is Latvia’s postmodernist paradox, challenging notions of originality and authorship in painting, yet in a manner singularly his own, and elevating individual personality to the status of cultural institution through a sustained work of performance art that simultaneously denatures and distinguishes the self. Polis first studied at the Janis Rozentāls Riga Art School, and after matriculating in ...

Article

Public housing, typically dwellings for working-class and lower-income residents built and maintained by the state, emerged from the ideals of Progressive-era urban reformers seeking to improve the living conditions of the urban poor. But by the late 20th century it stood as an emblem of failed urban policies and devastated inner cities. Government-funded housing, beginning with the New Deal (see New Deal Architecture), aimed at replacing dilapidated tenements with clean, modern communities. The earliest public housing was two- and three-storey buildings, although much post-war housing was high-rise towers of modernist design. By the late 20th century, most cities were tearing down high-rise buildings while some were using a new stream of federal housing funds to build mixed-income communities and renovate low-rise public housing developments.

In the early 20th century, urban activists, influenced by the new field of public health, argued that the urban environment threatened the health and morality of impoverished families. Immigrants were crowded into dark, dirty one- and two-room apartments, often lacking running water or indoor toilets. Reformers such as New York’s Lawrence Veiller and Chicago’s Jane Addams and Robert Hunter urged government regulation of tenement housing to force landlords to maintain their properties. Architects such as ...