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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

Kevin Mulhearn

(b Johannesburg, 1959).

South African sculptor and installation and multimedia artist. Though Alexander trained as a sculptor at the University of the Witwatersrand, earning a Bachelor in Fine Arts in 1982 and a Masters in 1988, she nevertheless pursued a variety of artistic disciplines, regularly employing photomontage and sometimes using video in her practice. While working towards her Masters’ degree, she produced Butcher Boys (1985–6), an iconic work from this contentious era in South African history. The sculptural tableau presents three monstrous, grey nude male figures built from plaster over a gauze core and glazed with oil paint. Seated casually on a bench, their heads strikingly combine human and animal forms, with twisting horns and sealed-up mouths. While Butcher Boys, like many of the artist’s works, responded to its socio-historical context, Alexander typically has not produced explicitly political work or supplied interpretive statements, preferring pieces to remain open-ended in their meanings....

Article

Christiane Paul

(b Buffalo, NY, May 25, 1978).

American computer artist, performance artist, video artist, installation artist, composer, sculptor, and printmaker. He graduated in 2000 from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he originally studied classical guitar but later switched to the technology of music. At Oberlin he also met Paul B. Davis with whom he formed the Beige Programming Ensemble in 2000, and released a record of 8-bit music entitled The 8-Bit Construction Set. In 2010 he co-founded, with Howie Chen and Alan Licht, the band Title TK.

Arcangel’s body of work has consistently addressed a series of themes, such as the manner in which we express ourselves through technological tools and platforms (from Photoshop to YouTube) in funny, original, creative, and awkward ways. His projects often explore our fascination with technology by playfully undermining our expectations of it and limiting viewers’ control. Another theme that frequently surfaces is the speed of technological obsolescence and the absurdity of a given technology’s lifecycle, which often moves from the cutting-edge of design to an insult of good taste (see Siegel, pp. 81–2). Arcangel connects these themes to the history of art, drawing parallels between pop-cultural vernacular and approaches in the fine art world and combining high tech and do-it-yourself (DIY) approaches. Among his best-known works are his hacks and modifications of Nintendo game cartridges and obsolete computer systems from the 1970s and 1980s (...

Article

Greek, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Germany.

Born 1954, in Athens.

Draughtsman, engraver, sculptor, video artist. Multimedia.

Michalis Arfaras first studied painting at the school of fine arts in Athens between 1972 and 1974. He continued his studies at the college of fine arts in Brunswick in Germany where he specialised in engraving and produced book illustrations and comic strips. He now lives and works in Hildesheim where he teaches graphic art at the university....

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 1934, in Fontenay-aux-Roses.

Painter (mixed media), collage artist, sculptor, draughtsman. Multimedia.

After meeting Yves Klein in 1957, Bernard Aubertin produced his first red monochrome works. He varied his methods of applying the paint, using in turn a spatula, knives, forks and spoons. Out of this search for a different density of paint, he created an art which was constantly being renewed by the artist's actions and in the eye of the spectator. From ...

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

Spanish, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1957, in Bilbao.

Sculptor, installation artist. Multimedia.

Txomin Badiola lives and works in Bilbao and spent eight years in New York during the 1990s. He produces large-scale pieces in steel with smooth flat geometric surfaces supported by feet and posts, giving them the appearance of constructions. Alongside his sculptures, he also creates installations that make use of other media, including video, photography and sound and that incorporate elements of popular culture, such as the cinema of Jean-Luc Godard, Fassbinder and Pasolini. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions, including: in ...

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

French, 20th century, male.

Sculptors, installation artists. Multimedia.

This group takes its name from the surnames of Bernard Bazile and Jean-Marc Bustamante who signed their works in this way in 1982 at the Musée Cantini in Marseilles, at the Galerie Croussel-Hussenot in Paris in 1984...

Article

Canadian First Nations (Micmac/Mi’kmaq), 21st century, male.

Born 1986, in Stephenville Crossing (Newfoundland).

Performance artist, installation artist, sculptor, painter.

Jordan Bennett is a multimedia artist born and raised in Newfoundland. In 2008 he received a BA in Fine Arts from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College (Corner Brook, Newfoundland), and later continued his education with anthropology and art history courses at the same college. Bennett describes himself as a ‘multi-disciplinary’ artist who liberally mixes visual and intellectual references from his own tribal background, intertribal issues, popular cultures and politics, Bennett conveys with buoyant vitality messages related to Canadian Aboriginal peoples that he feels are hard to communicate to the general public. Bennett’s artistic strategy is a direct engagement with the audience, which aims at stimulating interest and generating curiosity about indigenous issues and concerns such as treaty rights, land rights, cultural change and language loss. Directly engaged in recovering his native language (Micmac), Bennett exploits the multi-layered nature of the linguistic sign to reveal the variety of meanings that symbols can carry in different contexts. His re-fashioning of consumer products such as skateboards, Mac computers, turntables, shoes and surfboards turns mass production into quintessentially indigenous manufacturing that triggers in the viewer questions about authenticity and identity at the core of his artistic project. The indigenisation of commercial objects becomes an act of translation, which turns personal experience into political statements through the potential of objects to become catalysts for intercultural dialogues in public spaces as much as in the art gallery....

Article

British, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 3 May 1965, in Darvel (Ayrshire), Scotland.

Sculptor, installation artist, printmaker. Figures, flowers. Multimedia.

Christine Borland studied at the Glasgow School of Art (1983-1987), and the University of Ulster, Belfast (1987-1988). She lives and works in Glasgow. Her work deals with the ways in which life is exploited and devalued by social systems and institutions, such as hospitals, prisons, police forces and the army. Borland uses images from forensic and medical science in her work, as in ...

Article

Susan Best

(b Sydney, Aug 8, 1919; d Sydney, April 19, 2005).

Australian sculptor, video, installation artist, and sound artist. Brassil received her initial art training at Sydney Teachers College, East Sydney Technical College, and Newcastle Technical College (1937–9). She taught art for 20 years at Campbelltown High School before commencing her exhibiting career in the early 1970s.

Brassil’s first recorded work is Trilogy: Twentieth Century Perception (1969–74; Sydney, U. W. Sydney). Trilogy is composed of three components: Sound Beyond Hearing (900×900×150 mm), Light Beyond Seeing (900×600×150 mm) and Memory Beyond Recall (1050×1050×150 mm). Unlike Brassil’s later works, these three components can be wall mounted. They are beautiful, highly finished, shallow black boxes, and two out of the three are electronic. Memory Beyond Recall has glowing lights veiled behind layers of paper that appear and then dim down and disappear. Light Beyond Seeing has a central lit portion that uses mirrors to suggest an infinitely deep space. The main themes of Brassil’s career—perception, sound, memory, and the transcendental realm—are all signalled in this early work....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 7 March 1926, in Halfway (Oregon); died 5 December 2008, in Cologne.

Painter, sculptor. Multimedia.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus.

From 1946 to 1950, George Brecht studied physical sciences at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy & Science, and from 1950 to 1955, he trained as a chemist. He met John Cage in ...

Article

British, 20th century, male.

Born 1941, in Sheffield.

Sculptor, assemblage artist. Multimedia, artists’ books.

Conceptual Art.

Victor Burgin attended the Royal Academy of Art in London from 1962 to 1965 and Yale School of Art and Architecture from 1965 to 1967. He taught for a number of years at the Film and Photography School of Central London Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster). After spending 13 years in the USA, he returned to London and taught at Goldsmiths College. In addition to his work as an artist, he has also published several books on the theory of art. He is acknowledged as one of the driving forces behind the British photography school founded on semiology and psychoanalysis (rather than on sociology or the history of ideas)....

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1952, in Toulouse.

Sculptor, installation artist. Multimedia.

Jean-Marc Bustamante started out as a photographer on the periodical Knowledge of the Arts ( Connaissance des Arts) before going on to work as assistant to William Klein. He worked alongside Bernard Bazile in the eponymous ...

Article

Austrian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Germany.

Born 1952, in Halle.

Painter, sculptor, draughtsman, installation artist, video artist. Multimedia.

Caramelle attended the Hochschule für angewandte Kunst in Vienna in 1970, before studying at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies in Cambridge (Massachusetts) from 1974 to 1975...

Article

British, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1948.

Sculptor, collage artist, draughtsman, performance artist. Multimedia.

Brian Catling teaches sculpture at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford, and is a Fellow of Linacre College. He is also a poet.

During the 1990s Catling worked on the Cyclops...

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

Mary M. Tinti

(b Houston, TX, 1951).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual artist. His multimedia works investigate the pathology of contemporary culture. Mel Chin was born and raised in Houston, Texas to parents of Chinese birth and received his BA in 1975 from the Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. The works in Chin’s oeuvre are diverse in both medium and subject, but a consistent undercurrent of social, political, and environmental responsibility runs throughout. Whether a sculpture, film, video game, installation, public project or earthwork, Chin’s artworks consistently targeted a broad spectrum of pressing cultural and ecological interests and spread their message in subtle, if not viral ways.

In the 1980s, Chin produced a number of sculptures that set the stage for his ever-evocative artistic journey. The Extraction of Plenty from What Remains: 1823 (1988–9) is a frequently referenced piece from this period. It is a symbolic encapsulation of the effects of the Monroe Doctrine, referencing the complicated dealings between the US (represented by truncated replicas of White House columns) and Central America (represented by a cornucopia of mahogany branches, woven banana-tree fiber, and a surface layer of hardened blood, mud, and coffee grinds). From the 1990s, however, Chin moved away from strictly gallery-based installations and began creating works that directly engaged contemporary culture in a variety of physical and theoretical landscapes....