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Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 15 November 1948, in Des Moines (Iowa).

Environmental artist, video artist, installation artist.

Dennis Adams lives and works in New York and Berlin. Adams' work focuses on the relationship between architecture and images taken from political literature. He creates architectural environments that act as frameworks for text, photographs and other images. These environments, which are either temporary or permanent, are public places. The series of ...

Article

Belgian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Mexico.

Born 1959, in Antwerp.

Painter, draughtsman, video artist, photographer, installation artist.

Francis Alÿs is of Belgian origin but has lived in Mexico since 1986. He trained as an architect at the Instituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice....

Article

Avigail Moss

American architecture, performance art, and video collective active between 1968 and 1978. Ant Farm was founded in San Francisco by architecture and art students, principally Chip Lord (b 1944) who attended the Tulane School of Architecture, and Doug Michels [Douglas Donald Michels] (1943–2003), who graduated from the Yale School of Architecture. They were later joined by others, including Curtis Schreier (b 1944) and Hudson Marquez (b 1947). The group’s name originated from a friend’s suggestion that their practice functioned more like a rock band or a toy Ant Farm—busily and collectively working underground—than a corporate architecture firm. Their work took an ecological approach to collective living. The group operated between San Francisco and Houston until 1978, when a fire destroyed Ant Farm’s San Francisco studio, at which point Ant Farm disbanded.

Michels and Lord first met when Michels lectured at Tulane, and again when both participated in Anna and Lawrence Halprin’s San Francisco workshop for dancers and architects, ‘Experiments in Environments’, joining other students such as Yvonne Rainer and Meredith Monk. Ant Farm’s early architecture and design work was influenced by the American architect and theorist Buckminster Fuller; by the ‘do-it-yourself’ ethos of Stuart Brand’s ...

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, female.

Born 1972.

Installation artist, video artist.

Julie Becker creates architectural interiors, such as Researchers, Residents, a Place to Rest of 1996. These models, which look like tiny cells, contain the possessions (such as furniture and diaries) of the various occupants (for example, the son of the psychopathic killer in Stanley Kubrick's film ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 29 October 1946, in New York.

Video artist, installation artist.

Dara Birnbaum studied at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, receiving a degree in architecture in 1969. She also obtained a degree in 1972 from the San Francisco Art Institute, and studied at the New School of Social Residence in New York in ...

Article

Courtney Gerber

(b New York, Oct 29, 1946).

American video and installation artist. Birnbaum received her BA in architecture from Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, PA in 1969 and a BFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1973. She first engaged with video at the New School of Social Research in New York and in 1976 she received a certificate in Video/Electronic Editing from the New School’s Video Study Center of Global Village. Considered a second-generation video artist, her production critically responds to and expands upon the theory and practice of first-generation video artists such as Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman and Dan Graham (see Video art). The work of Birnbaum and her contemporaries was especially informed by their predecessors’ experimentation with the Kodak PortaPak (c. 1967) and the types of video art that emerged from the first generation’s exploration of the media in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Of these types, two of the most prevalent were videos rooted in performance art, which focused on the self and the body, and work that assessed the actual media of television by attempting to create less commercial, alternative forms of it such as public access cable television (...

Article

Michael Compton

(b Brussels, Jan 28, 1924; d Cologne, Jan 28, 1976).

Belgian painter, sculptor, printmaker, draughtsman, film maker and poet. He lived in poverty for 20 years as a bohemian poet in Brussels; with no artistic training he turned to visual art in 1964 as an ironic gesture, with an exhibition at the Galerie St Laurent in Brussels. He launched himself caustically into the art market with a brief text printed on the invitation: ‘I too wondered if I could not sell something and succeed in life … Finally the idea of inventing something insincere finally crossed my mind and I set to work straightaway’ (quoted in 1980 exh. cat., p. 13). In the 11 years that remained to him he established himself, in more than 70 one-man exhibitions, as an artist of considerable influence in terms not of style or sensibility but of attitude and approach.

Broodthaers regarded his art as a defence of European high cultural traditions in the face of barbarian threats and especially of western commercialism. His strategy allowed him to appropriate techniques and media from Nouveau Réalisme, Pop art, conceptual art and performance art so as to subvert them to his own aims; he emphasized the craftsmanship of his art but without any trace of academic technique or dexterity, as his work was often executed by others. At its most personal his work employed techniques associated with poetry but applied by him not only to words but to images and symbols, with a particular emphasis on irony, metonymy, tautology and synecdoche....

Article

Andrew Wilson

(b Ardning, Styria, Sept 27, 1938).

Austrian performance artist, draughtsman, painter and film maker. He studied commercial graphic art at the Akademie für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna between 1957 and 1960. Following visits to Spain and the Venice Biennale of 1960, he started to paint gestural abstractions and came into contact with the Austrian painter Alfons Schilling (b 1934). In 1961 this development was interrupted when he was called up for military service, after which he found it difficult to return to painting, and by the end of 1962 he had started to concentrate on the act of painting rather than on the finished works themselves. He was persuaded by Otto Muehl to create, with his wife Anni, his first Aktion or performance, Ana, in November 1964, which he recorded on film in the first of a series of collaborations with the film maker Kurt Kren (b 1920). This led to his first self-painting ...

Article

Spanish, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1962, in Barcelona.

Sculptor, video installation artist, photographer, scenographer.

Colomer studied art history at Universitat Autònoma, in Barcelona, and then studied architecture at Escola Tècnica Superior in Barcelona. He lives and works in Barcelona. He produces scenography for the theatre, notably for Valère Novarina's play ...

Article

Lauren O’Neill-Butler

(b Boston, MA, 1966).

American photographer and installation artist. Deschenes studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, where she was awarded a BFA in photography in 1988. Beginning in the 1990s, she exhibited widely across various continents. With a focus on materiality and site-specificity, her work examines light, perception, architecture, and photography. Yet often she worked without a camera, adopting a post-conceptual and post-minimal stance that walks a fine line between abstraction and representation. Instead of making straightforward photographs that depict a given past event or a vision of the world, Deschenes posed real-time questions about the philosophical potentials of the medium, stripping its apparatus bare while pushing at its traditional definitions and emphasizing the constantly changing nature of photography. For her Green Screen series (2001), Deschenes took a green screen—typically used as a special effects tool in film-making and television—as her subject, photographing and scanning these large-scale monochrome backdrops. In her ...

Article

Milan Ivelić

(b Santiago, May 11, 1940).

Chilean painter, printmaker and video artist. He studied architecture at the Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago and printmaking at Taller 99, a workshop in Santiago run by Nemesio Antúnez, where he explored new technical methods for representing machine imagery and energy. In 1962 he travelled to Spain and then to Paris, where he studied at Stanley William Hayter’s Atelier 17.

In the mid-1960s Downey settled in the USA, where he became interested in and made contact with the pioneers of video art, which became his primary medium. Proposing to work directly with energy rather than simply representing it, he presented his first audio-visual installation in 1966, conveying light, sound and energy by means of closed-circuit television. Conceiving of the artist as a cultural communicator and keen to appropriate to his own ends methods of image reproduction derived from advanced technology, he created a series entitled Video Transamérica, which he began in ...

Article

Eames  

David Gebhard and Gregory Gallagan

American architects, designers, and film makers. Charles (Orman) Eames (b St Louis, MO, 17 June 1907; d St Louis, 21 Aug 1978) and his wife, Ray Eames [née Kaiser] (b Sacramento, CA, 15 Dec 1916; d Los Angeles, CA, 21 Aug 1988), formed a partnership after their marriage in 1941 and shared credit for all design projects. Charles Eames studied architecture at George Washington University, St Louis (1924–6). He then worked part-time as a draughtsman for Wilbur T. Trueblood and Hugo Graf in St Louis. In 1929 he travelled in Europe, looking at both old buildings and the newly emerging work of the International Style. In the early 1930s he associated himself with Charles M. Gray, with whom he had worked in Trueblood’s office. The Depression severely limited commissions, and in 1934 he travelled and worked in Mexico. He returned to St Louis in ...

Article

Annamaria Szőke

(b Budapest, July 4, 1928; d Budapest, May 22, 1986).

Hungarian architect, sculptor, conceptual and performance artist, teacher, theorist and film maker. He came from a Jewish–Christian family, many of whom were killed during World War II. In 1947 he began training as a sculptor at the College of Fine Arts in Budapest, but he left and continued his studies in the studio of Dezső Birman Bokros (1889–1965), before training as an architect from 1947 to 1951 at the Technical University in Budapest. During the 1950s and early 1960s he worked as an architect and began experimenting with painting and graphic art, as well as writing poems and short stories. During this period he became acquainted with such artists as Dezső Korniss, László Latner and, most importantly, Béla Kondor and Sándor Altorjai (1933–79), with whom he began a lifelong friendship. In 1959 and 1963 he also enrolled at the Budapest College of Theatre and Film Arts but was advised to leave both times....

Article

Uruguayan, 20th century, male.

Active in the USA.

Born 1922, in Montevideo; died 1997, in Italy.

Sculptor.

Atelier Torres García.

As a child Gonzalo Fonseca frequently visited Europe with his family. From 1939 to 1941 he studied architecture at the University of the Uruguayan Republic and ...

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

British, 20th century, male.

Born 1937.

Sculptor, video artist.

David Hall studied architecture at Leicester College of Art from 1954 to 1960 and then sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London, from 1960 to 1964. In 1975 he co-organised the seminal Video Show...

Article

John R. Neeson

Installation art is a hybrid of visual art practices including photography, film, video, digital imagery, sound, light, performance, happenings, sculpture, architecture, and painted and drawn surfaces. An installation is essentially site specific, three-dimensional, and completed by the interaction of the observer/participant in real time and space. The point of contention with any definition concerns the site specificity, ephemerality, and consequently ‘collectability’ of the work itself. One view has it that the category installation is presupposed on the transitory and impermanent, the second that an installation can be collected and re-exhibited as a conventional work of art.

In either case installation had its genesis in the environments and happenings devised by artists in the 1950s in New York and Europe (Nouveau Réalisme in France, Arte Povera in Italy). These in turn had antecedents in the architectural/sculptural inventions such as the various Proun rooms of El Lissitzky and the Merzbau of Kurt Schwitters...