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Sarah Urist Green

(b Kabul, June 5, 1973).

Afghan video and performance artist and photographer, active also in the USA. After fleeing Soviet-occupied Kabul with her family in the late 1980s, Abdul lived as a refugee in Germany and India before moving to Southern California. She received a BA in Political Science and Philosophy at California State University, Fullerton, and an MFA at the University of California, Irvine, in 2000. Abdul first returned to a post-Taliban Afghanistan in 2001, where she encountered a place and people transformed by decades of violence and unrest. Since that time, Abdul has made work in Kabul and Los Angeles, staging herself in performances and creating performance-based video works and photography that explore ideas of home and the interconnection between architecture and identity.

Beginning in the late 1990s, Abdul made emotionally intense performance art informed by that of Yugoslavian artist Marina Abramović and Cuban-born American artist Ana Mendieta. At the time unable to travel to Afghanistan, Abdul created and documented performances in Los Angeles that probed her position as Afghan, female, Muslim, a refugee and a transnational artist. In ...

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

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1966, in Marseilles.

Installation artist, sculptor, action artist, photographer.

Conceptual Art.

Boris Achour, who was a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, received a three-month extra-mural bursary from the Villa Médicis that he spent in Los Angeles in ...

Article

Richard Lorenz

(Easton )

(b San Francisco, CA, Feb 20, 1902; d Carmel, CA, April 22, 1984).

American photographer. Adams trained as a musician and supported himself by teaching the piano until 1930. He became involved with photography in 1916 when his parents presented him with a Kodak Box Brownie camera during a summer vacation in Yosemite National Park. In 1917–18 he worked part-time in a photo-finishing business. From 1920 to 1927 he served as custodian of the LeConte Memorial in Yosemite, the Sierra Club’s headquarters. His duties included leading weekly expeditions through the valley and rims, during which he continued to photograph the landscape. He considered his snapshots of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, taken during the early 1920s, to be a visual diary, the work of an ardent hobbyist. By 1923 he used a 6½×8½-inch Korona view camera on his pack trips, and in 1927 he spent an afternoon making one of his most famous images, Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park...

Article

Dutch, 20th century, male.

Active in the USA from 1963.

Born 1942, in Winschoten; died 1975, while crossing the Atlantic.

Performance artist, happenings artist, installation artist, photographer.

Conceptual Art.

Bas Jan Ader settled in the USA when he was 21 years old, and studied art and philosophy at the University of California in Irvine, where he would later teach. After ...

Article

Finnish, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in Helsinki.

Born 1959, in Hämeenlinna.

Video installation artist, film producer, photographer, performance artist.

Conceptual Art.

Eija-Liisa Ahtila was a student at the university of Helsinki from 1980 to 1985 and studied film and video at the London College of Painting. In ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 7 May 1943, in Wichita (Kansas).

Sculptor, environmental artist, performance artist, video artist.

Terry Allen studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, receiving a BFA in 1966. His work is inspired by his travels in Mexico, Thailand, China and Colorado. He has taught at California State University Fresno (...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 19 February 1946, in Washington DC.

Painter, sculptor, draughtsman, engraver, photographer, video artist, glassmaker, decorative designer. Theatre design.

AfriCobra Group.

Akili Ron Anderson attended the Corcoran School of Art and Howard University in Washington DC where he lives and works. He is a member of AfriCobra (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) founded in ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 5 June 1947, in Chicago.

Installation artist, performance artist, photographer, musician.

Computer Art (Multimedia Art).

Laurie Anderson graduated in art history at Barnard College in 1969, and obtained a second degree of Fine Arts in sculpture from Columbia University in ...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b New York, Feb 27, 1935).

American performance artist, photographer and filmmaker. In the mid-1950s she studied acting at the Tamara Daykarhanova School for Stage, New York, and creative writing at the College of the City of New York. Her performances can be seen as autobiographical, with invented roles based partly on historical characters. Set-pieces recurring in performances from the early 1970s included the King of Solana Beach, inspired by a portrait of Charles I, King of England, by Anthony van Dyck; Eleanor Antinova, giving the recollections of a black dancer in Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes; and the Angel of Mercy, Florence Nightingale in the Crimea. Antin considered her performances as a means of self-definition as an artist and woman in the late 20th century. The presentations incorporated pithy commentaries on contemporary social and political issues. The spontaneous nature of her activity can be linked to the early years of American film-making, when participants devised dramatic scenarios in an ad hoc sequence. By interspersing her personal experience and vision with episodes from the past, Antin attempted to redefine traditional boundaries associated with women, power and art. For ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 19 January 1964, in Freeport, Bahamas.

Sculptor, performance artist, installation artist, photographer.

Feminism.

Janine Antoni studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1986, and the Rhode Island School of Design, where she received a master's degree in sculpture in ...

Article

Armenian, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 23 May 1938, in Kharkiv, Ukraine; died 12 November 2009, in New York City.

Vagrich Bakhchanyan studied with avant-garde painter and designer Vasily Ermilov (1894–1967) at the Kharkov Studio for Decorative Art in the late 1950s. In 1967...

Article

British, 20th century, male.

Born 1904; died 1980.

Painter (including gouache), watercolourist, draughtsman (including ink), illustrator, designer, photographer. Portraits, landscapes. Stage sets, stage costumes.

Sir Cecil Beaton was influenced, in the first half of the 20th century, by the Russian ballets of Diaghilev and the fashionable world surrounding Coco Chanel. He was particularly known as a theatrical costume designer, for the famous musical comedies ...

Article

Reinhold Misselbeck

(Walter Hardy)

(b London, Jan 14, 1904; d Broad Chalke, nr Salisbury, Jan 18, 1980).

English photographer and stage designer. He began taking photographs at an early age, mainly of his sisters Nancy and Baba. Beaton emulated pictures he saw in fashion magazines, especially those by Baron Adolphe de Meyer and the soft-focus technique used in them. In 1922 he went to Cambridge University to study history and architecture, but he left after three years without graduating. He took an office job, but he continued to photograph, receiving portrait commissions. Diaghilev’s praise of his photographs, particularly the double portrait of Nancy and Baba with Reflection (1924), encouraged him to set up a studio in his home in Sussex Gardens, London. Beaton created lavish decorations and painted his backgrounds himself. He encouraged his subjects to sit in striking poses. In his diary he noted: ‘Till now my pictures have been ordinary attempts to make people look as beautiful as possible, but these are fantastic and amusing’. The friendship and patronage of the ...

Article

Italian, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in New York.

Born 1969, in Genoa.

Performance artist, installation artist, video artist, photographer.

Neo-Conceptual Art.

Beecroft attended the Accademia Ligustica di Belle Arti Pittura in Genoa from 1987 to 1988 and then went on to study directing at the Accademia di Belle Arti de Brera ...

Article

Canadian First Nations (Anishinaabe), 20th century, female.

Born 22 March 1960, in Upsala (Ontario).

Performance artist, installation artist, sculptor, video artist.

Rebecca Belmore was sent from her home to attend high school in Thunder Bay (Ontario), where she was billeted with a non-Aboriginal family. She graduated from the experimental art programme at Toronto’s Ontario College of Art and Design in ...

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1966, in Lille.

Installation artist, photographer, video artist, film producer, writer, musician.

Stéphane Bérard lives and works in Haute-Provence. Both poet and sculptor, he casts a quizzical and ironic eye on the flotsam of everyday life. His inventions include the ...

Article

Aurélie Verdier

(b Antwerp, March 19, 1946).

Belgian photographer and installation artist. He studied theatre and cinema in the late 1960s, creating a fruitful ground for his future installations and later dividing his work into four categories with the aim of blurring the frontiers of art and social reality. One such category, ‘Transformation–Installation’ was rooted in a spoof governmental pamphlet written by the artist in 1979 announcing the bankruptcy of art: he argued that art was unnecessary since it was inherently non-functional. From that point on, this ironic point of view was built into his recreations of everyday environments injected with incongruous elements, as in Driving School Z (1979; see 1998 exh. cat, p. 44), an installation in an Antwerp gallery that recreated the soulless premises referred to in the title. At once bleak and dramatic in its painstaking reconstruction, it contained furniture from a real driving school as a way of blurring the distinction between art and reality. Bijl’s polished installations have an unsettling atmosphere, as they lack any sense of human presence. Tackling issues of mass culture and its vehicles, he reconstructed some institutions in tableaux that mixed the artificiality of highly stylized objects with the tangible reality of everyday artefacts. By so doing, he questioned the identity and meaning of environments once they have been relocated to an institutionalized art context. In ...

Article

Yugoslav, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in France.

Born 7 October 1951, in Belgrade (now in Serbia).

Draughtsman, newspaper cartoonist, painter, designer, film producer. Comic strips, posters, stage costumes and sets.

Enki Bilal was the son of General Tito's former tailor. He arrived in Paris with his family in ...

Article

Belgian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in France.

Born 1959, in Brussels.

Performance artist, installation artist, sculptor, photographer.

Olivier Blanckart trained as a plumber and heating engineer. He opened a gallery in St-Saturnin-lès-Apt in Vaucluse in 1983. In 1992 he set up the Galerie des Urgences in Paris, which is in fact an information centre for AIDS. He settled in Paris in ...