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Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

Lebanese–American artist and writer. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, she was educated in Lebanon and at universities in France and the United States. For many years she taught the philosophy of art at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA. She also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities until her retirement in the late 1970s. Also a novelist and poet, she combined Arabic calligraphy with modern language in her drawings, paintings, ceramics and tapestries. She explored the relationship between word and image in over 200 “artist books,” in which she transcribed in her own hand Arabic poetry from a variety of sources....

Article

Pamela Elizabeth Grimaud

French fashion designer, of Tunisian birth. Alaïa is renowned for his ‘second skin’ fashions and masterful cutting techniques (see fig.). Christened the ‘King of Cling’ by fashion journalists, Alaïa rose to prominence in the 1980s following years of realizing commissions for a loyal and select clientele. His designs are modern, overtly feminine in their celebration of the female form and, in Alaïa’s own words: ‘not sexy, voluptuous’. Alaïa’s sculpted fashions have been known to render other designers’ fashions unwearable—they simply feel too large in comparison....

Article

Egyptian, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in the USA.

Born 1963, in Cairo.

Draughtswoman, embroiderer.

Ghada Amer grew up in Paris. She studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nice before travelling to the USA where she attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She lives and works in both New York and Paris. In 2005 she was Artist in Residence at Kansas City Art Institute....

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Chika Okeke-Agulu

American painter, sculptor, fibre and installation artist of Egyptian birth. Amer, one of the few young artists of African origin to gain prominence in the late 1990s international art scene, studied painting in France at the Villa Arson EPIAR, Nice (MFA, 1989), and the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Art Plastique, Paris (...

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Diane Maglio

Italian fashion designer. Armani was dubbed the ‘Sexy Tailor’ by the American fashion press for sartorial innovations he introduced in menswear. He brought sensual drape to traditional suit coats by eliminating rigid interlinings that had shaped and restricted men’s clothing in the 1970s. To complement his new softly-tailored coats, he created short, supple, collared shirts and textural, patterned ties. Armani’s impact on menswear went beyond unstructured sewing techniques to include a serene colour palette inspired by the Italian artist ...

Article

British, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in California.

Born 1940, in Cleator Moor (West Cumbria).

Painter, ceramicist, print artist, film maker, photographer. Textiles.

Conrad Atkinson graduated from Carlisle College of Art (1961), Liverpool College of Art (1962) and the Royal Academy Schools in London (...

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French, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active also active in Italy.

Born 31 October 1957, in Bordeaux.

Architect, designer, draughtswoman. Furniture, rug design.

Martine Bedin was awarded a bursary to study architecture in Florence in 1978, and then graduated from the École d'Architecture in Paris. She began her formal research in ...

Article

English jewelleryand textile designer. She trained at Leicester School of Art (1968–9) and at the Central School of Art and Design, London (1969–72). In her early pieces she employed flexible nylon monofilament structures that could be collapsed to form a neckpiece, pulled up to form a ruff effect or even expanded to cover the face and head (e.g. neckpiece/veil, ...

Article

Kirsta Willis

African-American fashion designer. Burrows’s trademarks included colour blocking, asymmetry, fluid jersey separates and fluted ‘lettuce’ hems. With a youthful nonchalance and anti-establishment sensibility, Burrows clothes defined the movement and the eclecticism of New York City’s nightlife in the 1970s.

Burrows’s love affair with colour stemmed from his mother, who taught him to draw using the entire box of crayons, while from his seamstress grandmother, he learned how to sew. However, Burrows never contemplated a career in fashion until he attended the Philadelphia Museum College of Art. After graduating from Newark’s Arts High School, Burrows set out for Philadelphia, intent on becoming an art teacher. However, spurred on by a fashion exhibition he viewed, Burrows left the arts college in his second year, working briefly in the display department of Bamberger’s department store before enrolling in Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Technology. He graduated in ...

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Cassandra Gero

French couturier, ready-to-wear designer and entrepreneur. Cardin is known for space-age style fashions in the 1960s, pioneering the ready-to-wear market and extensive licensing of his name (see fig.).

Cardin was born in Italy, but his family moved to France when he was two years old. He worked as a menswear tailor in Vichy, then as an accountant for the Red Cross during World War II. He later moved to Paris, where he was employed as an assistant at the couture houses of ...

Article

Naomi Beckwith

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 (...

Article

Sarah Scaturro

British fashion designer born in Turkish Cyprus. Chalayan won the British Fashion Award for Designer of the Year in 1999 and 2000. He is best known for his cerebral designs that reference architecture, geopolitics and technology, as well as exploring the theme of transformation.

Chalayan was educated in Cyprus before moving to London to attend Central St Martins College of Art and Design, where he graduated with honours in ...

Article

Native American (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa Nation, Ojibwe), 20th century, female.

Born 1967, in Michigan.

Black ash basket weaver, painter.

Kelly Jean Church received an Associate of Arts degree from the Institute of American Indian Studies in 1996, a Bachelor of Arts degree in painting/sculpture from the University of Michigan in ...

Article

South African, 20th–21st century, male.

Active in France.

Born 11 August 1962, in Johannesburg.

Printmaker, choreographer, performance artist. Identity politics.

Living Art.

Steven Cohen was the first South African artist under apartheid to create confrontational performance art engaging with sexual and cultural identity. He began his career in the 1980s, while conscripted into the South African army, when he went absent without leave and learnt how to screenprint at Cape Town’s Ruth Prowse School of Art....

Article

Maria Elena Buszek

Interest in the subject of ‘craft’ in the contemporary art world grew at the start of the 21st century, as artists with conceptually oriented studio practices increasingly turned to media and processes associated with handicrafts or decorative arts, such as knitting, stitching, weaving, pottery, glass-blowing, and woodworking. In this so-called ‘information age’ the sensuous, tactile ‘information’ of craft media spoke of a direct connection to an endangered humanity, or at least to a humanity being rapidly reconfigured in a technologically saturated world. Many artists returned to old-fashioned, handmade materials, images, and objects seeking balance in a high-tech world. Others were drawn to the familiarity of utilitarian media such as cloth, ceramics, glass, or wood, which are often invisible due to their ubiquity in our everyday lives; they made work that directs audiences’ attention to the extraordinary potential of these seemingly ordinary craft materials and techniques. In all cases, these artists entered into a dialogue over the distinctions between ‘art’ and ‘craft’ that have been debated since the early modern era....

Article

Martine Reid

Native American Haida sculptor, metalworker, printmaker and blanket-maker. He was the grandson of the Haida blanket- and basket-maker Florence Davidson (1895–1993), and great-grandson of the Haida wood-carver Charles Edenshaw. He began carving argillite as a teenager in Masset, and in 1966 he met ...

Article

Nele Bernheim

Belgian fashion designer. Ann Demeulemeester studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Antwerp (1977-81). In 1982 she won the first-ever Gouden Spoel (Golden Spindle) award. She created the company bvba ‘32’ in 1985 with her photographer husband, Patrick Robyn, in Antwerp. Her breakthrough came with her first women’s collection as a member of the informal group known as ‘The Antwerp Six’ at London’s British Designer Show in ...

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1957, in Lille.

Painter. Figure compositions. Designs for carpets, furniture, ceramics and objets d'art.

Marie Ducaté lives and works in Marseilles. Her paintings present male nudes, alone or with others, in interiors or paradisal landscapes. These works disconcert by placing men in poses that in classical iconography are normally associated with the female. They recline languidly within kitsch interiors, with every detail of furnishing meticulously delineated. The effect is consciously heightened by the fact that the scene may comprise elements borrowed from the history of art, such as a Cubist floor or some drapery in the style of the Renaissance. Since ...

Article

Canadian, 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1937, in Marquette (Manitoba).

Sculptor, mixed-media artist. Fabric art, environmental art.

Aganetha Dyck is best known for her sculptural work that involves a long-term collaboration with bees. Dyck places ready-made items in beehives, often repeatedly, and the bees build honeycombs onto the surfaces of these objects. An early example is her series ...

Article

Sarah Scaturro

Technology influences the physical manifestation of fashion, affecting a garment’s appearance and performance. Throughout history, changes in technology affecting the production of materials and the manufacture of garments and accessories have spurred changes in fashion design. In the 20th and 21st centuries, technology has affected not only the look of fashion, but how the fashion system works....