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Article

Italian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 17 July 1947, in Milan.

Painter, sculptor, theorist.

Arte Povera, Conceptual Art.

Adriano Altamira put forward his first critical observations on the phenomena of vision in 1967. Next he began to use minimalist structures, plaits and interlacings, like some of the methods used in France by the ...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Pittsburgh, PA, Aug 23, 1940).

American conceptual artist, draughtsman, painter, and writer. He studied painting at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh (BFA, 1962). In 1964 Bochner moved to New York. His first exhibition (1966), described by Benjamin Buchloch as the first conceptual art exhibition, was held at the Visual Arts Gallery, School of Visual Arts, New York, and titled Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to be Viewed as Art. In his work he investigated the relation between thinking and seeing. In his first mature works (1966), which are both conceptual and perceptual in basis and philosophical in content, he was interested to eliminate the ‘object’ in art and to communicate his own feelings and personal experience, and he did not wish to accept established art-historical conventions. He also experimented with word-drawings (see fig.) and number systems. For his Measurement series (late 1960s) he used black tape and Letraset to create line drawings accompanied by measurements directly on to walls, effectively making large-scale diagrams of the rooms in which they were installed. Bochner continued to make series of installational line drawings into the 1970s and 1980s, but from ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Turin, Dec 16, 1940; d Rome, April 1994).

Italian conceptual artist and writer. According to his own mythologized account, his fascination with the qualities of ordinary materials began during childhood. Although the extent of any orthodox artistic training remains unrecorded, by 1964 he was making objects and silhouette paintings of familiar items, influenced by such Turinese contemporaries as Michelangelo Pistoletto and Mario Merz. His first one-man show (1967; Turin, Gal. Stein) included large objects made from materials such as corrugated cardboard, whose very ordinariness undermined orthodox notions of art. From the outset he participated in Arte Povera exhibitions and Happenings, in which a generation of Italian conceptual artists reinvented a world then in political turmoil. Boetti’s self-reflexive brand of Arte Povera was typified by his notional ‘twinning’: by cutting a second image of himself into a photographic self-portrait (Twins, 1968; see 1986–7 exh. cat., p. 19) and by inserting ‘e’ (‘and’) between his names, stimulating a dialectic exchange between these two selves. Boetti’s major project of the 1970s was ...

Article

Hilary Gresty

(b Sheffield, July 24, 1941).

English conceptual artist, writer and photographer. He studied painting at the Royal College of Art from 1962 to 1965 and philosophy and fine art at Yale University from 1965 to 1967. From the late 1960s he adhered to Conceptual art using combinations of photographic images and printed texts to examine the relationship between apparent and implicit meaning. In his ...

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

Matthew Gale

(b Turin, Nov 20, 1936; d Milan, June 23, 2007).

Italian sculptor, conceptual artist and writer. He frequented artistic circles in Udine in the mid-1950s. In 1958 Fabro saw Lucio Fontana’s contribution to the Venice Biennale and the following year moved to Milan, where he discovered the work of Yves Klein and Francesco Lo Savio and was closely associated with Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani. Their investigations of matter and space influenced Fabro’s idea of the artist as a facilitator of experiences without preconceived categories. After tentative early works, he embarked upon austere pieces that encapsulated phenomenological problems, such as The Hole (1963; artist’s col.), a mirror with the reflective coating partially scraped away. While the scraping mimicked the techniques of Art informel, the fusion of reflection and the recession, seen through the suspended glass, was indebted to Duchamp. His first one-man show (1965; Milan, Gal. Vismara) combined mirror pieces with the Spatial Lines, which demarcated their environment with tubular metal (e.g. ...

Article

Vanina Costa

(b Sauve, Gard, Jan 17, 1926; d les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, nr Périgueux, Dec 2, 1987).

French performance artist, conceptual artist and writer. He studied economics and science at the University of California at Los Angeles from 1948 to 1951, but he was self-taught as an artist. Having first worked as a playwright during the second half of the 1950s, in 1960 he presented the first of his performances incorporating poetry. By 1962 he was involved with the Fluxus movement; sharing his fellow artists’ distaste for marketable art objects, he not only continued to create performances and other ephemeral works but also involved himself in conceptual gestures such as the foundation of a ‘République Géniale’. He made films and videos, sent enigmatic objects through the post as a form of correspondence art and worked against traditional ideas about the individuality of the artist by working collaboratively with others: in 1964 he and Joachim Pfeufer created the Poïpoïdrome, a group researching ‘permanent creation’ and the ‘principle of equivalence’, and in ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 1941, in Paris.

Painter, writer.

Art Sociologique (Sociological Art), Conceptual Art.

Hervé Fischer is university-educated, and began painting as an amateur. His early work is in a traditional style, but in 1968, influenced by the work of Jackson Pollock, he abandoned this in favour of an abstract style. Around ...

Article

Horacio Safons

(b Buenos Aires, Jan 14, 1915; d Barcelona, Oct 14, 1965).

Argentine painter, sculptor, performance artist, conceptual artist, poet and illustrator. After studying in Buenos Aires at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes and with Cecilia Marcovich and Tomás Maldonado, he quickly established a reputation for his scandalous views, attracting extreme disapproval and equally strong support. After delivering a lecture at the Juan Cristóbal bookshop, Buenos Aires, entitled ‘Alberto Greco y los pájaros’ he was briefly imprisoned for his ‘Communism and subversive acts’. On his release in the same year he travelled to Paris on a French government grant, selling drawings and watercolours in the cafés and studying painting with Fernand Léger and printmaking with Johnny Friedlaender. Between 1956 and 1958 he lived in São Paulo, where he became aware of Art informel; he painted in this style in the late 1950s and early 1960s (Glusberg, pp. 284–5).

As early as 1959, when he had returned from São Paulo to Buenos Aires, Greco had expressed his corrosive vision of society through the form of his work. In his shows he exhibited tree trunks and rags for cleaning window gratings or floors. He moved again to Paris in ...

Article

Annie Dell’Aria

American painter, sculptor, conceptual artist, writer and curator. Hammond became active in feminist and lesbian art circles following her move to New York in 1969 after receiving her BA from the University of Minnesota in 1967. Hammond soon co-founded the feminist cooperative gallery AIR in ...

Article

Walter Smith

(b New York, July 19, 1929; d New York, July 3, 2000).

American architect, conceptual artist, teacher and writer. He studied at the Cooper Union, New York (1947–50), University of Cincinnati, OH (1950–52), Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1952–3), and the University of Rome (Fulbright scholar, 1954). Hejduk began teaching architecture in 1954, and in 1964 he joined Cooper Union, becoming Dean of the School of Architecture there in 1975. He also worked in various architectural offices in New York, including that of I. M. Pei (1956–8), and in 1965 he established his own office in New York. From 1954 to 1963 he worked in a purposefully dry, reductive style strongly influenced by Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and De Stijl. This is illustrated in the Nine Square Problem (c. 1954), a linear grid concerned with such concepts as frame, post, centre, periphery, extension and compression, which was developed as a pedagogical tool for first-year students. It became the basis for his Texas Houses project (...

Article

(b ’s Hertogenbosch, June 23, 1928).

Dutch painter, conceptual artist and writer. He trained as a painter at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten in ’s Hertogenbosch and at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. In 1956 he settled in ’s Hertogenbosch as a painter. During that same year he was given an exhibition at Galerie Swart in Amsterdam. He stopped painting in 1967 when he was given a grant for research into the perception of light, time and space. He made a study of electro-acoustics, images and sound, and produced work for television, including Art is Only for Beginners (1969–70). During 1970 he worked on geographic space-relations (e.g. drilling a hole in his living room ‘to New Zealand’ and interchanging the soil with some from the other side of the earth). In 1972 he built an open-air studio. From 1973 to 1974 he experimented with time and investigated the energy used in breathing, feeding and recycling, and in ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Chorley, Lancs, Oct 18, 1964).

English conceptual artist, curator and writer. He studied Fine Art at Newcastle Polytechnic (1984–7). Strongly influenced by the tradition of text-based conceptual art, he depended consistently on literary sources, treating texts as ready-mades to create what he describes as ‘found conceptual art’. A keen reader of detective novels, in the early 1990s he began to make work by isolating comments about artists from crime or romance genre fiction. The installation Total Despair (exh. London, Frith Street Gal., 1995) involved mounting all the pages of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Despair in a grid and crossing out all the words except those of an artist who complains about his lack of success. Evolving out of this came a project to commission artists to produce pictures from descriptions of abstract paintings featured in crime novels; Chris Ofili and Peter Doig both participated in this venture, the results of which were exhibited in London at the Anthony Wilkinson Gallery in ...

Article

Joan Marter

(b Albert Lea, MN, June 7, 1941).

American conceptual artist and writer. Kelly received instruction in fine art and music at the College of St Teresa, Winona, MN, and fine art and aesthetics at the Pius XII Institute, Florence (MA 1965). She taught art briefly in Beirut in the 1960s. In 1968 she moved to London, where she received a postgraduate certificate in painting at St Martin’s School of Art. From 1968 Kelly worked in London as artist, teacher, editor, and writer. She practised a long-term critique of conceptualism, informed by feminist theory. Her work was related to her active involvement in the women’s movement throughout the 1970s. Kelly is best known for projects addressing questions of sexuality, identity, and memory. Her installations feature large-scale narratives including relevant documentation. Kelly’s work is renowned for its enquiry into cultural identity, particularly the construction of femininity and power in Western capitalist society, and it draws on and criticizes the work of Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, and other cultural theorists....

Article

Nancy Ring

(b Toledo, OH, Jan 31, 1945).

American conceptual artist and writer. He was deeply interested in philosophy and the social sciences and conducted a sustained, methodical inquiry into the rules that govern art. He trained at the Toledo Museum School of Design (1955–62), also taking private lessons, and completed his studies as a painter at the Cleveland Art Institute (1963–4). In 1965 he began to produce works with a basis in language, some fashioned from neon and glass, others linking objects, images, and texts into simple and self-referential series. The work One and Three Chairs (1965; Cologne, Paul Maenz Gal.), for example, consists of a full-scale photograph of a chair, an actual chair and a dictionary definition of the word ‘chair’ lined in a row, together forming a closed system that resists any kind of transcendent meaning.

Kosuth dispensed with objects entirely in his Titled (Art as Idea as Idea) series (...

Article

(b Newark, NJ, Jan 26, 1945).

American conceptual artist, designer, and writer. She enrolled at Parsons School of Design, New York, where her teachers included the photographer Diane Arbus and Marvin Israel (1924–84), a successful graphic designer and art director of Harper’s Bazaar, who was particularly encouraging. When Kruger’s interest in art school waned in the mid-1960s, Israel encouraged her to prepare a professional portfolio. Kruger moved to New York and entered the design department of Mademoiselle magazine, becoming chief designer a year later. Also at that time she designed book covers for political texts. In the late 1960s and early 1970s she became interested in poetry and began writing and attending readings. From 1976 to 1980 she lived in Berkeley, CA, teaching and reflecting on her own art. Kruger later taught at Art Institute of Chicago and joined the visual arts faculty of the University of California San Diego in 2002, and later the University of California Los Angeles, dividing her time between Los Angeles and New York....

Article

Bernice Murphy

(b Sydney, July 19, 1945).

Australian conceptual and performance artist, film maker and writer. He began writing poetry as a student at Queensland University (1965–6). Although he attended the National Art School at Darlinghurst, Sydney (1968), he was largely self-taught as an artist. He first became known for his conceptual works, filmed actions and performances and typescript pieces in 1971–2, when he ran Inhibodress, an alternative art space in Sydney, with artist Peter Kennedy (b 1945). In 1972 he travelled abroad for the first time for about a year, making Vienna his base (as he did again in 1977–8). In 1973 he carried out performances in Lausanne and Neuchâtel, Switzerland. These works (and the associated filmed record) were collectively entitled Performances, Actions, Video Systems and developed out of previous Sydney works: Word Situations (1971) and Idea Demonstrations (1971–2).

On returning to Australia Parr incorporated recent filmed records of performances into much larger, autobiographical film projects that occupied most of his artistic energy for ten years, producing three substantial, experimental films: ...

Article

Amy Rosenblum Martín

(b Rio Grande do Sul, Mar 5, 1968).

Brazilian conceptual artist, filmmaker, and writer, active in the USA. Schneider’s art practice revealed, questioned, and often restructured the social aspects of art. She studied at the Universidade Federal of Rio Grande do Sul, where she earned a BFA; New York University, where she graduated with an MFA; and the European Graduate School, Saas-Fee, Switzerland, which she left before completing her doctorate in philosophy. In 1997 in New York she co-founded Union Gaucha Productions, an artist-run experimental film company that collaborated with people across disciplines. Later, in New York’s Lower East Side, Schneider co-founded Orchard gallery (2005–2008), a cooperatively organized exhibition and event space, then CAGE (2010–2014), a space for social and political gathering that created and expanded opportunities for art to exist beyond physical objects.

Art and theory were inseparable for Schneider, who considered her artwork a thinking process. Although her practice sometimes involved exhibiting real or virtual art objects or installations, she focused on art as social experience. She believed that a work’s meaning emerged from the dialogues that occurred between artist, viewer, and history—personal, political, and cultural. Her projects included leading collaborations, political movements, and radio stations, as well as designing a playground and creating other venues for gathering....

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in California and since the late 1990s in Las Vegas.

Born 1955, in Torrance (California).

Painter, installation artist, writer.

Conceptual art.

Jeffrey Vallance, whose work spans conceptual art, traditional painting and writing, grew up in Canoga Park, California and now teaches at the University of Las Vegas....