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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

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

Wystan Curnow

[Bates, Barrie]

(b Auckland, Jan 1, 1935).

New Zealand sculptor and conceptual artist. He studied at the Royal College of Art in London in the early 1960s and first showed his work alongside that of fellow students such as David Hockney and Derek Boshier, helping to mark the emergence of British Pop art. The pseudonym that he adopted in 1962 reflected his obsession with different ways of representing fruit. On moving in 1964 to New York he began to produce neon versions of popular icons. In 1970 he established Apple as one of New York’s first artist-run ‘alternative’ art spaces.

The conceptual element in Apple’s early Pop work became dominant in the late 1960s and 1970s. From 1975 to 1980 he concentrated on the deconstruction of the ‘white cube’ gallery exhibition space, proposing alterations to or actually changing existing interiors, notably at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York (1977, 1978, 1980) and at a number of public galleries in New Zealand (...

Article

Pakistani, 20th century, male.

Active in Britain.

Born 1935, in Karachi.

Installation artist, painter, sculptor.

Conceptual Art.

Araeen initially studied to be a civil engineer. He has exhibited in Karachi, New York and in a number of British cities. His work often addresses issues facing ethnic groups in Britain. He is also a writer and editor and founded the ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Merseyside, June 23, 1966).

English sculptor and conceptual artist. She studied at Kingston Polytechnic, Surrey (1986–9), and at Goldsmiths’ College of Art in London (1992–3). She had her first solo exhibition at City Racing, London, in 1994, and in the following year was included in General Release: Young British Artists at the XLVI Venice Biennale. Banner came to prominence with her ‘wordscapes’, large text works that recount the plots of feature films or other events. The first of these was Top Gun (pencil on paper, 2.13×4.57 m, 1993), a hand-written account of the film Top Gun presented on a cinematic scale. The ‘wordscapes’ led to the publication in 1997 of The Nam, 1000 pages of continuous text describing the Vietnam war movies Apocalypse Now, Born on the Fourth of July, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Hamburger Hill and The Deer Hunter. This unreadable text points to the excess of violence in such films, the numbing of critical faculties, as well as the mythologizing and fictionalizing framing devices used to interpret historical events. Towards the end of the 1990s she became interested in the implications of punctuation signs, dwelling on their qualities as abstract marks that give structure to text. By selecting a variety of fonts, enlarging the full stop signs to ...

Article

Eduardo Serrano

(b Cartagena, Oct 27, 1945).

Colombian painter, sculptor and conceptual artist. He studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes of the University of Atlántico in Barranquilla, Colombia, from 1958 to 1960, and in Italy from 1966 to 1967 at the University of Perugia. In 1966, under the influence of Pop art, he made the first of a series of collages combining cut-outs of well-known individuals and comic strips with drawn elements. Two years later he added frosty effects and velvet flowers to his interpretations in black and red ink of figures with distorted bodies and the faces of film stars. In 1969 he began to present these in increasingly three-dimensional boxes or glass cases, accompanied by clouds of cotton wool, plastic figures and other additions that combined to make up fantastic or nostalgic scenes, dream-like and surrealist in appearance and tone.

Barrios was among those who introduced conceptual art to Colombia, for example by publishing in newspapers a series of ...

Article

Anda Rottenberg

(b Kurów, Sept 7, 1930).

Polish painter, sculptor and conceptual artist. In 1952–5 he studied art history at the Catholic University in Lublin. He was self-taught as an artist, and he made his first works at about the time of the formation of the group Zamek (Castle or Lock), which comprised young artists and theoreticians interested in the structural properties of works of art. His first pictures are abstracts with expressive subject-matter, usually executed in black (e.g. the Feast of Nebuchadnezzar, 1957; priv. col.)

In 1958 Borowski turned from pictures to objects. Using plastic odds and ends as ready-mades, he produced his first Artony—compositions from ikebana bowls, small plates and pieces of wire joined together with the intention of giving them the autonomy of living organisms. He subsequently added movement, electric light, fluid circulating in transparent tubes, and smells. The Manilusy (1963) were environments of loosely hung pieces of mirror distorting spatial perception and drawing the viewer into a game of illusion. These were soon followed by a series of ‘Syncretic Exhibitions’, which by ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 1944, in Limoges.

Painter, sculptor, installation artist, engraver.

Conceptual Art.

Bouillon lives and works in Bagnolet, on the outskirts of Paris, and has taught at the École des Beaux-Arts in Dijon since 1988.

He collects objects, haphazardly, and subsequently uses then as symbols. The same object, the same figure, can take on several functions or be used to signify several different things, until it sometimes completely loses its own identity, and is no longer any more than the function it has been given. This was the case, throughout one period of his career, with his objects in stone, wood or metal. They were covered in ashes, so that one could no longer see the material, and could only focus on the function given by him to the object....

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

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1932, in Detroit; died May 1997, in Cairo.

Installation artist, performance artist, sculptor, draughtsman.

Conceptual Art.

Using a variety of different forms of expression, including installations, writing, performance, photographs and sculpture, James Lee Byars has created a highly personal collection of work. In the 1950s he focused on comparing oriental civilisation and western mystical thought, notably with folding sculptures which he unfolded in public. He went on to subvert objects by creating them in precious or unusual materials such as gold leaf or marble. He made several visits to Japan from ...

Article

Brazilian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1946.

Painter (mixed media), sculptor.

Conceptual Art.

Waltercio Caldas Junior has taken part in group exhibitions including the Art from Brazil in New York exhibition shown in various museums and galleries in 1995 and the São Paulo Biennale in ...

Article

Canadian, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 12 August 1941, in Victoria.

Installation artist, photographer, sculptor.

Conceptual Art.

Ian Carr-Harris studied Modern History at Queen’s University, where he received an honours bachelor of arts in 1963, and went on to obtain a bachelor of library science from the University of Toronto in ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Padua, Jan 6, 1960).

Italian sculptor and conceptual artist. He received no formal art training and before beginning to work as an artist in the late 1980s he had been through a variety of jobs, from nurse to cook to mortuary attendant. Seeing art more as a series of interventions than as based on the creation of objects, Cattelan devised comic and absurdist ideas; he has been likened to a jester, and his anarchic streak clearly reveals the influence of Dada. Virtually all of his commissioned work has been made to test rules, regulations and customs in art world institutions, pushing their limits, satirizing them and exposing the power structures that underpin them. Institutional sponsors were typical targets: in 1992 his project Fondazione Oblomov, working through the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, solicited money from donors to provide an artist’s prize, the stipulation being that the artist exhibit no work for a year. In ...

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....

Article

James Smalls

(b Somerville, NJ, 1955).

African American sculptor, printmaker, and conceptual artist. He grew up in New Jersey and attended the Boston University School of Fine Arts, the School of Visual Arts and the Art Students League of New York City. Cole is best known for assembling and transforming ordinary domestic objects, such as irons, ironing boards, high-heeled shoes, lawn jockeys, hair dryers, bicycle parts and other discarded appliances and hardware into imaginative and powerful configurations and installations embedded with references to the African American experience and inspired by West African religion, mythology and culture. Visual puns and verbal play characterized his works, thereby creating layered meanings. The objects he chose were often discarded mass-produced American products that had themselves acquired an alternate history through their previous handling and use.

In 1989, he became attracted to the motif of the steam iron both for its form and for its perceived embodiment of the experience and history of the unknown persons who had previously used it. He referred to the earliest versions of these irons as ‘Household Gods’ and ‘Domestic Demons’. With them, he engaged with ideas utilizing not only the found object but also the repetitive scorch mark of the iron arranged in either purely decorative patterns or in such ways as to suggest a face or African mask (...

Article

Canadian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 7 March 1949, in London, England.

Sculptor, assemblage artist, installation artist.

Conceptual Art.

Robin Collyer's works do not fit simple criteria. They are extremely diverse. He uses simple, almost basic, forms and materials of industrial origin - aluminium, Plexiglas and suchlike - and assembles them in a way that has nothing to do with their initial function. However, his assemblages or installations (which may be both at the same time) often look like pieces of complex and unusable furniture - sorts of desks, cloakrooms, shelves or armchairs - which are dislocated and often covered in photographs and pages from news magazines. Louise Dompierre comments on Collyer's work, acknowledging its intriguing and reticent character, and noting that the artist reveals himself in it slowly, demanding an initial consideration of his incorporation of formal, visual and written texts. Key to the dialectic of his sculptures are the relationships between the parts and the mutual dependence of the various elements....

Article

Belgian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active also active in France.

Born 1954, in Audenarde.

Painter (including gouache), sculptor, draughtsman, assemblage artist.

Conceptual Art.

Thierry de Cordier studied painting at the Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Ghent from 1972 to 1976 before moving to the Auvergne region of France to live and work....

Article

British, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in London.

Born 1968, in Wakefield (Yorkshire).

Installation artist, sculptor.

Conceptual Art.

Martin Creed studied at the Slade School of Art from 1986 to 1990. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 2001.

With humour but also rigour, Creed investigates art - the definition of art and the ways it is practised. He usually manipulates objects or simple things like air or sound. One of his best-known works, ...

Article

Denmark  

Belgian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1950.

Sculptor of assemblages, installation artist.

Conceptual Art.

Denmark lives and works in Antwerp. In 1994, he took part in the exhibition Encounters Like Nothing Else at the Mukha in Antwerp. In 1990 he exhibited his Recycled Archives - Sculptures and Installations...

Article

German, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active since 1973 active in France.

Born 1954, in Biberach.

Painter (mixed media). Stage costumes.

Conceptual Art.

From 1968, Domenika corresponded at length with the German sculptor Josef Beuys. In 1975 she met Rüdiger. She has exhibited in 1974, in Milan; ...