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Article

Anne K. Swartz

(b Pasedena, CA, 1949).

American painter and printmaker. Kushner received a BA in visual arts with honors from the University of California at San Diego, La Jolla. There he met critic and art historian Amy Goldin, a visiting professor, and artist Kim MacConnel, a graduate student. Goldin taught Kushner and MacConnel about Islamic art and decoration, among many other topics. She encouraged them to examine decoration and Islamic art, among other sources to transgress the boundaries of what was art in their own work.

With Goldin’s support, Kushner became a champion of decoration, later telling his dealer Holly Solomon that he wanted to elevate decoration in much the same way Pop artists elevated commercial art. Kushner moved from California to Boston before relocating to New York City, where he befriended artist Brad Davis, who was similarly engaged in considering decoration as a mode for making art. In 1974, Kushner traveled with Goldin to Turkey, Iran and Afganistan, where he became fascinated by textile patterning, garments and architectural decoration. He returned to the United States and began actively incorporating much of this visual material into his art, in a manner reminiscent of artist Henri Matisse 50 years earlier following his trips to Morocco....

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(b San Francisco, CA, Oct 5, 1937).

Native American (Maidu–Wintu) painter, printmaker, photographer, writer, educator, traditional dancer and poet. LaPena, also known as Tauhindauli, spent time with the Nomtipom Wintu and other regional neighboring elders to conserve and regain traditional cultural practices. He was taught traditional tribal songs, dances and ceremonial rituals of Northern California Native American culture that inspired his interest in reviving and preserving Northern California tribal culture and accompanying performance arts. His work, along with Frank Day (1902–76), a late Maidu elder and painter, aided the founding of the Maidu Dancers and Traditionalists, a group dedicated to carrying out traditional cultural forms and social practices. Earning his bachelor’s degree from California State University (CSU), Chico (1965), and an Anthropology Masters of Arts degree from CSU, Sacramento (1978), he taught for the next 30 years in the CSU, Sacramento American Indian Studies program.

For LaPena, his art was a spiritual act, which empowers the maker with an opportunity to achieve a stronger sense of understanding life. Inspired by prehistoric rock painting, some painted images are depicted in total abstraction, while others illustrate a narrative theme. His strong consciousness of his Californian Native American heritage is distinctive and many themes in his compositions provide a powerful commentary in their depiction of the struggles of Northern California Native Americans; “To let the world know what happened in California, and to the indigenous populations points out that survival issues are still of great concern.” His paintings and prints reached a popular acceptance. LaPena exhibited throughout the United States and internationally at the Wheelwright Museum, Santa Fe, NM, the Chicago Art Institute, the San Francisco Museum, the Linder Museum, Stuttgart, the American Arts Gallery, New York, the George G. Heye Center of the Smithsonian, New York, and numerous galleries. In ...

Article

Anne K. Swartz

(b Oklahoma City, OK, 1946).

American painter and printmaker. MacConnel grew up in Oklahoma City, OK, and traveled frequently, especially to Mexico. He received a BA with honors in visual art at the University of California at San Diego, La Jolla (UCSD). He was a California State Scholar in 1970. MacConnel received an MFA with honors from UCSD. While a graduate student, he met visiting critic and art historian Amy Goldin, a visiting professor. He also met Robert Kushner, who was also a student in Goldin’s class and who also befriended Goldin. Goldin taught them in a seminar called “The Art Box,” where she encouraged the students to look beyond definitions of the current art world. She wanted the students to consider visual culture—everything from quilts to folk art—as related to contemporary art. Decoration was one of the things she encouraged MacConnel to examine. Decorations was his first solo show in 1971 at UCSD where he showed work inspired by world decoration. In his work, he combined and juxtaposed unexpected and often unorthodox images and patterns. His work had strong reminiscences in the bold coloring and strong patterning of such artists as Henri Matisse, who also considered non-Western source material. He became one of the founding artists of the ...

Article

Jeff Stockton

(Maurilio )

(b Laredo, TX, 1943).

American painter and printmaker of Mexican and Yaqui descent (mestizo). Peña’s art celebrated the strength of a native people who met the harsh realities of life in an uncompromising land, and his work was a tribute to the Native Americans who survived by living in harmony with an adversarial, untamed environment. His artwork was inspired by places in the Southwest that were part of an enduring landscape and represented the ancient heritage of the region that is now Arizona and New Mexico.

Peña’s work was defined by its bold color and form and dynamic composition. Abstract landscapes merged with human forms, and blanket and pottery patterns entered into the overall design. A prolific artist, Peña produced primarily watercolors and etchings, in addition to drawings, graphics, ceramics and jewelry. Irrespective of the medium, the recurring motif (and Peña’s artistic trademark) was a modeled, angular profile of a Native American man or woman, which he used as a simplified storytelling device....

Article

Michelle Yun

(b New York, NY, Dec 25, 1944).

American sculptor, draftsman and installation artist. Saret received a BArch from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, in 1966 and subsequently studied at Hunter College in New York under Robert Morris from 1966 to 1968. In the late 1960s his work was classified as part of the “anti-form” movement, which rejected the rigidity of Minimalism in favor of creating non-figurative works that were structured in part by the inherent physical properties of the industrial materials favored by this group.

Saret’s early sculptures from the 1960s and 1970s were primarily crafted from industrial metal wire of varying thickness, though he also sometimes used rubber, wire mesh or other non-art materials. They were often suspended from the ceiling or installed directly on the ground and exuded a weightless, ephemeral quality akin to clouds or gestural drawings rendered three-dimensionally. It was around this time, in 1967, that Saret began his ongoing Gang drawings series. These gestural drawings were initially created as preliminary studies for the sculptures and were produced by the artist spontaneously grabbing a handful, or “gang,” of colored pencils, thereby integrating an element of chance to the process....

Article

Patricia Hills

(b Roxbury, MA, Apr 14, 1922; d Brookline, MA, Jan 22, 2015).

American sculptor, painter, printmaker, and teacher. Raised in Roxbury, a suburb of Boston, Wilson was the second of five children of Reginald and Violet Wilson, immigrants from British Guiana (now the Republic of Guyana). He attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with a full scholarship and received a diploma with highest honors in 1945; a BS degree in art education followed in 1947 from Tufts University. With a fellowship from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, he spent 1947–1949 in Paris, where he studied with Fernand Léger. Returning to Boston he taught briefly at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, married Julie Kowitch, and moved to Mexico City with a John Hay Whitney Fellowship. There he became friends with Elizabeth Catlett and her husband Francesco Mora, both active in the graphic workshop organized by leftist artists, the Taller de Gráfica Popular, where he worked. In Mexico he learned the techniques of true fresco, which had been popularized by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, and painted the mural ...