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Article

Bio Art  

Suzanne Anker

From Anatomical studies to landscape painting to the Biomorphism of Surrealism, the biological realm historically provided a significant resource for numerous artists. More recently, Bio Art became a term referring to intersecting domains that comprise advances in the biological sciences and their incorporation into the plastic arts. Of particular importance in works of Bio Art is to summon awareness of the ways in which the accelerating biomedical sciences alter social, ethical and cultural values in society.

Coming to the fore in the early 1990s Bio Art is neither media specific nor locally bounded. It is an international movement with practitioners in such regions as Europe, the US, Russia, Australia and the Americas. Several subgenres of Bio Art exist within this overarching term:

(i) Artists who employ the iconography of the 20th and 21st century sciences, including molecular and cellular genetics, transgenically altered living matter and reproductive technologies as well as the diverse fields of neuroscience. All traditional media such as painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking and drawing are employed to convey novel ways of representing life forms. Images of chromosomes, the double helix, magnetic resonance imaging body scans and neuroanatomy comprise this iconography. The molecular underpinnings of the living world have also become visible through high technological instrumentation when artists incorporate such pictorialisations as part of their practice. Representations span both genotypic variations and phenotypic ones. Artists include Suzanne Anker (...

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

Native American (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1946, in Montana.

Printmaker, photographer, conceptual artist, installation artist.

Corwin Clairmont, or ‘Corky’, received his MFA from California State University, Los Angeles in 1971. His early work, concerning social and environmental issues, earned him a Ford Foundation Grant (...

Article

Mary M. Tinti

Architecture, design and conceptual art partnership. Diller Scofidio + Renfro [Diller + Scofidio] was formed in 1979 by Elizabeth Diller (b Lodz, Poland, 1954) and Ricardo Scofidio (b New York, NY, 1935) as an interdisciplinary design practice based in New York.

Diller studied at the Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York (BArch, 1979) and then worked as an Assistant Professor of Architecture (1981–90) at the Cooper Union School of Architecture, becoming Associate Professor of Architecture at Princeton University in 1990. Scofidio, who also attended Cooper Union (1952–5), obtained his BArch from Columbia University (1960) and became Professor of Architecture at Cooper Union in 1965. In 1997 Charles Renfro joined the firm and was made partner in 2004, at which point the partnership changed its name to Diller Scofidio + Renfro. While the couple (who are married) initially eschewed traditional architectural projects in favor of installations, set design and landscape design, by the 21st century their firm had received commissions for both new buildings and renovations of existing architecture. Diller and Scofidio were the first architects to receive a MacArthur Foundation fellowship (...

Article

Native American (Okanagan), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1953, in Omak, Washington.

Printmaker, muralist, sculptor, mixed-media artist. Collage, glass.

Born in 1953, Joe Feddersen is an Okanagan member of the Colville Confederated Tribes, and a Native American artist. He earned his BFA at the University of Washington (...

Article

Native American (Cheyenne and Arapaho), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 22 November, 1954, in Wichita (Kansas).

Painter, draughtsman, sculptor, printmaker, installation artist, conceptual artist, educator.

Edgar Heap of Birds is one of the most distinguished North American indigenous artists of his generation. His works reveal a distinctly critical and historical awareness of the ways that American Indian peoples, their histories and their viewpoints have been ignored and written over under colonialism. He has received numerous honours, presenting his work in competition for the United States Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale (...

Article

German, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1961, in Brussels.

Installation artist, video artist.

From 1979 to 1985 Höller studied agronomy in Kiel, before embarking on his artistic career. His work is based on the future and the Darwinian theory of the evolution of the species as developed most famously by biologist Richard Dawkins. This theory repudiates, as far as evolution is concerned, any notion of romanticism about universal love and the well-being of species. Effectively, genes programme the living organism in a selfish way; their primary function is replication. So Carsten Höller's works, which are mainly interactive installations, take pleasure in demythologizing our so-called altruistic, but unconsciously selfish, behaviour and propose new approaches to the subject, particularly in the fields of sex and passion. Nevertheless, the human species has the ability to operate in the cultural domain, as demonstrated in his video, ...

Article

American, 20th century, female.

Born 5 April 1938, in Worcester, Massachusetts; died 8 February 2014, in New York.

Sculptor, installation artist, filmmaker, photographer. Land Art, Environmental Art, Public Art, Post-Minimalism.

Nancy Holt received a BA in Biology from Tufts University in 1960 and then briefly travelled through Europe, before moving to New York City. There, she met influential Minimalist and Post-Minimalist artists, many of whom would become collaborators, including: Carl Andre, Dan Graham, Eva Hesse, Joan Jonas, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris, and Richard Serra. Holt’s early artistic output was primarily photography, video, and Concrete poetry, mediums in which she continued to work throughout her career....

Article

M. N. Sokolov

[Francisko; Fransisko]

(b Vasil’yevka, Saratov region, June 4, 1943).

Russian installation artist and theorist. The son of a Spanish Republican émigré, Infante studied at the Surikov Art Institute in Moscow from 1956 to 1962. From 1962 to 1968 he was a member of the group Dvizheniye (Movement), which elaborated the principles of kinetic art. In 1970, together with his wife, the artist Nonna Goryunova (b 1944), and the designer Valery Osipov (b 1941), he organized his own group, ARGO, which became prominent in the Moscow avant-garde of the period. Characteristic of his work in the 1960s are abstract geometric paintings, blueprints for his subsequent three-dimensional compositions. Underlying these compositions is the notion of the artefact, the handmade object, symbolizing the harmony of art, the technosphere and nature. Although to some extent he continued the traditions of Russian Constructivism, he succeeded in infusing his work with a sense of ideal ecological balance, free from technocratic utopianism. His work comprises series of numerous temporary landscape installations, for example ...

Article

Russian, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 8 August 1943, in Tripoli, USSR (now Republic of Georgia)

Photographer, painter, sculptor, printmaker, installation artist.

Soviet Nonconformist Art; Moscow Conceptualism.

Collective Actions (group).

Igor Makarevich grew up Tbilisi, Georgia before moving to Moscow in 1951. From 1955 to 1962...

Article

Dennis Raverty

(b Birmingham, AL, Oct 17, 1955).

African American painter, writer, film production designer, and multimedia installation artist. Marshall’s works portray idealized subjects derived from African American experience in large-scale, multiple-figure paintings and installations that share many characteristics with European history painting in the “grand manner” of Peter Paul Rubens, Benjamin West, Jacques-Louis David, and the 19th-century academic tradition. This “high culture” Euro-American tradition is juxtaposed with elements of African American vernacular culture in order to reinsert African American subjects and aesthetics into the larger mainstream of America’s artistic and cultural history—a history from which, the artist believes, blacks have been largely excluded.

Marshall was born in Birmingham, AL, one of the most segregated cities in the United States at that time, and the site of civil rights demonstrations in the early 1960s. He moved with his parents in 1963 to Nickerson Gardens public housing project in Watts, CA, just a few years before the riots there. Consequently, the struggles of the civil rights movement profoundly affected him and are a major theme in his mature work....

Article

American, 20th–21st century, female.

Born 27 May 1944, in New York City.

Installation artist, sculptor, designer. Land Art, environmental art, site-specific art.

Mary Miss studied at the University of California at Santa Barbara, graduating with a BA in 1966. She received her MFA from the Rhinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Art Institute in ...

Article

Canadian First Nations (Kwakwaka’wakw), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1969, in Comox (British Columbia).

Conceptual artist, installation artist, sculptor.

Marianne Nicolson is a Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations artist and intellectual. In 1996 she graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and went on to earn an MFA from the University of Victoria in ...

Article

Chika Okeke

(b Aba, 1964).

Nigerian painter, installation artist, art historian and poet. He carried out undergraduate studies work (1981–6) and some graduate work (1987–9) at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. There he trained with Obiora Udechukwu, whose influence can be seen in Oguibe's use of uli, nsibidi and mbari motifs (see under Ejagham and Africa §V 3.). From 1986 to 1987 he taught at the Federal College of Education, Abeokuta. He also wrote poetry and in 1992 won the Christopher Okigbo All-Africa Prize for A Gathering Fear. He spent 1990 as an artist-in-residence in Bayreuth, Germany, and 1994 in Friebourg. He studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, receiving a PhD in art history in 1992. Between 1995 and 1999 he taught art history at the University of Chicago and the University of South Florida, Tampa.

In the early 1980s his work comprised painted mats and cane meshes, but he returned to watercolour and acrylic while in London, and in the 1990s he moved increasingly towards installation and conceptual art. Compositionally, some of his paintings were inspired by Fante flags and mbari murals, with patterned borders and simple motifs in the centre of the picture plane. Often confrontational, his pieces address the politics of art as well as the Nigerian world. His installation pieces, for example, evoked memories and experiences of the Biafran war (the Nigerial civil war). His work of the mid- to late-1990s is multivalent, its meanings less fixed and its messages less direct. He is also a prolific writer on contemporary African art....

Article

Native American (Crow), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1981, in Billings (Montana).

3D, collage and installation artist, photographer, printmaker.

Wendy Red Star, member of the Crow Nation and niece of noted Crow painter Kevin Red Star, works in a variety of media to produce multi-layered artworks which point to complexities in indigenous North American experience today. Drawing particularly on her years growing up near to the Crow Indian Reservation in Northern Montana, in collages such as ...

Article

Nadja Rottner

French critic and philosopher Nicolas Bourriaud adopted the term ‘relational aesthetics’ in the mid-1990s to refer to the work of a selected group of artists, and what he considers their novel approach to a socially conscious art of participation: an art that takes as its content the human relations elicited by the artwork. Its key practitioners, most of them emerging in the 1990s, include Rirkrit Tiravanija , Philippe Parreno (b 1964), Liam Gillick, Pierre Huyghe, Maurizio Cattelan, Carsten Höller , and Vanessa Beecroft . For example, Carsten Höller installed Test Site (2006) at the Tate Modern in London so that visitors could enjoy the amusement park thrill of large playground slides in the museum’s Turbine Hall, and bond with fellow viewers over their experience. Bourriaud’s collected writings in Relational Aesthetics (1998, Eng. edn 2002) helped to spark a new wave of interest in participatory art.

While Bourriaud omits acknowledging the historical roots of relational art, Marxist-influenced critiques of the changing conditions of modern life, and arguments for art’s ability to improve man’s relationship with reality have a long history in 20th-century art. Critics Walter Benjamin and Siegfried Kracauer were among the first to developed new models for an art of politicized participation in the 1920s. The relational art of the 1990s and early 2000s is a continuation and an extension of traditions of participatory art throughout the 20th century (such as ...

Article

Native American (Tuscarora), 20th century, female.

Born 1956, in Sanborn (New York).

Photographer, installation artist, curator, and professor.

Jolene Rickard received her BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, an MS from Buffalo State College and her doctorate from the University of Buffalo. Rickard is particularly interested in the transfer of Native oral traditions and cultural knowledge both on and off the reservation. Her art installations and photographs reference her Haudenosaunee/Tuscarora heritage and the importance of teaching and learning in the Native community. In the exhibit ...

Article

Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel

The final decades of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century witnessed an increasing propensity for artists to incorporate aspects of science in their own art. In many fields of scientific research—including the cloning of mammals, the genetic modification of crops, the creation of bioengineered organs and tissues, advances in nanotechnology and robotics, experimental research in how the human mind works and the study of artificial intelligence—the frontiers of knowledge pushed outward at an accelerated pace. In the spirit of creative inquiry, or in order to critique the goals and outcomes of scientific experimentation and application, artists regularly borrowed subjects, tools and approaches from science as a means to the production of art ( see fig. ).

In documenting and assessing the achievements of visual artists engaged with science, there was no broad consensus on the categorisation of artists’ work across the full range of activities, methods, motivations and use of materials. Assessments of artistic practice focused on artists’ work categorised by the traditional fields of science (e.g. artists who explore biology, artists who explore physical sciences). Other analyses of artistic practice focused on categories of art media (e.g. artists who use traditional means such as carving and casting to represent scientific discoveries, artists who explore and employ biological materials and scientific instruments)....

Article

Native American (Muscogee Creek and Seminole), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1951, in Wewoka (Oklahoma).

Sculptor, installation artist.

C. Maxx Stevens was born in Oklahoma but raised in Wichita, Kansas. Her training began in the 1970s when she gained an Associate of Arts degree from Haskell Indian Junior College in ...

Article

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

Born 17 March 1976, in Plainfield (New Jersey), United States.

Photographer, conceptual artist. Appropriation art. Mixed media.

The New York–based artist Hank Willis Thomas received a bachelor of fine arts degree in photography and Africana studies from New York University and later received his master of fine arts degree in photography and visual criticism from the California College of Arts. As a photo-conceptual artist, he uses found imagery from advertisements and mass media to explore and provoke themes related to identity, race, gender, history, and popular culture. He refers to himself as ‘a visual cultural archaeologist’ and has spoken at length about the influence of Carrie Mae Weems and of his mother, the photographer Deborah Willis....