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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

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

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1946, in Cleveland (Ohio).

Performance artist, installation artist.

Conceptual Art.

During the 1970s Howard Fried taught at the Sculpture Department of the San Francisco Art Institute where he helped to establish the pioneering New Genres Department.

Fried was instrumental in the development of West Coast Conceptualism. Unlike the very cerebral and intellectual strain of Conceptual art being pioneered in New York and Europe, Californian artists such as Tom Marioni and Paul Kos adopted a more playful tone in their analysis of art-making processes. In his installation, video and performance works, Fried attempted to give form to the psychological dilemma between approach and avoidance that faces the artist before embarking on the creation of an artwork. In ...

Article

Native American (Tlingit and Aleut), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1979, in Sitka (Alaska).

Conceptual artist, performance artist, musician. Installation, video, mixed media.

Nicholas Galanin is a Tlingit and Aleut artist. He received a BA in jewellery design at London Guildhall University (2003), and a MA in Indigenous Visual Arts at Massey University (...

Article

Canadian partnership of conceptual artists working as performance artists, video artists, photographers and sculptors. It was formed in 1968 by A. A. Bronson [pseud. of Michael Tims] (b Vancouver, 1946), Felix Partz [pseud. of Ron Gabe] (b Winnipeg, 1945) and Jorge Zontal [pseud. of Jorge Saia] (b Parma, Italy, 1944; d Feb 1994). Influenced by semiotics and working in various media, they sought to examine and subvert social structures, taking particular interest in the products of mass culture. Their existence as a group, each with an assumed name, itself undermined the traditional notion of the solitary artist of genius. In 1972 they began publishing a quarterly journal, File, to publicize their current interests and work. In the 1970s they concentrated on beauty parades, starting in 1970 with the 1970 Miss General Idea Pageant, a performance at the Festival of Underground Theatre in Toronto that mocked the clichés surrounding the beauty parade, resulting in the nomination of Miss General Idea ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1942, in Urbana (Illinois).

Installation artist, performance artist, sculptor, photographer. Multimedia.

Conceptual Art, Body Art.

Dan Graham lives and works in New York, where he has achieved renown as a gallery owner (he opened the John Daniels Gallery in the 1960s), art theorist (championing Minimal Art) and artist. The closure of his gallery for financial reasons caused Dan Graham to question the economic and social purpose of 'gallery art'. Influenced by Pop Art, which introduced an element of social realism to his work, Graham gradually rejected the concept of artistic autonomy promoted by the American Minimalists. Drawing on his experience of the commercial and economic realities of the art world, he realised that the value of a work of art is above all determined by the extent to which it is reproduced. He began to publicise his own work by reproducing it on inserts in, for example, the art and rock press and women's magazines, rather than by holding exhibitions in commercial galleries. His exploration of art, the means of reproduction and 'mediatisation' continued with the distribution of his own series of photographs of tract-houses (pre-fabricated, mass-produced American suburban homes): ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Active also active in Italy.

Born 1943, in Springfield (Illinois).

Assemblage artist, installation artist, performance artist. Multimedia.

Conceptual Art, Identity Art.

David Hammons studied at the Chouinard and Otis Art Institutes in Los Angeles. Hammons' work, notably his series of Body Prints...

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

G. Lola Worthington

(b Wichita, KS, Nov 22, 1954).

Native American (Cheyenne–Arapaho) conceptual and performance artist. Creating ethnic commentary with introspective perceptions and communiqués of contemporary indigenous political frames of context, Heap of Birds demonstrated his analysis of colonized relationships and their aftermath. In his works unspoken rules and relationships between Native Americans and colonizers are deliberately provoked and questioned (see, for example, Day/Night, 1991). He candidly confronts stereotypes and the essential meaning of “Native” identity in legal and colonialist terms.

He earned his BFA at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS (1976), and afterwards studied at the Royal College of Art, London (1976–7). In 1979, the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA awarded him an MFA. Early works combined his enthusiasm for juxtaposed graphic images with text on sheet metal. Combining visual and linguistical representations, he offered fresh and provoking political commentary. His works were temporary and retained by a series of noted photographs taken during the performance event. He voiced questions between Native Americans and non-Native Americans about the precarious relationships of ethnic perception in modern day America....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1930, in Newark (New Jersey); died 1999, in Dallas (Texas).

Painter, performance artist.

Conceptual Art.

Lee Lozano studied at the University of Chicago before completing an MFA at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1961. Shortly after she moved to New York, where her distinct and notoriously radical practice earned her a place in the city's avant-garde circles. In ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1937, in Cincinnati (Ohio).

Performance artist, installation artist.

Conceptual Art.

Tom Marioni studied at the Cincinnati Art Academy before settling in San Francisco in 1959. During the 1960s he worked as a graphic designer. In 1968 he was appointed curator of the Richmond Art Center in Richmond, California. Two years later, following a succession of daring and provocative exhibitions, he was dismissed. Later on that year he founded the Museum of Conceptual Art (MoCA) in San Francisco which became a platform for West Coast developments in Conceptual Art. The museum closed in ...

Article

Pierre-François Galpin

(b Cincinnati, OH, May 21, 1937).

Pierre-François Galpin

American sculptor, performance and installation artist, and curator.

Marioni was a key figure in the conceptual art movement in the San Francisco Bay Area throughout the 1970s. After attending Cincinnati Art Academy from 1955 to 1959, he moved to San Francisco. Marioni created a large body of work exhibited around the world and in museums’ collections, and promoted fellow artists’ works through exhibitions and magazines. From 1968 to 1971 he was the curator of the Richmond Art Center in Richmond, CA, a northern suburb of San Francisco.

Marioni’s pioneering artworks included One Second Sculpture (1969), an art action in which he released a tightly coiled metal tape-measure into the air, letting it spread to then fall on the ground; the action and its result, between performance, sculpture, and time-based art, encompassed Marioni’s notion of ‘idea-oriented art’. His signature piece The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 9 February 1931, in Kansas City.

Sculptor, painter, performance artist, draughtsman, engraver.

Conceptual Art, Minimal Art, Process Art, Antiform.

From 1948 to 1950 Robert Morris studied engineering and art at the University of Kansas City and from 1950 to 1952 at the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco. In 1961 he studied art history at Hunter College, New York. He settled in Gardiner, New York State....

Article

Deborah A. Middleton

(b Fort Wayne, IN, Dec 6, 1941).

American conceptual artist. Recognized as one of the most influential, innovative, and provocative 20th century American artists, Nauman extended the media of sculpture, film, video, photography, and sound with performance and spatial explorations. Nauman attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1960 to 1964, with early studies in mathematics and physics, which broadened to the study of art under Italo Scanga (1932–2001). He received a master’s degree in Fine Art from the University of California, Davis in 1966 under William T. Wiley, Robert Arneson, Frank Owen (b 1939), and Stephen Kaltenbach (b 1940) and honorary degrees from the San Francisco Art Institute (1989) and California Institute of Art (2000). In 1966 he began to teach at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Nauman’s interactive artworks and performances explore the syntactical nuances of language, text, and figurative gesture to create material culture and in-between places, which often result in a heightened sense of physical and emotional awareness. Nauman’s artistic explorations of spatial perception, bodily consciousness, physical and mental activity, and linguistic manipulation were demonstrated in interactive spatial compositions that accentuated various relationships between the human body and built environments. Early works included body castings and holographic self-images with subsequent works situating the viewer within their own mental and bodily perceptions. In ...

Article

(b Mason City, WA, Sept 6, 1938; d New York, NY, Jan 21, 2011).

American conceptual and performance artist. He studied art at California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA (1959–64) and at Stanford University, Stanford, CA (1964–5). His early work was Land art and involved large-scale outdoor projects documented by photographs. In Directed Seeding—Cancelled Crop (1969; see 1974 exh. cat.), he organized the planting of a field of wheat at Finsterwolde in Holland according to a specific pattern and then had a huge cross shape harvested out of the grown crop. He prevented any of the crop from being sold, an act he likened to ‘stopping raw pigment from becoming an illusionistic force on canvas’ (1974 exh. cat.). In the early 1970s he turned to such performance works as Reading Position for Second Degree Burn (1970; see 1974 exh. cat.), in which he lay in the sun for five hours with a book across his chest so that his skin burned, leaving a silhouette of the book. He saw this as a form of painting....

Article

James Smalls

(b New York, Sept 20, 1948).

African American conceptual and performance artist. Piper graduated with an Associate of Arts degree in painting and sculpture from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1969. While continuing to produce and exhibit her artwork, she received a BA in Philosophy from the City College of New York in 1974. During 1977–8, Piper studied Kant and Hegel at the University of Heidelberg and earned a PhD in Philosophy from Harvard University in 1981. She taught philosophy at Georgetown, Harvard, the University of Michigan, Stanford, and the University of California, San Diego. Her principal publications have been in meta-ethics, Kantian metaphysics, and the history of ethics. These interests also influenced her art. In 1987 she became the first tenured African American woman professor in the field of philosophy at Wellesley College and, through numerous scholarly books and articles, began to present her ideas through performance art, photography, and video....

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 20 September 1948, in New York.

Draughtswoman, performance artist, installation artist, collage artist.

Conceptual Art, Identity Art (Feminist Art).

Adrian Margaret Piper was a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1966. In 1970 she enrolled at the City College, New York, and was awarded a Doctorate in Philosophy at Harvard in ...

Article

Mitra Monir Abbaspour

(b Chbanieh, June 15, 1967).

Lebanese conceptual artist, photographer, video and performance artist active also in America. Raad received his BFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1989, and completed his MA and PhD in Cultural and Visual Studies at the University of Rochester in 1993 and 1996, respectively, and in 2002 became an associate professor at the Cooper Union School in New York. History and its representation, narration, and memory are the central themes of Raad’s work. His experience of the Lebanese wars between 1975 and 1991 and their ongoing effects inform his inquiries into the methods of historical documents.

Raad began contending with narratives of the Lebanese wars in a series of short video documentaries that included Up to the South (1993)–a collaboration with Lebanese artist Jayce Salloum (b 1958)—and Missing Lebanese Wars (1996). Characteristic of his later practice, these videos critically employ a genre (documentary film) associated with factual reportage, foregrounding the relationship between subject and method of the work....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 9 November 1945, in Providence (Rhode Island); died 14 September 2001, in San Francisco.

Sculptor, performance artist, installation artist, video artist, film maker.

Fluxus, Conceptual Art.

Stuart Sherman wrote poems and worked as an actor in the Fluxus group of avant-garde theatre companies in the USA in the 1960s. He was a friend and also later a companion of the writer Carson McCullers. His artistic activity began about ...

Article

Rochelle LeGrandsawyer

(b Newark, NJ, June 28, 1955).

African American performance and conceptual artist. Pope.L attended the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn (1973–5), Montclair College (BA 1978) and the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York (1977–8) before earning his MFA from Rutgers University (1981).

As the self-proclaimed “Friendliest Black Artist in America,” Pope.L approached the taboo and divisive subjects of race, sex and class as a comedic provocateur. Well-known Pope.L works, such as Eating the Wall Street Journal (2002) and Selling Mayonnaise for 100 Dollars a Dollop (1990–91), used humor and absurdity to engage socially-loaded subject matter. While Pope.L’s oeuvre spanned multiple media, much of his work took the form of public performance. For example, in The Great White Way: 22 miles, 5 years, 1 street (2002), Pope.L crawled, scooted and dragged himself—in segments over a five year period—through New York City on a 22-mile path from the Statue of Liberty to the Bronx, wearing a Superman costume and a skateboard strapped to his back....