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Article

(b Chicago, June 5, 1947).

American performance artist, sculptor, draughtsman, and writer. She completed her BA in art history at Barnard College, New York, in 1969 and had her first one-woman show there in 1970, exhibiting sculptures and drawings among other works. She then trained as a sculptor at Columbia University, New York, receiving her MFA in 1972. Much of her work has built on her childhood instruction as a classical violinist, and she achieved popular notoriety in 1981 when her song ‘O Superman’ became a popular hit in England. Her first performance piece, Automotive, took place in 1972 at Town Green in Rochester, VT, and involved a concert of car horns. In 1974 she staged another music-based performance entitled Duets on Ice in which she appeared at four different locations on New York sidewalks wearing a pair of ice skates with their blades frozen in blocks of ice, and she proceeded to play one of several altered violins until the ice melted into water. In subsequent years, she has continued to work primarily as a performance artist, using projected photographs, films, texts, and music to create technologically sophisticated and elaborately staged events. Many of these performances have featured instruments of her own invention. The most famous of these was a violin with a recording head on its body and a strip of audio tape in the place of the hairs on its bow. This piece allowed her to play the human voice as an instrument by changing its speed and cadence with the movements of her arm. The most complex and spectacular of her performances, ...

Article

Justine Hopkins

(b London, Feb 20, 1921; d London, Nov 16, 1975).

English sculptor, painter, printmaker and writer . He left school at 14 to begin his painting career. After spending time in France, Ayrton returned to England in 1939, finding success in stage design and art criticism. His writings in The Spectator (1946–8) were important in the acceptance of Neo-Romanticism. From 1946 he travelled widely in Italy, admiring the Quattrocento painters, especially Piero della Francesca. At Cumae he began the preoccupation with Greek mythology that continued throughout his life; he visited Greece regularly from 1957. After 1955 sculptures became his preferred medium, although drawing remained essential and he produced etchings and lithographs. However, his many bronzes of the Minotaur, Daedalus and Icarus (e.g. Icarus III, 1960; London, Old Change Court) remain his best-known images. The Arkville Maze (1968), built of brick and masonry, contains two lifesize bronze sculptures and still stands in the estate of Armand Erpf in the Catskill Mountains, New York (see Hopkins, p. 402)....

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1966, in Lille.

Installation artist, photographer, video artist, film producer, writer, musician.

Stéphane Bérard lives and works in Haute-Provence. Both poet and sculptor, he casts a quizzical and ironic eye on the flotsam of everyday life. His inventions include the ...

Article

French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1849, in Orléans; died 1930.

Painter, watercolourist, sculptor, writer, musician. Landscapes.

Paul Besnard, the son of a magistrate, followed his father's example and became an examining magistrate in Romorantin. Being interested in painting, he asked his neighbour Henri Chouppe to teach him how to paint watercolours. One year after he first sent work to the Salon de Paris in ...

Article

Michelle Yun

(b New York, Feb 5, 1960).

American multimedia artist, curator, and writer. Blake received a BA from Bard College, Annadale-on-Hudson, NY, in 1982 and an MFA from the California Institute of Arts in Valencia in 1984. Upon graduation he moved to San Francisco where he worked as a curator at New Langton Arts, San Francisco, until his return to New York in 1996. Most notable of his curated exhibitions was In a Different Light, at the University Art Museum, Berkeley, in 1995, the first museum exhibition to examine the influence of lesbian and gay artists on contemporary art. In 2003 Blake became the founding Chair of the International Center of Photography/Bard Masters Program in Advanced Photographic Studies at the International Center for Photography in New York.

Blake’s performances, installations, and curated exhibitions have consistently tackled issues relating to sexuality, race, and representation. In his youth the artist was influenced by Joseph Cornell, and early sculptures such as ...

Article

Julia Robinson

(b New York, Aug 27, 1926; d Cologne, Germany, Dec 5, 2008).

American sculptor, performance artist, and writer. A proto-conceptual artist, Brecht emerged as part of the group of avant-garde composers and artists surrounding John Cage in the late 1950s. His model of the ‘event score’, a short textual proposition meant to activate the experience between subject and object, was a pivotal contribution to the conceptual strategies of art in the 1960s. A member of Cage’s Experimental Composition courses at New York’s New School for Social Research (1956–60), he wrote chance-based, indeterminate scores, first for music, and eventually for events in all dimensions. In October 1959 his first solo exhibition, Toward Events: An Arrangement (New York, Reuben Gal.), featured constellations of ready-made objects in familiar ‘frames’, such as a regular medicine cabinet (e.g. Repository, 1961; New York, MOMA) or a suitcase, with instructions indicating how they could be perceived as ‘events’ via suggested (but open) time-based encounters. Between 1959 and ...

Article

Italian, 16th – 17th century, male.

Born 1559, in Castelvecchio, in Cigoli according to the Larousse Dictionary; died 1613, in Rome.

Painter, sculptor, architect, poet, musician.

Florentine School.

Lodovoco Cardi began his studies under Alessandro Allori, and later became one of the most brilliant followers of Santi di Tito. According to Lanzi, he was taught drawing by Buontalenti. He was elected to membership of the Florence academy, following the submission of his painting of ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b London, Oct 23, 1948).

English poet, sculptor and performance artist. He studied at the North East London Polytechnic (1968–71) and then under the sculptor Bernard Meadows at the Royal College of Art, London (1971–4). His first solo exhibition, at the Air Gallery, London, in 1977, was followed by shows at the Camden Arts Centre, London (1979), and the Arnolfini, Bristol (1980). From 1982 to 1985 he lived and worked in Norwich as Henry Moore Fellow. In the 1990s he became head of sculpture at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. Catling’s sculpture and performances are often based on a metaphysical view of ordinary materials and objects, dwelling on their spiritual and emotive presence. His performances involve intense, symbolic activities made in a state that he has described as ‘the chrysalis of mania’; he also made oracular readings using props invested with ‘magical properties’, suggesting comparisons with the performances of Joseph Beuys. During ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Vólos, Greece, July 10, 1888; d Rome, Nov 20, 1978).

Italian painter, writer, theatre designer, sculptor and printmaker. De Chirico was one of the originators of Pittura Metafisica. His paintings are characterized by a visionary, poetic use of imagery, in which themes such as nostalgia, enigma and myth are explored. He was an important source of inspiration for artists throughout Europe in the inter-war years and again for a new generation of painters in the 1980s. His abrupt stylistic changes, however, have obscured the continuity of his approach, which was rooted in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, and this has often led to controversy.

His parents came from the Italian diaspora within the Ottoman empire. He was very close to his brother, Andrea (who later adopted the pseudonym Alberto Savinio). As children they identified themselves with the heavenly twins, Castor and Pollux, while their closest associates became the Argonauts (a reference to Giorgio’s birthplace, Vólos, from which, in Greek legend, the Argonauts departed to retrieve the Golden Fleece). The brothers’ inherited Greek culture was a consistently rich source of inspiration. Their father, Evaristo de Chirico, was an engineer engaged in supervising the construction of the railway in Thessaly. He encouraged his sons’ artistic talents, engaging drawing tutors for Giorgio and sending him to study with the Swiss painter ...

Article

Belgian, 20th century, male.

Born 4 December 1928, in Marcinelle.

Painter, sculptor, musician, poet.

Delporte was a self-taught painter. His painting technique involved both sensitivity and spontaneity in his application of colour. His brand of Surrealism was both cosmic and fantastical. For two of his series, one a homage to Van Gogh, the other inspired by Rimbaud's ...

Article

Jean E. Feinberg

(b Cincinnati, OH, June 6, 1935).

American painter, sculptor, printmaker, illustrator, performance artist, stage designer and poet. He studied art at the Cincinnati Arts Academy (1951–3) and later at the Boston Museum School and Ohio University (1954–7). In 1957 he married Nancy Minto and the following year they moved to New York. Dine’s first involvement with the art world was in his Happenings of 1959–60. These historic theatrical events, for example The Smiling Workman (performed at the Judson Gallery, New York, 1959), took place in chaotic, makeshift environments built by the artist–performer. During the same period he created his first assemblages, which incorporated found materials. Simultaneously he developed the method by which he produced his best known work—paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures that depict and expressively interpret common images and objects.

Clothing and domestic objects featured prominently in Dine’s paintings of the 1960s, with a range of favoured motifs including ties, shoes and bathroom items such as basins, showers and toothbrushes (e.g. ...

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

Sophie Howarth

(b Córdoba, 1955; d Córdoba, Nov 2, 1993).

Spanish draughtsman, painter, sculptor, installation artist, performance artist and writer. In both his art and writing Espaliú, who studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Seville, was influenced by the existentialist philosophy of the French writer Jean Genet (1910–86). His works of the mid-1980s included drawings of masks and faces and a series of hollow leather sculptures known as Saints. Later, Espaliú’s works all related to his identity and experience as a homosexual and, eventually, to his HIV-positive status; he was to die of AIDS-related illnesses while still in his late thirties, and a strong sense of his frailty and imminent mortality marks his mature work. Several sculptures from 1992 involved steel cages used as metaphors for both confinement and protection. These include Untitled (1992; Seville, La Máquina Española, see 1994 London exh. cat.), an installation made originally for the Hospital de la Venerable Orden III in Madrid. As illness made Espaliú weaker and more dependent on others, he embarked on a project entitled ...

Article

Robert J. Belton

(b Jassy [now Iaşi], Romania, Aug 29, 1933).

Canadian sculptor, film maker, costume designer, playwright and poet of Romanian birth. His formal art training began in 1945 but in 1950 he emigrated to Israel. From 1953 he studied at the Institute of Painting and Sculpture in Tel Aviv. Etrog’s first one-man exhibition took place in 1958 and consisted of Painted Constructions, wood and canvas objects blurring the distinctions between painting and low relief (see Heinrich). In these works he tried to embody uncertainties that stemmed from his experience of Nazi aggression as a boy. The results were loosely expressionistic versions of geometric abstraction, derived in part from the work of Paul Klee.

Assisted by the painter Marcel Janco, Etrog went on a scholarship to New York, where he was inspired by Oceanic and African artefacts he saw in the collections there. This led to a preoccupation with organic abstractions, flowing totemic forms, and metaphors of growth and movement, seen in ...

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

S. Kontha

(b Budapest, April 17, 1904; d Budapest, Jan 26, 1986).

Hungarian painter, illustrator, mosaicist, tapestry designer, stage designer, poster designer, printmaker, sculptor, teacher and administrator. From 1922 to 1929 he studied at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts (Magyar Kepzőmüvészeti Főiskolá) in Budapest under Gyula Rudnay (1878–1957) and János Vaszary (1867–1939). In the mid-1920s he became acquainted with Béla Uitz’s General Ludd series (1923; Budapest, N.G.) and in Venice he saw the work of such Russian avant-garde artists as Rodchenko and El Lissitzky and such Italian Futurists as Severini. In 1926 in Paris he studied the works of Léger, Braque, Picasso and others in the collection of Léonce Rosenberg. He was also influenced by the art of Brancusi and Joseph Csáky, as well as André Breton’s Manifeste du surréalisme (Paris, 1924). From the outset, Hincz’s work revealed a number of different objectives. Although he experimented with abstraction, the reference to the figure is always present in one form or another. His profound interest in humanity and its social interaction was based on, and motivated by, this interest in the figure. His early paintings are expressionist in mood and are composed of flattened forms in a shallow space in a manner reminiscent of Cubo–Futurist art. Elements of Purism and Surrealism are also present. After World War II he became increasingly preoccupied with realism, political agitprop art and the problems inherent in creating new symbols; a study trip to Korea, China and Vietnam in ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 7 October 1943; died 15 October 1995, in Paris.

Performance artist, sculptor, painter, poet. Multimedia.

Michel Journiac studied philosophy and scholastic theology. He taught aesthetics at the University of Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne) and was formerly a teacher in art schools in Versailles, Nancy and Rheims....

Article

Ulrike Lehmann

(b Nice, April 28, 1928; d Paris, June 6, 1962).

French painter, sculptor, performance artist and writer.

He was the son of the Dutch-born painter Fred Klein (b 1898), whose work was representational, and Marie Raymond (b 1908), who developed a reputation in the 1950s as an abstract artist, and whose abstraction was influential on the development of her son’s work. Although he had had no formal art training, he was already making his first serious attempts at painting by 1946 and showing his interest in the absoluteness of colour by formulating his first theories about monochrome. In 1946 he befriended Arman, with whom he was later to be associated in the Nouveau Réalisme movement, and the writer Claude Pascal, whom he met at a judo class. Together they developed their interest in esoteric writing and East Asian religions. Klein became a student of the Rosicrucian Fellowship in 1946 and was influenced both by its mystical philosophy and by judo. In ...

Article

Midori Yamamura

(b Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefect., March 22, 1929).

Japanese painter, sculptor, poet, writer, printmaker, installation, and performance artist, active also in the USA.

Growing up under Japan’s World War II totalitarian regime, Kusama believed art could help her nurture a more humane worldview. She began taking private art lessons at the age of 13. Between 1952 and 1955, she had six solo exhibitions. In 1955 Kusama wrote to artists Kenneth Callahan and Georgia O’Keeffe in the United States and Callahan helped organize her first United States solo exhibition in Seattle (1957).

After Seattle, Kusama moved to New York in 1958, where she launched her career alongside the second generation Abstract Expressionists. In 1959 she developed a series of paintings called Infinity Nets; large horizontal works featuring obsessively repeated small arcs. At solo exhibitions in New York (1959, Brata Gallery; 1961, Stephen Radich Gallery), she only showed white, wall-sized works from the series. Appearing void from a distance, her huge paintings forced viewers to come closer, disallowing their objectification, while permitting each viewer an intimate experience. These works made a strong impression on the New York scene, with Frank Stella and a future Minimalist Donald Judd buying her works....

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 30 June 1936, in Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Painter, draughtsman, poet, sculptor, assemblage artist, installation artist, performance artist.

Neo-Dadaism, Visual Poetry.

Surrealist group.

At the age of 15, Jean-Jacques Lebel, whose father was an art specialist, was exchanging letters with André Breton and mixing with the Surrealists (he was later excluded, with Alain Jouffroy, in ...