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Article

Mexican, 20th century, male.

Born 1936, in Mexico.

Artist. Multimedia.

Conceptual Art.

Alcaraz-Laus was noticed at the Biennale des Jeunes in Paris in 1971. Under the title Double 1, he presented an encounter between a dancer and that dancer's image, a conceptual production revolving around the theme of the body and its representation, one that was in favour at that time....

Article

Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy

American installation artists, active also in Puerto Rico. Jennifer Allora (b Philadelphia, Mar 20, 1974) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Richmond, Virginia (1996), and Guillermo Calzadilla (b Havana, Cuba, Jan 10, 1971) graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Escuela de Artes Plastica in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1996). Allora and Calzadilla met in Italy in 1995 during a study abroad program in Florence. They then lived together in San Juan for a year before moving to New York City where they started working collaboratively while each participated in different residency and study programs. In 1998–1999, Allora participated in the year-long Whitney Independent Study Program, while Calzadilla participated in the P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center National Studio Program.

Allora & Calzadilla’s first important international exhibition was the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo in 1998 curated by Paulo Herkenhoff, which investigated the idea of cultural cannibalism known in Brazilian literature as ...

Article

Francis Summers

revised by Martin R. Patrick

(b Antwerp, Aug 22, 1959).

Belgian-born interdisciplinary artist, active in Mexico. He studied architecture at the Institut d’Architecture de Tournai in Belgium (1978–83) and at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice (1983–6). Alÿs moved to Mexico in 1987 and his art practice initially concentrated on Mexico City as a laboratory of urban living, often documented in the form of evocative, conceptually layered photographs, sculptures, and videos. In the slide series Ambulantes (Pushing and Pulling) (1992–2002), Alÿs photographed street vendors and workers as they passed by carting a wide variety of goods within a ten-block vicinity of his studio. For his project entitled The Liar, The Copy of the Liar (1997) Alÿs created small images of suited men inspired by the commercial sign painters of Mexico City, and subsequently commissioned from them larger versions in their own styles. In this process Alÿs deferred authorship into a semantic chain. Hovering between the banal and the surreal, these works have an uncanny theme, of individuals observed in situations that defy explanation....

Article

Daniel Montero

(b Mexico City, 1970).

Mexican installation artist, video artist, and performance artist. Amorales studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, after attending Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (1996–1997), both in Amsterdam. He worked with images and signs of different types that when modified, combined, and recoded produce new images and meanings in turn. Based on pre-existing information and images he found on the Internet, Amorales created a particular way of working, more closely resembling that of a design studio than a traditional artist’s atelier. In his workspace and with a team of assistants, he proposed different ways of understanding the forms in which signs circulate and are appropriated, inquiring into notions of authorship, communication, and artistic media. From 1998 Amorales collected images from the Internet and converterted them into black, white, and red vectors. This collection is now known as the Liquid Archive. With these images, he produced several artworks in which multiplicity, repetition, and juxtaposition are constant. For example, in the video ...

Article

Klaus Ottmann

American performance artist and sculptor. Antoni studied sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. Antoni drew attention to herself in 1993 during a performance (Loving Care) at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery in London where, dressed in a black catsuit, she dipped her long hair repeatedly into a bucket filled with hair dye, and using her hair as a paint brush, mopped the gallery floor on her hands and knees. Her performance was reminiscent of Yves Klein’s 1960s ...

Article

Cruz Barceló Cedeño

(b Maracaibo, Feb 4, 1945).

Venezuelan painter and performance artist. He studied painting at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas in Maracaibo and at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas in Caracas. In 1970, after holding several one-man shows at the Galería Polo y Bot in Caracas, he moved to England to study at the London College of Printing. In London and Paris he performed his ...

Article

Angel Kalenberg

(Pérez )

(b Montevideo, Jan 7, 1890; d Montevideo, Feb 12, 1929).

Uruguayan painter and stage designer. He was encouraged to pursue his interest in art by his father, the Spanish painter Antonio Pérez Barradas (1862–99), and appears to have been taught drawing by the Spanish artist Vicente Casanova y Ramos (1870–1920). He became involved with the bohemian intellectual life of Montevideo while exhibiting his drawings and working as an illustrator for newspapers and magazines such as La Semana, Bohemia, El Tiempo, La Razón and Ultima hora in Montevideo and Buenos Aires. In 1913 he founded the publication El Monigote.

At the end of 1914 Barradas settled in Spain, where he began to produce work influenced by the Italian avant-garde art he had seen on his travels through Europe, introducing the avant-garde in Spain. In response to Futurism he painted pictures such as Apartment House (1919), Everything on 65 (1919) and Vibrationist (1918...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Pergamino, Buenos Aires, Sept 22, 1894; d Buenos Aires, Feb 21, 1976).

Argentine painter, stage designer and illustrator. He studied drawing in Buenos Aires under the Italian painter Augusto Bolognini (b 1870) and at the Academia Nacional before moving in 1923 to Paris, where he worked in Charles Guérin’s studio and at the Académie Colarossi. He also studied in the studios of André Lhote and Othon Friesz and became associated with other Argentine artists based in Paris. Like others of his generation and nationality, he sought in the 1920s to escape from pictorial provincialism by rejecting academic norms, as in Still-life (1926; Rosario, Mus. Mun. B.A.). He learnt how to paint while living in France and developed a range of imagery typical of Argentine art without showing any great originality.

More than any other painter, Basaldúa depicted life in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, concentrating humorously and without sentimentality on the wide boys, dance-hall girls, loose women and handsome, dangerous men of the tango in such pictures as the ...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Torroella de Montgri, Catalonia, March 3, 1911; d Buenos Aires, Oct 8, 1966).

Argentine painter, printmaker, illustrator, sculptor and stage designer of Spanish Catalan birth. He arrived in Buenos Aires in 1913. Although his uncle, José Planas Casas (b Catalonia, 1900; d Argentina, 1960), taught him the rudiments of art, he was basically self-taught and began to exhibit his work in 1934. Synthesizing ideas from Zen philosophy, psychoanalysis and the theories on cosmic energy espoused by the Austrian psychologist Wilhelm Reich with his interests in automatism, poetry and painting, he found a creative sense of direction from an early age. He applied his methods not only to paintings but to stage designs, illustrations, collages, prints, polychrome sculptures and boxlike constructions; as a painter he worked both in tempera and in oil, and he also produced 72 murals.

In 1936 Batlle Planas inaugurated a Surrealist phase with a series entitled Paranoiac X-rays, followed by another group of pictures, Tibetan Series, populated by spectral figures related to works by Yves Tanguy. Between ...

Article

Dolores M. Yonker

(b Port-au-Prince, Nov 1, 1911; d Port-au-Prince, Oct 29, 1986).

Haitian painter. A painter of particularly lyrical gifts, he entered the Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince as the driver of its jeep, having earlier exercised his talents as a musician and painter of china. He was so shy about his first efforts at panel painting that he attributed them to a friend. He admired Hector Hippolyte’s art while he was courting his daughter, whom he later married. His genre pictures, although anecdotal, are tinged with a subtle mystery. From the beginning, his work was meticulously executed. His polished surfaces, often obtained by repeated overpainting, are reminiscent of medieval manuscript illuminations. Details of faces, hands, and feet are delicate but expressive and individualistic. Scenes of everyday events or of Vodoun ceremonies are usually situated in an architectural framework, giving scope to his fascination with perspective. His paintings of Vodoun scenes incorporate the mystical appearances of the spirits in wildly imaginative forms. In ...

Article

Roberto Pontual

(b Guadalajara, 1852; d Rio de Janeiro, 1931).

Brazilian sculptor. The son of Italian musicians, he spent his childhood in Mexico and Chile before coming to Brazil with his family. In 1870 he was already enrolled in the course on statuary sculpture in the Academia Imperial das Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro, from where he was awarded a trip to Europe in 1876. He remained abroad until 1885, living briefly in Paris from 1878 to 1879 but staying mainly in Rome, where he finished his studies with Achille Monteverdi. During that time he executed one of his best-known works, the marble Christ and the Adulteress (1884; Rio de Janeiro, Mus. N. B.A.), which bears witness to the persistence in Brazil of a Neo-classically based naturalism throughout the 19th century and beyond. He taught in the Academia Imperial, and when this was renamed the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes with the establishment of the Republic, he became its director from ...

Article

Isobel Whitelegg

(b Havana, 1968).

Cuban installation and performance artist, active also in the USA. In Havana Bruguera attended the Escuela de Artes Plasticas San Alejandro (1983–7) and completed her first degree at the Instituto Superior de Arte (1987–92). Bruguera is part of a generation of artists who emerged during Cuba’s ‘special period’ (1989–94), the period of extreme economic hardship brought about by the country’s sudden isolation from trade and aid following the collapse of the Soviet Bloc. In 1993 and 1994 she published two issues of an underground newspaper entitled Memoria de la postguerra (‘Memory of the Post-war Era’), containing texts by Cuban artists, both those still in Cuba and those in exile. The paper displayed an interest in the affective power of information as it is circulated and withheld, a common theme of her later work.

Bruguera’s use of performance from the mid-1990s onwards brought her work to wider critical attention. In an early piece, ...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Buenos Aires, Aug 28, 1897; d Buenos Aires, March 17, 1983).

Argentine painter, tapestry designer and stage designer. From 1922 to 1933 he lived in Europe, where he studied first in Germany at the artistic colony in Worpswede and then in Paris under André Lhote and Othon Friesz. He was untouched by the violence of German Expressionism, but he assimilated various influences in France, structuring forms in the manner of Cézanne, and combining these with the audacious colouring of Fauvism and the strict sense of order in Cubism, as in The Siesta (1926; Buenos Aires, Mus. N. B.A.)

On his return to Argentina, Butler applied these European influences to lyrical landscapes of the islands in the Parana Delta of the Tigre region near Buenos Aires, selecting unusual scenes into which he incorporated childhood reminiscences in the figures. Using arabesques to link nature and people in his essentially flat pictures, he projected himself on to the scenery of which he was so fond in pictures such as the ...

Article

Cabelo  

Brazilian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1967, in Cachoeiro do Itapemirim.

Painter, performance artist.

Cabelo lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. He paints abstract motifs of primitive appearance on clothing and fabric laid out on the ground or hanging on walls. He assembles drawings on a canvas set up like a tent and containing fabric dolls connected by strings. He also makes videos in which semi-human, worm-like figures appear crawling through the streets of Rio, feeding on the eyes of fishes and ending up at a rock concert where satanic verses are chanted....

Article

Isobel Whitelegg

(b La Vega, Mantanzas, 1959).

Cuban painter, photographer, installation and performance artist, active also in the USA. Campos-Pons studied at the Higher Institute of Art, Havana (1980–85). Initially a painter, her graduation show Acoplamientos (1985; Havana, HIA) was concerned with representations of the female body as a device for prohibition and control, and her early work focused on the role of women in society and their representation within the history of art. In 1988 she went to the USA as a visiting artist at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, and in 1991 she settled permanently in Boston. Using shaped canvases, her first works displayed an interest in the interrelationship between painting and three-dimensional media. While living in the USA she also expanded her interest in sculpture and installation to include elements of video and performance.

Living abroad also brought her relationship to Cuba into sharper relief; work produced in the early 1990s addressed her own displacement in relation to the enforced migration of her ancestors as slaves, and the way in which an imagined Africa is collectively created in contemporary Cuba by story-telling, the cultivation of traditional medicinal plants and the practice of the Afro-Caribbean Santería religion. Using performance and video as a form of self-portraiture, another aspect of her practice focuses on her attempt to build a coherent identity as an Afro-Cuban woman living in the USA. With the aim of achieving simultaneity between performance and its immediate capture in the production of an unalterable image, her self-portraits employ large-format colour Polaroid photography, as in the diptych ...

Article

Leonor Morales

(b Mexico City, Nov 2, 1930; d Mexico City, Jun 6, 1974).

Mexican painter and stage designer. She studied at the Escuela de Pintura y Escultura “La Esmeralda” in Mexico City and later in Paris at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. One of the pioneers of Art informel in Mexico, like her husband, Manuel Felguérez (whom she married in 1960), she formed part of a group of young painters who rebelled against the Mexican art establishment in the 1950s. Exhibiting her work widely during the 1960s, she aroused controversy by winning second prize with an abstract work at the Salón Esso (1965; Mexico City, Pal. B.A.). In 1968 she also helped set up the Salón Independiente as a protest against the government-subsidized Salón Solar on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Mexico City. She made several murals, but her most important works were her abstract easel paintings, displaying a fine use of color. In the 1960s she also worked as a stage designer....

Article

Denise Carvalho

(b Belo Horizonte, Oct 23, 1920; d Rio de Janeiro, April 25, 1988).

Brazilian painter, sculptor, interactive artist and art therapist. She was a cofounder in 1959 of the Neo-Concrete movement, whose members laid the foundation for much of Brazilian contemporary art. The Neo-Concretists broke with the rigidity of the rationalism of Concrete art and advocated a more sensorial, interactive art. Lygia Clark and her creative soul-mate, Hélio Oiticica, created participatory works that challenged not only longstanding artistic dogmas, but also the role of the art object itself, as well as the role of the artist, the spectator, and the art institution. Their most groundbreaking works required the viewer to be part of the artwork and thereby experience it sensorially, all of which made their work difficult to categorize. Clark came to see even her exhibitions at major art events as meaningless, and her emphasis on person-to-person dialogue eventually led her into art therapy. Without a therapeutic license, she devoted her last decades solely to treating patients with her own form of art therapy....

Article

Margarita González Arredondo

(b Mexico City, June 10, 1940).

Mexican painter, sculptor, illustrator and stage designer. He was self-taught when he took up painting in 1956 with the encouragement of Diego Rivera, but from 1956 to 1960 he studied graphic design with Gordon Jones. During those years he worked in an Abstract Expressionist manner, although he soon incorporated figurative elements and, from c. 1963, elements of fantasy. In 1967 he went to Paris on a French government grant. In the following year he was a founder-member of the Salón Independiente, where he began to exhibit acrylic sculptures of the female torso. These were followed between 1974 and 1976 by a series entitled Mutations, in which he explored the possibilities of the cube and which opened the way to later sculptures and paintings in which geometry is balanced with sensuality. Venus and Mars (Mexico City, U. N. Autónoma) is one of the best of his public sculptures. He also worked as a stage designer, for example on a production in ...

Article

Chilean, 20th century, female.

Performance artist, sculptor.

Valentina Cruz is famous for having symbolically set fire to her paper sculptures in front of the Santiago Museum.

Article

Paul Foss

(b Santiago, Oct 6, 1946).

Australian painter and performance artist of Chilean birth. He studied law and fine arts at the University of Chile. Following the coup of 1973, he arrived in Melbourne as a tourist after meeting an Australian in Buenos Aires, and later took up residence. He exhibited widely in Australia, Europe, and South America, returning frequently to Chile, which, thematically and politically, remained a focus for his art. He worked primarily with the quotation of cultural ephemera (e.g. newspaper photographs, advertisements, etc.). Originally noted for his adaptations of Pop art in an effort to rewrite the international history of painting from a provincial or Third World perspective, he increasingly developed a hybrid pictorial language that refused the strict confines of Modernism or Postmodernism, seen, for example, in Fable of Australian Painting (1982–1983; U. Sydney, Power Gal. Contemp. A.). His art deals with fragments, attempting to present a utopia of narrative from another place and time. In canvases such as ...