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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

Deborah Cullen

(Henry) [Spinky]

(b Charlotte, NC, Nov 29, 1907; d April 27, 1977).

African American painter, sculptor, graphic artist, muralist and educator. In 1913, Charles Alston’s family relocated from North Carolina to New York where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School. In 1929, he attended Columbia College and then Teachers College at Columbia University, where he obtained his MFA in 1931. Alston’s art career began while he was a student, creating illustrations for Opportunity magazine and album covers for jazz musician Duke Ellington.

Alston was a groundbreaking educator and mentor. He directed the Harlem Arts Workshop and then initiated the influential space known simply as “306,” which ran from 1934 to 1938. He taught at the Works Progress Administration’s Harlem Community Art Center and was supervisor of the Harlem Hospital Center murals, leading 35 artists as the first African American project supervisor of the Federal Art Project. His two murals reveal the influence of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886–1957). His artwork ranged from the comic to the abstract, while often including references to African art. During World War II, he worked at the Office of War Information and Public Information, creating cartoons and posters to mobilize the black community in the war effort....

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 20 November 1946, in Harrisburg (Pennsylvania).

Sculptor, draughtswoman, multimedia artist.

Land Art.

Alice Aycock studied at Rutgers University (Douglass College), New Brunswick, NJ, receiving a BA in 1968, when she moved to New York. She obtained an MA from Hunter College in ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1 October 1935, in Albany (California); died 25 July 2013, in Los Angeles.

Sculptor, draughtsman.

Minimal Art, Land Art.

Walter De Maria studied the history of art at the University of Berkeley, and earned his MFA in 1959. His work cannot be neatly categorized within a single movement, but rather reaches across boundaries and includes Conceptual, Land, Installation, and Minimal Art. He initially participated in the Minimalist movement, of which he was one of the leaders with Robert Morris, Carl Andre, and Donald Judd, reducing his sculptures to simple geometric shapes and strategically engaging the use of gallery space in the interpretation of his works. In ...

Article

American, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1944, in New York.

Sculptor, draughtsman, photographer, painter, installation.

Land Art, Environmental Art.

Richard Fleischner graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in 1966 and an MFA in 1968, both degrees focusing on sculpture. During the 1970s and 1980s, Fleischner became a leading figure in environmental art....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1 June 1937, in Nashville (Tennessee).

Painter, sculptor, draughtsman, performance artist, environmental artist, installation artist, film maker.

Neo-Dadaism, Pop Art.

Born Charles Rogers Grooms, the red-headed Red Grooms studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1955...

Article

American, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1944, in Berkeley, California.

Painter, draughtsman, sculptor.

Land Art, Minimalism.

The son of an anthropologist and an archaeologist, Michael Heizer trained at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1962 to 1963. By 1965 he had relocated to New York. His earliest works were Minimalist paintings that often explored the interplay of negative and positive space, such as ...

Article

Deborah A. Middleton

(b Berkeley, CA, Nov 4, 1944).

American sculptor, painter, and printmaker. Heizer’s earthworks erected in the vast desert expanses of the American Midwest marked the beginning of the Heizer, Michael movement of the 1960s and liberated art from the confines of the art gallery. Heizer’s early experience and exposure to desert landscapes and Native American culture was influenced by his father Robert Heizer, an important American archaeologist, and his maternal grandfather Olaf P. Jenkins, who was an important early American geologist. He attended the San Francisco Art Institute (1963–4) to study painting and moved to New York (1966). In 1967 Heizer left New York to return to the American Midwest with colleague Walter De Maria, and began artistic collaborations with James Turrell and Robert Smithson to explore the making of land art.

Heizer’s early paintings explored the interaction of two-dimensional and three-dimensional geometric forms influenced by the Abstract Expressionists of the late 1940s and 1950s. By ...

Article

Kristina Van Kirk

(b Long Beach, CA, Sept 12, 1928).

American painter and sculptor. He studied at the Otis Art Institute (1948–50) and at the new and progressive Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles (1952–4), where he adopted an Abstract Expressionist painting style. Through his association with the Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles (1959–66), he came into contact with such artists as Ed Moses (b 1926) and Billy Al Bengston. Irwin disdained his early paintings for their lack of ‘potency’. In the early 1960s he began a continuous series of experiments. He broke with figuration, searching like Minimalist artists for a way to make the work of art autonomous in content, that is representing nothing but itself, as in the Disc series that he began in 1966 (exh. 1968, Pasadena, CA, Norton Simon Mus. A.). Designed to exacting dimensions, colour tones, and lighting criteria, the Discs appeared suspended, free from the wall and comprising an uncertain mass that dematerialized into its environment....

Article

American, 20th century, female.

Active in Italy from 1951.

Born 20 December 1924, in Brooklyn (New York City).

Sculptor, painter.

Minimal Art, Earth Art Movement.

Beverly Pepper began working as a commercial art director in New York City, then studied advertising design, photography and industrial design at the Pratt Institute and attended the Art Students League in New York. She also attended night classes at Brooklyn College, where she studied art theory under Gyorgy Kepes, who introduced her to the work of Laszló Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray. She studied painting at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, in Paris, and worked under Fernand Léger and André Lhote. During travels in Japan and Cambodia she was influenced by Japanese Haniwa funerary statues and Khmer statuary. Pepper moved to Italy in ...

Article

Native American (Warm Springs, Wasco and Yakima), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1943, in Oregon.

Ceramicist, glass artist, mask-maker, jewellery artist, printmaker, sculptor. Public art.

‘Giving voice to my ancestors’ is a central concern of the Pacific Northwest and Oregon-based artist Lillian Pitt. Much of the work she creates in a variety of media (ceramics, glass, bronze, and other materials) contains a strong awareness of the deep histories of her peoples and their 12,000-year existence in the Columbia River Basin in Oregon. Born and raised at Warm Springs Indian Reservation near Madras, Oregon, she directly descends from the three tribal peoples based there after a historic treaty removed them from their homelands along the Columbia River....

Article

Suzaan Boettger

(b Passaic, NJ, Jan 2, 1938; d Amarillo, TX, July 20, 1973).

American sculptor, painter, and writer. In his brief professional life Robert Smithson originated a new genre, Earthworks, which led to ensuing forms of Land art and equally influentially, wrote pungent essays. As Andy Warhol exemplifies the United States’ expansive, driven commercial optimism of the early 1960s, Smithson’s oeuvre makes him the icon of the abject Post-minimalist, anti-Establishment, Vietnam War era of the late 1960s through early 1970s.

As with most sculptors of the time, Smithson trained as a painter, beginning at the Art Students League in New York City while a junior at Clifton High School, New Jersey, and after his 1956 graduation, continuing at the League and briefly at the Brooklyn Museum School. Following a year in the Army Reserves and hitchhiking trips around the United States, he resided in Manhattan. Eschewing college, Smithson’s début solo show was at the Artist’s Gallery, Manhattan, in 1959. Smithson and Nancy Holt, who attended Clifton High concurrently, met in ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 26 March 1946, in New York.

Painter (mixed media), sculptor. Landscapes. Multimedia.

Environmental Art.

Alan Sonfist studied at the Art Students League, New York (1963); the Pratt Institute (1965-1966); Western Illinois University (BA, 1967); Hunter College (...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 2 November 1933, in Brooklyn (New York City); died 1988.

Sculptor, painter, environmental artist.

Having studied at the Art Students League of New York and Columbia University, Paul Thek went to Rome in 1962, then returned to New York.

As a creator of processes, unfinished constructions, shelters and ensembles, with his sand paths, pyramids, volcanoes and dinosaurs, he appeals to an entire symbolism that is often esoteric, with overtones that are simultaneously religious and mythological, psychoanalytic, sexual, fantastical and romantic. It was ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 4 October 1941, in Waco (Texas).

Painter, pastellist, draughtsman, engraver, sculptor, environmental artist.

Bob Wilson studied architecture at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn before becoming involved in theatre productions. In 1964, he studied painting under George MacNeill in Paris. He worked with the visionary architect Paolo Soleri in Phoenix Arizona before giving in to his love of the theatre and dance. The dancer Byrd Hoffman had helped him overcome a speech disability, firing Wilson's interest in his discipline, as well as a commitment to people with learning disability. ...