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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

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

revised by Margaret Barlow

(b Harrisburg, PA, Nov 20, 1946).

American sculptor, draughtswoman, and installation and environmental artist. She studied liberal arts at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (1964–8), and obtained an MA in studio art at Hunter College, City University of New York (1968–71), where she worked under Robert Morris and became familiar with systems theory. From the 1960s Aycock developed phenomenologically site-orientated works to include metaphor and simile, referring to machinery and construction sites, archaeological sites, models, children’s play areas and funfairs, and other public or social settings. For example in A Simple Network of Underground Wells and Tunnels (1975) six concrete wells (1.62 sq. m) with connecting tunnels were sunk into an area of ground c. 6.1×12.2 m at Merriewold West, Far Hills, NJ (destr.). The curious sense of authority within her sophisticated, well-made structures is simultaneously articulated and undermined by a nonsensical, non-functional, and fantastical element. Her works are often a synthesis of diverse elements. The imagery of the ...

Article

Mary M. Tinti

(b Houston, TX, 1951).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual artist. His multimedia works investigate the pathology of contemporary culture. Mel Chin was born and raised in Houston, Texas to parents of Chinese birth and received his BA in 1975 from the Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. The works in Chin’s oeuvre are diverse in both medium and subject, but a consistent undercurrent of social, political, and environmental responsibility runs throughout. Whether a sculpture, film, video game, installation, public project or earthwork, Chin’s artworks consistently targeted a broad spectrum of pressing cultural and ecological interests and spread their message in subtle, if not viral ways.

In the 1980s, Chin produced a number of sculptures that set the stage for his ever-evocative artistic journey. The Extraction of Plenty from What Remains: 1823 (1988–9) is a frequently referenced piece from this period. It is a symbolic encapsulation of the effects of the Monroe Doctrine, referencing the complicated dealings between the US (represented by truncated replicas of White House columns) and Central America (represented by a cornucopia of mahogany branches, woven banana-tree fiber, and a surface layer of hardened blood, mud, and coffee grinds). From the 1990s, however, Chin moved away from strictly gallery-based installations and began creating works that directly engaged contemporary culture in a variety of physical and theoretical landscapes....

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

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

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1942, in Baltimore (Maryland); died 27 April 2013.

Sculptor, environmental artist.

Jene Highstein studied at the University of Maryland, receiving a BA in 1963, at the University of Chicago (1963-1965), the New York Studio School (1965-1966...

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

Margaret Barlow

(b Gallipolis, OH, July 29, 1950).

American installation and conceptual artist. Her studies included general art courses at Duke University, Durham, NC (1968–70), and then painting, printmaking, and drawing at the University of Chicago before completing her BFA at Ohio University, Athens (1972). In 1974 she took summer courses at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, entering its MFA programme in 1975 and beginning her first work with language, installation, and public art. Holzer moved to New York in 1977. Her first public works, Truisms (1977–9), appeared in the form of anonymous broadsheets pasted on buildings, walls, and fences in and around Manhattan. Commercially printed in cool, bold italics, numerous one-line statements such as ‘Abuse of power comes as no surprise’ and ‘There is a fine line between information and propaganda’, were meant to be provocative and elicit public debate. Thereafter Holzer used language and the mechanics of late 20th-century communications as an assault on established notions of where art should be shown, with what intention and for whom (e.g. ...

Article

Joan Marter

(b New York, Sept 8, 1940).

American environmental artist. Johanson is known for art projects created in the natural landscape that solve environmental problems. She is considered a pioneer in ecological art and has made permanent installations in gardens and parks in the United States and abroad. Johanson was born in New York City, where she was a frequent visitor to parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. She graduated from Bennington College where she studied with sculptor Tony Smith. While at Bennington (1958–62) she also met artists Kenneth Noland, David Smith, Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline and Philip Guston. In 1964 Johanson completed a master’s degree in art history at Hunter College.

A publishing project offered her the opportunity to catalogue the art of Georgia O’Keeffe, who became her mentor. Johanson’s paintings from the 1960s were Minimalist, as she explored the optical effects of colors. In 1966 she began producing large-scale sculpture, also Minimalist in style. ...

Article

American, 20th–21st century, female.

Active in New York and Colorado.

Born October 1959, in Athens (Ohio).

Sculptor, landscape artist, architect.

Environmental Art, Land Art.

Maya Lin studied architecture at Yale University, obtaining a BA in 1981 and an MA in 1986. In 1987, Yale awarded her an honorary doctorate in fine arts. She taught in the Yale art history department, the school of landscape design at Harvard University, and the Phillips Exeter Academy. She also worked as a design consultant and an architectural designer....

Article

Susan Snodgrass

(b Madrid, Spain, 1961).

Chicago-based American sculptor also working in photography, video and installation. He received a BA in art and art history and a BA in Latin American and Spanish literature from Williams College in 1983. In 1989 he earned a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Manglano-Ovalle’s hybrid practice emerged with Tele-vecindario: A Street-Level Video Block Party, a public art project created for Culture in Action, a community-based art program in Chicago in 1992–3. Working with Latino youth in Chicago’s West Town community, an area often challenged by substandard housing, drugs and gang violence, the artist facilitated a multimedia portrait of their lives in which these youth constructed their own images and concept of self. Issues of identity, community and migration, as they relate to both cultural and geographic borders, have been explored throughout his prestigious career that includes collaborative modes of working, as well as individual works sited within the museum or gallery. For Manglano-Ovalle, culture encompasses a broad network of systems—artistic, political, environmental, scientific—in constant dialogue, negotiated by both artist and viewer....

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

(b New York, May 27, 1944).

American sculptor, draughtsman, film maker, and environmental artist. As a child she was taken by her father on many visits to early forts, Native American sites, and abandoned mines. In Stuttgart with her family she saw the remains of demolished buildings as well as medieval towns and castle ruins, which left a strong impression. She studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara (BA, 1966), and at the Rhine Art School of Sculpture, Maryland Art Institute, Baltimore (MFA, 1968). On a summer sculpture course at Colorado College, Colorado Springs (1963), she became aware of the work of John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, and Robert Morris, and of ideas initiated by contemporary Minimalist sculptors and land artists. Her early landscape works dealt primarily with the measurement of distances in relation to a specific location in a temporal work: for example, Untitled (wood, 12×6 ft [3.66×1.83 m] sections at 50 ft [15.25 m] intervals, ...

Article

Michelle Yun

(b Wichita, KS, 1952).

American sculptor. Otterness moved to New York in 1970 to study at the Art Students League. He participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program in 1973 and in 1977 he joined the New York based Collaborative Projects (Colab) as a founding member. Otterness is best known for his playful, figurative cast bronze sculptures and his belief that art gains value through public engagement. Between 1978–82 he created a series of cast Hydrocal (fiberglass and concrete) figures inspired by the statuettes found in Latin American botánicas (stores selling folk medicine, perfumes and religious statuettes, rosaries and candles). These diminutive spoofs on historic monuments were set on marble bases and inexpensively sold as “hand-produced collector’s items.” Continuing on this populist track, in 1982 he built a modular plaster frieze in the form of cornice molding that was sold by the foot. These early works serve as important precursors for the artist’s longstanding commitment to public art. In ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Minneapolis, MN, 1960).

American sculptor and installation artist. After studying at the University of Wisconsin (BFA, 1983) and the University of Chicago (MFA, 1986), Peterman worked as a sorter and shifter for the Resource Center, a Chicago-based recycling company. In 1994 he bought the building that had been vacated by the company and developed it as a centre for diverse community art projects, based on the idea of ecologically sustainable production processes. After the building was seriously damaged by fire in April 2001, it was renamed the Experimental Station and plans for rebuilding began. Peterman’s involvement with the centre formed the background to his interest in production cycles and the problems of over-consumption and waste generation. The early project Chicago Compost Shelter (1988), in which an old Volkswagen bus was renovated and then half-buried in active compost that produced heat as it decomposed, the whole serving as a shelter during the cold winter months, showed Peterman’s concerns with producing socially useful works of art. Such activities relate to Joseph Beuys’s belief that art could provide the solution to social and ecological problems, although the symbolic and aesthetic values that Beuys used to promote a utopian vision are transformed into entirely pragmatic values by Peterman, who rejected Beuys’s mandarin attitude. This concern with functional rather than solely symbolic intervention is demonstrated by public art projects such as ...

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

Jeremy Hunt and Jonathan Vickery

At the turn of the millennium, public art was an established global art genre with its own professional and critical discourse, as well as constituencies of interest and patronage independent of mainstream contemporary art. Art criticism has been prodigious regarding public art’s role in the ‘beautification’ of otherwise neglected social space or in influencing urban development. Diversity and differentiation are increasingly the hallmarks of public art worldwide, emerging from city branding strategies and destination marketing as well as from artist activism and international art events and festivals. The first decade of the 21st century demonstrated the vast opportunity for creative and critical ‘engagement’, activism, social dialogue, and cultural co-creation and collective participation. New public art forms emerged, seen in digital and internet media, pop-up shops, and temporary open-access studios, street performance, and urban activism, as well as architectural collaborations in landscape, environment or urban design.

Intellectually, the roots of contemporary public art can be found in the ludic and the architectonic: in the playful public interventions epitomized in the 1960s by the ...

Article

Harriet F. Senie

Objects created to remind viewers of specific individuals or events (see also Public monument). At its inception, the United States faced fundamental questions of what the new nation should commemorate and what forms would be appropriate for its new form of government: democracy. Primary subjects were presidents as well as military leaders and wars that functioned as expressions of national values. Often realized long after their subject had died or ended, monuments frequently reflected the time in which they were actually built. As societal values changed, so did the form and emphasis of monuments.

National memorials to the most influential presidents, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt include an obelisk, a sculpture housed in a temple and a large complex defined by a series of outdoor spaces dedicated to key aspects of a presidency.

Initially there were no American sculptors capable of realizing a monumental project to George Washington (...

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 (...