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Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 15 November 1948, in Des Moines (Iowa).

Environmental artist, video artist, installation artist.

Dennis Adams lives and works in New York and Berlin. Adams' work focuses on the relationship between architecture and images taken from political literature. He creates architectural environments that act as frameworks for text, photographs and other images. These environments, which are either temporary or permanent, are public places. The series of ...

Article

Belgian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Mexico.

Born 1959, in Antwerp.

Painter, draughtsman, video artist, photographer, installation artist.

Francis Alÿs is of Belgian origin but has lived in Mexico since 1986. He trained as an architect at the Instituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice....

Article

Iizawa Kohtaro

(b Tokyo, May 25, 1940).

Japanese photographer. He graduated from the engineering department of Chiba University in 1963 and in the same year received the Taiyō prize for Satchin (Tokyo, 1964), a photographic series whose title was the pet name of a little girl. In 1971 he published the privately printed photographic collection Senchimentaru na tabi (‘Sentimental journey’; Tokyo, 1971) in which his own private life, in particular his wedding and honeymoon, was displayed in diary form. At first glance they seem to be naive records but in fact are staged. He also gave a performance in 1972 called the Super-Photo concert in which these photographs were reproduced on a photocopier, bound and sent, as a collection, by post. He later became very popular through photographs that skilfully anticipated public demand, accompanied by essays written in a risqué style. A prolific worker, he published many collections of essays and photographs, including Otoko to onna no aida ni wa shashinki ga aru...

Article

Elaine E. Sullivan

(b Lubumbashi, Dec 29, 1978).

Congolese photographer. Baloji’s photomontages explore themes of memory, architecture, and the environment. Such subjects are frequently treated through the use of archival photographs and watercolours, juxtaposed with contemporary photographs taken by the artist. By foregrounding archival images of labourers and overseers against contemporary urban and rural landscapes, Baloji’s work humanizes the colonial industrial history of his native Katanga province.

Sammy Baloji grew up in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where he attended the University of Lubumbashi and in 2005 received degrees in Information Sciences and Communication. While working as a cartoonist he borrowed a camera to photograph scenes to use as source material for his drawings. This sparked his interest in photography, which he began to study in the DRC. In 2005 he moved to France, where he continued to study photography as well as video at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg.

Baloji’s work explores the history of Katanga through photography of both the natural and built environment. The locations Baloji photographs display the colonial and industrial pasts that continue to inform present-day politics and everyday life. Abandoned factories remind the viewer of Katanga’s prosperous mining past, and photographs of recently burnt fields where colonial outposts once stood shed light on a post-colonial reality....

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Nigeria, 1963).

Nigerian photographer, film maker, installation artist and writer active in Scotland. He studied Chemical Engineering at Strathclyde University, Glasgow (1981–85), before completing an MA in Media, Fine Art, Theory and Practice at the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1996–8). Bamgboyé’s earliest work was photographic: The Lighthouse series (1989; see 1998 book, p. 65) initiated his interest in the representation of black masculinity by depicting his own naked body in often theatrical contortions, amid mundane domestic rooms; the frames of the photographs are attached to coat hangers, underlining the theme of domesticity and pointing to his interest in the changeable character of subjectivity. These themes were further explored in films, which he began to make in 1993: Spells for Beginners (1994; see 2000 exh. cat., p. 74) explores the breakdown of his long-term relationship with a woman through a broken mix of confessional dialogue and fleeting images of their home. The installation of which this film is a part takes the form of an ordinary living room and is typical of Bamgboyé’s technique of adumbrating his imagery with sculptural motifs that emphasize his themes. In other films he explored the issue of migration: ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in New York and Berlin.

Born 1949, in Columbus (Ohio).

Installation artist, sculptor, mixed media, video artist. Multimedia.

Judith Barry studied finance, architecture and art at the University of Florida, graduating in 1972. She received an MA in Communication Arts from New York Institute of Technology in ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1972.

Installation artist, video artist.

Julie Becker creates architectural interiors, such as Researchers, Residents, a Place to Rest of 1996. These models, which look like tiny cells, contain the possessions (such as furniture and diaries) of the various occupants (for example, the son of the psychopathic killer in Stanley Kubrick's film ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 29 October 1946, in New York.

Video artist, installation artist.

Dara Birnbaum studied at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, receiving a degree in architecture in 1969. She also obtained a degree in 1972 from the San Francisco Art Institute, and studied at the New School of Social Residence in New York in ...

Article

Spanish, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1962, in Barcelona.

Sculptor, video installation artist, photographer, scenographer.

Colomer studied art history at Universitat Autònoma, in Barcelona, and then studied architecture at Escola Tècnica Superior in Barcelona. He lives and works in Barcelona. He produces scenography for the theatre, notably for Valère Novarina's play ...

Article

Lauren O’Neill-Butler

(b Boston, MA, 1966).

American photographer and installation artist. Deschenes studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, where she was awarded a BFA in photography in 1988. Beginning in the 1990s, she exhibited widely across various continents. With a focus on materiality and site-specificity, her work examines light, perception, architecture, and photography. Yet often she worked without a camera, adopting a post-conceptual and post-minimal stance that walks a fine line between abstraction and representation. Instead of making straightforward photographs that depict a given past event or a vision of the world, Deschenes posed real-time questions about the philosophical potentials of the medium, stripping its apparatus bare while pushing at its traditional definitions and emphasizing the constantly changing nature of photography. For her Green Screen series (2001), Deschenes took a green screen—typically used as a special effects tool in film-making and television—as her subject, photographing and scanning these large-scale monochrome backdrops. In her ...

Article

German, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1957, in Zwickau.

Photographer.

Florschuetz studied architecture and became an assistant photographer. He lives and works in Berlin. He has participated in group exhibitions in Dresden, Berlin and Essen; he has held solo shows in Berlin, Essen and Paris (at the Galerie du Jour in ...

Article

Steven Skopik

(b Leipzig, Jan 15, 1955).

German photographer. Gursky is well known for his meticulously detailed, mural-sized photographs. His subjects range from landscape, to architecture, to miscellaneous cultural events and phenomena, but they share a preoccupation with large-scale human endeavours in the present day. Gursky’s work has been exhibited internationally at venues such as the Venice Biennale (1990 and 2004) and in major retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2001) and the Krefelder Kunstmuseen, Krefeld (2008). His photograph Rhein II, 1999, which sold for $4,338,500 in 2011, holds the distinction of being the most expensive photograph sold at auction to date.

Gursky studied photography and art at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf under the direction of Becher family. The conceptual and aesthetic programme of the (see Düsseldorf School) combined virtuosic technical craft with a visually understated documentary style (see Documentary photography). Like many of his contemporaries, who include Thomas Struth, Thomas Ruff, and Candida Höfer, Gursky recorded his subjects under conditions of flat, diffuse illumination; this approach maximizes dense description while eschewing overt emotionality or expressivity. When people are present in his pictures, they are usually framed at a mid- to far distance—anonymous crowds, rather than individuals, dominated by their physical surroundings. Such formal qualities, combined with imposing scale, contribute to a sense of spectacle in Gursky’s photographs that rests in tension with dispassionate survey. Compared to many of his Düsseldorf School colleagues, however, Gursky’s approach to content is less overtly systematic. Whereas, for instance, the typologies of the Bechers are rigorously consistent, focusing on numerous exemplars of a given category—gas tanks, windmills, warehouses, etc—Gursky’s photographs are relatively heterogeneous....

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

Sarah Urist Green

revised by Julia Detchon

(b Santiago, Chile, Feb 5, 1956).

Chilean architect, public interventionist, installation artist, photographer, and filmmaker, active in the USA. He first studied architecture at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, then filmmaking at the Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano de Cultura, Santiago, concluding in 1981. Throughout his career, Jaar’s works have taken many forms in order to address global themes of injustice and illuminate structures of power. In over fifty projects he termed “public interventions,” Jaar conducted extensive research around the world to create site-specific works that reflect political and social realities near and far from his sites of exhibition. He created works—in gallery spaces and in public, often engaging spectator involvement—that present images critically and confront the social and political interests they serve.

Jaar’s first public intervention was Studies on Happiness (1979–1981), a three-year series of performances and exhibitions in which he asked the question, “Are you happy?” of people in the streets of Santiago. Inspired by ...

Article

Daniela Mrázková

(b Ural’sk, Kazakhstan, Aug 4, 1946).

Russian photographer of Tatar origin. She graduated in aeronautical engineering at the Kazan’ Technical Institute in 1972 and became an engineer like her husband, who died in 1976 leaving her alone with a young child. Deciding to change her way of life completely, she left her secure profession and immersed herself in photography, in which she had dabbled as an amateur from about 1970, adopting a methodical approach. In 1980 the president of the Photographic Art Society of Lithuania, Antanas Sutkus (b 1938), invited her to work in the society. This contact with the Lithuanian photographic school, with its strongly expressed nationalist traditions, was very important for her in confirming her idea of the path she should follow. After one year she returned to live in Kazan’, where she earned a living working as a photojournalist and theatre photographer. Vladimir Syomin (b 1938), an agency photographer, with whom she lived briefly and who rebelled against the emptiness of the propaganda routine, was another significant influence. She became convinced that modern photography should reflect the true spiritual and social situation....

Article

Adam M. Thomas

(b Bronx, New York, Oct 29, 1927).

American painter and filmmaker. A bodybuilder, gymnast and budding photographer in high school, Leslie served in the United States Coast Guard in 1945–6. He studied briefly at the Art Students League and then at New York University on the GI Bill from 1947 to 1949. In the late 1940s and early 1950s Leslie emerged as an experimental filmmaker, creating such films as Directions: A Walk after the War Games (1946), and a preeminent second-generation Abstract Expressionist painter. Leslie developed a slashing, gestural style of painting in which splashes and free brushwork are set off against broad strips and rectangular patches of color, as evident in Pythoness (1959; Muncie, IN, Ball State U. Mus. A.). Based on the strength of his abstract paintings, critic Clement Greenberg included Leslie in the New Talent exhibition at the Kootz Gallery, New York, in 1950. Leslie was part of the seminal Ninth Street Show...

Article

Susan Snodgrass

(b Madrid, 1961).

Chicago-based American sculptor, photographer, video artist, installation artist of Spanish birth. 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 1992–1993. 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 career that includes collaborative modes of working, as well as individual works sited within the museum or gallery. For Manglano-Ovalle, culture encompassed 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

Deborah Cullen

[MoMA] (New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 by patrons Lillie P(lummer) Bliss, Cornelius J. Sullivan and Rockefeller family §(1) to establish an institution devoted to modern art. Over the next ten years the Museum moved three times and in 1939 settled in the Early Modern style building (1938–9) designed by Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone that it still occupies at 11 West 53 Street. Subsequent renovations and expansions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s by Philip Johnson, in 1984 by Cesar Pelli and in 2002–4 by Yoshirō Taniguchi (b 1937). MoMA QNS, the temporary headquarters during this project, was subsequently used to provide art storage. In 2000, MoMA and the contemporary art space, P.S.1, Long Island City, Queens, announced their affiliation. Recent projects are shown at P.S.1 in Queens in a renovated public school building.

According to founding director, Alfred H(amilton) Barr...

Article

German, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1953.

Performance artist, video artist, draughtsman. Multimedia.

Marcel Odenbach studied architecture and history of art. Since 1976, he has produced performances and video installations at numerous galleries in Hamburg, Wiesbaden, Bonn, Cologne, Amsterdam, Berlin, Antwerp, Munich, Basel, São Paulo, Los Angeles and Boston....