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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

Anne K. Swartz

(Francisca )

(b East Los Angeles, CA, Sept 20, 1946).

American muralist, activist and teacher. Born to Mexican–American parents, Baca is recognized as one of the leading muralists in the USA. She was involved from a young age in activism, including the Chicano Movement, the antiwar protest and Women’s Liberation. She studied art at California State University, Northridge, where she received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Baca started teaching art in 1970 in East Los Angeles for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and became interested in the ways murals could involve youth, allowing them to express their experiences. She founded the City of Los Angeles Mural Program in 1974, which evolved into the Social and Public Resource Center, a community arts organization, where she served as artistic director. She held five summer mural workshops from 1976 through 1983 for teenagers and community artists to help her paint a huge mural on the ethnic history of Los Angeles, called the ...

Article

Banksy  

Elizabeth K. Mix

(b Bristol, ?1974).

English graffiti and interventionist artist. Banksy is best known for stencilled graffiti that sometimes mimics government posts. His graffiti, both freehand and stencil, started appearing on trains and walls around Bristol in 1992–4. He apparently left Bristol for London late in 1999. The name ‘Banksy’ became formally associated with his work with the publication of his first book, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall (2001).

Banksy’s text-based graffiti has included the phrase, ‘caution, concealed trap doors in operation’, on London’s Millennium Bridge; ‘designated riot area’ in Trafalgar Square, and ‘this is not a not a photo opportunity’ at various tourist sites including Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and the Sydney Opera House. Many were fooled by his official-looking stencilled declaration that walls on Marylebone and Bayswater Roads in Westminster were ‘a designated graffiti area’. Other works contained unusual appropriations of public property—vandalized street signs, traffic cones, telephone booths, vehicles, and even farm animals. Banksy has termed his appropriation and manipulation of public advertisements ‘Brandalism’. A subtle use of found objects involves the painting of frames or dotted lines and scissors around the edges of objects, making the outlined objects appear to be either artworks or coupons ready to be clipped. In addition, Banksy has mimicked British pound notes (‘Banksy notes’ featuring Princess Diana) and oil paintings by William Bouguereau and Claude Monet, among other artists, by inserting incongruous objects (bombs, iPods, shopping trolleys) into copies of well-known paintings in a series of ‘Vandalized Oil Paintings’....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1942, in Boston (Massachusetts).

Painter, draughtsman, environmental artist. Multimedia.

Bad Painting, New Image (related to).

Jonathan Borofsky studied at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and at Yale School of Art. He taught at the New York School of Visual Arts from 1969 to 1977 and went on to teach at the Valencia Institute of Art, California. At the start of his artistic career, in the late 1960s, Borofsky would count obsessively, writing numbers from one upwards in his notebook and drawing in between the numbers when ideas struck him. He then produced paintings based on these drawings, which he signed with the number he had reached when the painting was finished. In the early 1970s, his work drew on his own dreams for inspiration: he would keep records of his dreams and spontaneous drawings and produce paintings based on that. Much of his work is related to these themes of time and his own experience: in ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1920, in Washington; died 1985.

Painter, environmental artist.

Minimal Art.

Gene Davis studied at the University of Maryland from 1939 to 1942 and at the Wilson Teachers' College in Washington in 1943. He initially worked as a political journalist before teaching himself to paint. He took part in many group exhibitions, notably: 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 century, female.

Born 1938, in Budapest, Hungary.

Draughtswoman (ink).

Conceptual Art, Environmental Art.

Agnes Denes started out as a painter, but abandoned this in 1968 in favour of what she described as a 'new visual, personal language'. She is one of the originators of Conceptual art, and a pioneer of environmental art, dealing with ecological, cultural and social issues in her work. In her images, geometric structures rigorously elaborated in ink on graph paper, she conceives reality as a structure incapable of being seized in its totality. She delivers a theoretical, mathematical and scientific reflection, a concept 'that dictates the method of representation' inspired by universal history. She has written several theoretical essays....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 14 November 1888; died 1950.

Painter.

William Eastman was winner of the Penton Medal at Cleveland Museum of Art in 1919. A member of the Cleveland Society of Artists and Cleveland Art Association. He was also a writing master.

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, 19th century, male.

Born 1860.

Painter.

Frederick Clark Gottwald was a pupil at the New York Art League and taught at the royal academy in Munich. He was a member of the Cleveland Art Society.

Los Angeles, 17 March 1980: Rothenburg (oil on canvas...

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

Courtney Gerber

(b Greenville, MI, Aug 6, 1945).

American painter and installation artist. She studied first at the Memphis Academy of Art (1965), then at the University of the Americas, Mexico City (1966–7) and finally at the St Martin’s School of Art, London (1968–9). She had her first solo exhibition in 1977 at the Holly Solomon Gallery in New York. Jaudon completed numerous permanent public art commissions and her paintings are represented in collections throughout the USA and Europe. In the 1970s Jaudon was linked most closely to the pattern and decoration movement (P&D). Her participation in this movement demonstrated her engagement with issues that were also understood as being at the core of the contemporaneous feminist art movement: disrupting the modernist definition of fine art as non-decorative, strictly formal, and, generally, produced by white men from Western cultures. In the painting Bellefontaine (1976; see 1996 exh. cat., p. 52), Jaudon fused modernism’s geometric abstraction with the interlacing curves and angles found in Islamic or Celtic ornamentation from the Middle Ages. She consciously takes care that the Western idiom of abstract painting does not overpower the non-Western decorative motifs, so that they coexist in a cross-cultural, non-hierarchical collaboration....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Active from 1953 also active in France.

Born 12 July 1923, in Kansas City (Missouri). Died 9 June 2012, in New York City.

Environmental artist, watercolourist.

Paul Jenkins studied at the Kansas City Art Institute from 1938 to 1941, then continued his training at Struthers in Ohio, before working as an apprentice in a ceramics factory. He was called up and fought in the American army from 1944 to 1946. After his demobilisation, he became a pupil of Morris Kantor and Yasuho Kuniyoshi at the Art Students League in New York from 1948 to 1951. He travelled to Sicily and Spain. After 1953, he divided his time between Paris and New York....

Article

Canadian First Nations (Ojibwa), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 14 March 1931 or 1932, near Beardmore (Ontario); died 4 December 2007, Toronto.

Painter, graphic artist. Figures, animals, Native American subjects.

Woodland Art School.

Norval Morrisseau, an Ojibwa (Anishnaabe) raised traditionally by his grandparents on the Sand Point Reserve near Lake Nipigon, called himself a ‘born artist’ and received no formal art training. In his childhood, he spent a short period at a residential school in Thunder Bay before returning to his family home in Beardmore. He was much influenced by the Ojibwa stories told by his grandparents, and during a life-threatening illness he was given a ceremonial name, Copper Thunderbird, which he signed in Cree syllabics on some of his paintings....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 9 August 1939, in Beaumont (Texas).

Draughtsman, environmental artist. Artists' books.

Max Neuhaus initially studied music and worked as a solo percussion player for Pierre Boulez (1962-1963) and Stockhausen (1963-1964). In 1973 and 1977 he won a scholarship from the National Endowment for the Arts for his musical experiments. In the late 1960s he began to create sound installations for public places - in New York ( ...