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Article

Matico Josephson

American multi-ethnic arts organization based in New York’s Chinatown. The Asian American Arts Centre (AAAC) and its predecessors, the Asian American Dance Theatre (1974–93) and the Asian Arts Institute (1981–8), emerged from the milieu of the Basement Workshop, the first working group of the Asian American Movement on the East Coast, whose mouthpiece was the journal Bridge (1970–81). After the closing of the Basement Workshop in 1987, the Dance Theatre and the Asian Arts Institute were consolidated as the AAAC.

Directed by Eleanor S. Yung, the Dance Theatre was at the core of the organization’s activities from the 1970s through the early 1990s, performing traditional dances from several Asian cultures alongside modern and postmodern forms. In the early 1980s, the Asian Arts Institute began to hold exhibitions and collect slides of artists’ work and documentation of their activities, working primarily with artists involved in the downtown art scene. Early programs included open studio events for artists working in Chinatown and exhibitions of the work of Arlan Huang (...

Article

Alexandra Chang

American community-based arts and activist group in New York that flourished from 1971 to 1986. Basement Workshop (Inc.) evolved during the Asian American art movement, inspired by the Black Power and the Third World Liberation movements of the late 1960s. The group of artists, writers, performers, and social activists initially met in a leaky basement at 54 Elizabeth Street located in New York’s Chinatown. Basement moved successively to 22 Catherine Street, 199 Lafayette Street, expanded to include spaces at 7 Eldridge Street and 32 East Broadway, and finally returned to 22 Catherine Street during the collective’s existence from 1971 to 1986.

Basement was co-founded by Danny Yung (b 1943), Eleanor Yung, Peter Pan, Frank Ching (b 1943), and Rocky Chin. Its activities grew from the “Chinatown Report of 1969,” which was headed by Danny Yung and funded by the Ford Foundation. Basement was formally incorporated in ...

Article

Karen Kurczynski

Alternative art space founded by Stefan Eins (b 1943) at 2803 Third Avenue near 147th Street in the South Bronx, New York, from 1978 to 1993. Eins arrived in New York from Austria in 1967. He referred to Fashion Moda as a museum of “Science, Art, Technology, Invention, and Fantasy,” the title of its inaugural exhibition in 1979. He had previously run a downtown storefront art space called the Mercer Street Store at 3 Mercer Street from 1971 to 1978. Black downtown artist, poet and musician Joe Lewis served as Co-Director of the space with Eins, and William Scott, then a teenager from the neighborhood, served as Junior Director. Their collaborative ventures attempted to connect the street culture of the South Bronx, by then a neighborhood in the midst of massive economic decline, to an international cultural scene.

From its opening in 1978, annually funded with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council of the Arts and other sources, Fashion Moda held auctions, performances, seminars and other events. Joe Lewis described it as “an outlet for the disenfranchised, a Salon des Réfusés that cut across the uptown/downtown dichotomy, across the black/white/Hispanic isolation.” Although its glass storefront was located in a neighborhood far from the Soho gallery district, its impact has been measured largely by its effect on the more mainstream art world of the 1980s and early 1990s. It introduced and exhibited a number of artists including Charles Ahearn, John Ahearn (...

Article

Oldest and largest photography museum in the United States, located in Rochester, NY. Since it opened its doors to the public in November 1949, George Eastman House has played a pivotal role in shaping and expanding the field of American photography. George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company, never knew his home would become a museum; he bequeathed the mansion where he lived from 1905 until 1932 to the University of Rochester to serve as the residence of its president. In 1946 a board of trustees was formed to establish George Eastman House as an independent, non-profit museum, a memorial to Eastman and his advancements in photographic technology.

Working under director Oscar Solbert, a retired US Army general and former Kodak executive, was the museum’s first curator, Beaumont Newhall. Newhall transformed the museum from one primarily concerned with the technical applications of photography to one emphasizing its artistic development. The museum became an international centre of scholarship, and in ...

Article

Mary M. Tinti

Critically acclaimed yet short-lived American avant-garde art gallery headed by respected New York dealer Richard Hu Bellamy that ran from 1960 to 1965. Financed with significant support from art aficionado and taxi mogul Robert Scull (who was contracted to purchase at least $18,000 worth of art from the gallery each year, and, together with his wife Ethel, became a prominent collector—and later subject—of much of the decade’s art), Bellamy’s new gallery on West 57th Street helped launch the artists, movements and careers that would go on to dominate the post-Abstract Expressionist art world for the next few decades. The gallery’s name was a deliberate reference to its founding and the freshness of its artists, but also to the creative and commercial promise all involved hoped it would have.

Bellamy’s taste was impeccable and his exhibition style innovative: he was among the first dealers to devote solo shows to his favorite emerging talents and gave an unprecedented amount of uptown exposure to these new artists. In ...

Article

Julia Robinson

American artists’ cooperative in New York, founded by Allan Kaprow and Richard Stankiewicz, which ran from 1952 to 1959. Hansa was named after their teacher, Hans Hofmann, from whose art school the initial pool of artists was drawn. The Hansa Gallery opened in fall 1952 and operated through summer 1959. It was located in New York City, first in a Tenth Street Gallery (1952–4), at 70 East 12th Street, in the Greenwich Village district, and later at 210 Central Park South. Hansa was run by several key figures who would become important gallery directors in the 1960s: Ivan Karp, who went on to direct the Leo Castelli Gallery and was instrumental (with Kaprow) in getting Roy Lichtenstein his first show there as well as future representation, and Richard Hu Bellamy, who became director of the Green Gallery, showing Claes Oldenburg, Robert Morris, and many other key figures who achieved prominence in the 1960s....

Article

Nancy E. Green

(b Doylestown, PA, June 24, 1856; d Doylestown, March 9, 1930).

American archaeologist, ethnologist and decorative tile designer and manufacturer. Mercer grew up in a privileged Philadelphia family, and at a young age he began his lifelong love of travel, which would take him eventually throughout Europe, the Middle East and Mexico. These travels would later influence his tile designs for the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works. From 1875 to 1879 he attended Harvard University, studying with George Herbert Palmer, Henry Cabot Lodge and Charles Eliot Norton, the latter having a defining influence on the development of his aesthetic sense. From 1880 to 1881 he read law, first with his uncle Peter McCall and then with the firm of Fraley and Hollingsworth, both in Philadelphia, though he never received his law degree. Thereafter, he returned to Europe, becoming interested in archaeology and beginning his lifelong passion for collecting the minutiae and mundane objects of everyday life, becoming one of the first scholars to examine history through a material culture lens....

Article

Doug Singsen

Primary Structures: Younger American and British Sculpture was an exhibition held at the Jewish Museum in New York City from April 27 to June 12, 1966. Curated by Kynaston McShine, it was the second major Minimalist group exhibition after the Wadsworth Atheneum’s 1964 exhibition, Black White + Gray. Primary Structure’s opening attracted many celebrities and was the subject of a lavishly illustrated Life magazine article, while the exhibition’s title gave rise to the use of the term “primary structure” as a description of the reductive geometric sculpture prevalent in the mid-1960s.

The Minimalist artists featured in Primary Structures were Carl Andre, Larry Bell, Walter De Maria, Dan Flavin, Judy Gerowitz (who later changed her name to Judy Chicago), Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, John McCracken, Robert Morris, and Anne Truitt. Although the Minimalists received the most attention from critics, they were actually a minority within the exhibition, which included a sizeable contingent of asymmetrical, biomorphic or otherwise irregular or non-reductive works....

Article

Matico Josephson

American art gallery in New York founded in 1952 that hosted an important annual group show in the 1950s and set the stage for the emergence of Pop art in New York by 1960. Eleanor Ward, the gallery’s founder, had worked for a Parisian fashion house before returning to New York to open the gallery, first located in a former livery stable at 7th Avenue and 58th Street. However, in December 1951, Ward first opened a holiday gift shop inside a mannequin showroom. The Stable Gallery’s first exhibition opened at the same location the following spring. The stable was ideal for displaying oversized artworks and lent the gallery the feeling of an industrial space or an artist’s rented studio. From 1953 to 1957, the Stable hosted an annual artist-organized group show of painting and sculpture (the “Stable Annual”), which served as an informal salon for New York’s avant-garde.

In the 1950s, the Stable Gallery held exhibitions of the works of ...

Article

Veronica Roberts

American art gallery run by Virginia Dwan (b Minneapolis, MN) from 1959 to 1971. Dwan is best known for her support of Michael Heizer ’s Double Negative (1969; Los Angeles, CA, Mus. Contemp. A.), Robert Smithson ’s Spiral Jetty (1970; New York, Dia A. Found.), and other important Land art installations. She was also an important early champion of Nouveaux Réalistes such as Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely, and Niki de Saint Phalle, and Minimalist and conceptual artists such as Ad Reinhardt and Sol LeWitt.

In 1950, Dwan moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of California, majoring in studio art and minoring in psychology. She never completed college, dropping out when she had a daughter and then got married. Dwan ran her first gallery in Los Angeles from 1959 to 1967. In 1965, after getting a divorce from her husband, she moved to New York, where she ran a second gallery from ...

Article

Matico Josephson

American photography gallery. The first commercially successful photography gallery in New York, founded in 1969 by Lee D. Witkin, and originally located at 237 East 60th Street. Witkin was briefly the only specialized photography dealer in New York. Although this monopoly came to an end in 1971, the gallery played an important role in developing the market for photographic prints in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Witkin Gallery showed a broad range of work by photographers Ansel Adams, Edward Steichen, Berenice Abbott, Margaret Bourke-White, Imogen Cunningham, Harry Callahan, André Kertész, Brassaï, and Jacques-Henri Lartigue, whom Lee Witkin sought out in the United States and in Europe. Witkin did not confine his efforts to the older generation, nor to any single genre. The gallery soon hosted encounters between photographers, collectors, and museum curators. By the mid-1970s, Witkin had also shown the work of avant-garde photographers Duane Michals, Les Krims, Jerry Uelsmann, and Lee Friedlander, photojournalistic work by W. Eugene Smith, Marion Palfi (...

Article

Michelle Yun

[ Huei-Zu ]

(b Taipei, Taiwan, 1961; d New York, NY, Feb 8, 1997).

Taiwanese curator and art historian. Yang immigrated to the United States at age 15. She received a BA in Art History from Yale University in 1984 that included a six-month sabbatical to Jinan University in Guangzhou to study Chinese in 1982. Yang was exposed to art from a young age through her mother, Suhwa Chou Yang, who ran the Hunglin Art Gallery in Taipei in the 1970s. Upon graduation Yang held internships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art , both in New York, before accepting a position as Assistant Curator at the New Museum, New York, in 1988. Notable exhibitions she curated during her time at the New Museum include 1+1+1: Works by Alfredo Jaar (1992); Skin Deep (1993); and The Final Frontier (1993). She left the New Museum in 1993 to work as an independent curator and critic while studying to earn a PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. In early ...