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Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 10 February 1944, in Rocroi (Ardennes).

Painter (including gouache), draughtsman, decorative designer. Stage costumes and sets.

Aballain graduated from the École des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 1965.

He designed the stage sets and costumes for A Season in Hell...

Article

Sarah Urist Green

(b Kabul, June 5, 1973).

Afghan video and performance artist and photographer, active also in the USA. After fleeing Soviet-occupied Kabul with her family in the late 1980s, Abdul lived as a refugee in Germany and India before moving to Southern California. She received a BA in Political Science and Philosophy at California State University, Fullerton, and an MFA at the University of California, Irvine, in 2000. Abdul first returned to a post-Taliban Afghanistan in 2001, where she encountered a place and people transformed by decades of violence and unrest. Since that time, Abdul has made work in Kabul and Los Angeles, staging herself in performances and creating performance-based video works and photography that explore ideas of home and the interconnection between architecture and identity.

Beginning in the late 1990s, Abdul made emotionally intense performance art informed by that of Yugoslavian artist Marina Abramović and Cuban-born American artist Ana Mendieta. At the time unable to travel to Afghanistan, Abdul created and documented performances in Los Angeles that probed her position as Afghan, female, Muslim, a refugee and a transnational artist. In ...

Article

Mark Allen Svede

(b Liepāja, April 14, 1939; d West Berlin, Feb 14, 1984).

Latvian performance artist. He arrived in Germany at the age of five as a refugee and later triumphed over geopolitical circumstances to help revitalize artistic culture in his occupied homeland. While pursuing architectural studies at the Technische Hochschule in Aachen (1961–71), he grew interested in the interplay of progressive politics and innovative art forms, which prompted early collaborations with Wolf Vostell and Joseph Beuys, such as their performance 20 July ’64. In 1966 Āboliņš and Gerd Vorhoff founded the Neue Galerie in Aachen, where they organized happenings and performances by Beuys, Jörg Immendorff, Nam June Paik, Tomas Schmit and other key members of Fluxus, the movement instigated by another exiled Balt, the composer George Maciunas (1931–78). At the same time, inspired by the New Left, Āboliņš combated artistic provincialism within the conservative Latvian émigré community by proposing a cultural rapprochement with Soviet Latvia. Advocating an international—rather than a narrowly nationalist—Latvian identity, Āboliņš helped to organize in ...

Article

Yugoslav, 20th–21st century, female.

Active in the Netherlands.

Born 30 November 1946, in Belgrade (now in Serbia).

Performance artist. Multimedia.

Conceptual Art, Body Art.

Marina Abramovic studied at the fine arts academy in Belgrade from 1965 to 1970 and began executing her first performance pieces, films and videos between ...

Article

Francis Summers

revised by Jessica Santone

(b Belgrade, Nov 30, 1946).

Serbian performance artist, video artist and installation artist. She attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade (1965–70) before completing her post-diploma studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb, in 1972. Her early works included sound recordings installed on bridges, paintings of truck crashes, and experiments with conceptual photography (see Widrich, pp. 80–97). In her first significant performance, Rhythm 10 (1973), she repeatedly and rapidly stabbed the spaces between her fingers with various knives. Later, in Rhythm 0 (1974; see Ward, pp. 114–30), she invited gallery visitors to choose from 72 available objects to use on her body, as she stood unresponsive for 6 hours. Her infamous performance Thomas’ Lips (1975; see M. Abramović and others, pp. 98–105), in which she cut, flagellated, and froze herself, established her practice as one that dramatically explored the physical limits of the human body, as seen in the work of Gena Pane or Chris Burden (...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 1944, in Paris.

Performance artist.

Absil works within a group, creating environments similar to those of happenings. These require the participation of spectators, as can be seen in his Promenade in Arrows, created for the Biennale des Jeunes in Paris in ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 24 January 1940, in New York.

Painter, sculptor, performance artist, video artist. Multimedia.

Body Art, Conceptual Art.

Vito Acconci was born in the Bronx, New York and lives and works in Brooklyn. He studied at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts and at the University of Iowa. He has taught in various art schools and universities and in particular at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University and the Parsons School of Design in New York....

Article

Frazer Ward

(Hannibal)

(b New York, Jan 24, 1940).

American poet, performance, video, and installation artist, and urban designer. Acconci worked for an MFA degree at the University of Iowa from 1962 to 1964. He initially devoted himself to poetry and writing that emphasized the physicality of the page and then began to produce visual work in real space in 1969. He worked as a performance artist from 1969 until 1974. His performance work addressed the social construction of subjectivity. A central work, Seedbed (1972; New York, Sonnabend Gal.), saw Acconci masturbate for six hours a day, hidden under a sloping gallery floor, involving visitors in the public expression of private fantasy. Between 1974 and 1979 he made a series of installations often using video and especially sound, mainly in gallery spaces, examining relations between subjectivity and public space. For Where We Are Now (Who Are We Anyway) (1976; New York, Sonnabend Gal.), a long table in the gallery and recorded voices suggested a realm of public or communal debate, but the table extended out of the window over the street like a diving board, countering idealism with the realities of city life. In the 1980s Acconci made sculptures and installations, many viewer-activated, invoking basic architectural units and domestic space. ...

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1966, in Marseilles.

Installation artist, sculptor, action artist, photographer.

Conceptual Art.

Boris Achour, who was a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, received a three-month extra-mural bursary from the Villa Médicis that he spent in Los Angeles in ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1900, in Marciana Marina (Livorno); died 1971, in Milan.

Painter, ceramicist, illustrator, scenographer, writer. Stage costumes.

Futurism.

Giovanni Acquaviva studied philosophy and law at the University of Pisa, while devoting himself to illustration at the same time. He founded the Futurist group ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 1904, in Paris; died 27 August 1967, in Perros-Guirec (Côtes-d'Armor).

Sculptor (including bronze), engraver (burin). Monuments, designs for tapestries, stage costumes and sets.

Henri Adam's father, a goldsmith and jeweller, taught him the rudiments of the trade while he was studying at the Collège Lavoisier. He also took classes in drawing, first at the École Germain-Pillon and subsequently at the Atelier de la Ville de Paris in Montparnasse, before moving to the École des Beaux-Arts. He exhibited various paintings between ...

Article

Richard Lorenz

(Easton )

(b San Francisco, CA, Feb 20, 1902; d Carmel, CA, April 22, 1984).

American photographer. Adams trained as a musician and supported himself by teaching the piano until 1930. He became involved with photography in 1916 when his parents presented him with a Kodak Box Brownie camera during a summer vacation in Yosemite National Park. In 1917–18 he worked part-time in a photo-finishing business. From 1920 to 1927 he served as custodian of the LeConte Memorial in Yosemite, the Sierra Club’s headquarters. His duties included leading weekly expeditions through the valley and rims, during which he continued to photograph the landscape. He considered his snapshots of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, taken during the early 1920s, to be a visual diary, the work of an ardent hobbyist. By 1923 he used a 6½×8½-inch Korona view camera on his pack trips, and in 1927 he spent an afternoon making one of his most famous images, Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park...

Article

Dutch, 20th century, male.

Active in the USA from 1963.

Born 1942, in Winschoten; died 1975, while crossing the Atlantic.

Performance artist, happenings artist, installation artist, photographer.

Conceptual Art.

Bas Jan Ader settled in the USA when he was 21 years old, and studied art and philosophy at the University of California in Irvine, where he would later teach. After ...

Article

Adrian  

Ann Poulson

(Gilbert) [Greenburg, Adrian Adolph]

(b Naugatuck, CT, March 3, 1903; d Los Angeles, CA, Sept 13, 1959).

American costume and fashion designer. Adrian is best known for his costume designs for Hollywood films and his signature women’s suits (see fig.). Adrian was educated at the School for Fine and Applied Arts (now Parsons School of Design) in New York and Paris. He began his career in New York by designing costumes for Irving Berlin’s Music Box Revue of 1921. It was through his work on Broadway that he met the costume designer Natacha Rambova, wife of the screen idol Rudolph Valentino, and began designing costumes for films. He arrived in Los Angeles in 1924 and by 1926 was working for the director Cecil B. DeMille, who brought him to Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) in 1928. When his contract with DeMille ended, Adrian signed with MGM, where he would remain as head costume designer until 1942. At MGM, Adrian dressed stars such as Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, Norma Shearer and Jeanette McDonald. Although it was his designs for Garbo, in which he was careful not to distract from her natural beauty, that first brought him fame, it was his creations for Joan Crawford that made him a household name....

Article

John Hovell

(b Wairoa, Hawke’s Bay, NZ, Aug 27, 1939).

Maori painter, carver, weaver, costume and stage designer. His involvement with art began at Te Aute Maori Boys’ College (1954–7), Hawke’s Bay, Waipawa County, and continued with formal art training at Ardmore Teachers’ College (1958–9) and at Dunedin Teachers’ College (1960), where he trained as an art specialist. He subsequently worked for the Department of Education as an arts and crafts adviser and served on committees for national art education policies, the Historic Places Trust (with particular reference to Maori sites), art museums and tribal committees (dealing with traditional and customary art forms and architecture). He helped to promote contemporary developments in Maori arts for community buildings, meeting houses, churches and public sites, serving on private and governmental commissions. In his own work he maintains a balance between the conservation of older traditional materials and forms of Maori arts and the experimental use of new materials, such as composite chipboard, synthetic dyes, plastic-coated basketry fibres and composite, laminated board. His painted and woven-fibre works are notable for their rich but subtle colours and controlled sense of line. They vary in size from complex architectural installations or stage designs for the Royal New Zealand Ballet to designs for postage stamps. At Te Huki Meeting House (...

Article

Theresa Leininger-Miller

[Negro Colony]

Group of African American artists active in France in the 1920s and 1930s. Between the world wars Paris became a Mecca for a “lost generation” of Americans. Hundreds of artists, musicians, and writers from all over the world flocked to the French capital in search of a sense of community and freedom to be creative. For African Americans, the lure of Paris was enhanced by fear of and disgust with widespread racial discrimination experienced in the United States. They sought a more nurturing environment where their work would receive serious attention, as well as the chance to study many of the world’s greatest cultural achievements. France offered this along with an active black diasporal community with a growing sense of Pan-Africanism. Painters, sculptors, and printmakers thrived there, studying at the finest art academies, exhibiting at respected salons, winning awards, seeing choice art collections, mingling with people of diverse ethnic origins, dancing to jazz, and fervently discussing art, race, literature, philosophy, and politics. Although their individual experiences differed widely, they had much in common, including exposure to traditional European art, African art, modern art, and proto-Negritude ideas. As a result of their stay in Paris, all were affected artistically, socially, and politically in positive ways and most went on to have distinguished careers....

Article

Finnish, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in Helsinki.

Born 1959, in Hämeenlinna.

Video installation artist, film producer, photographer, performance artist.

Conceptual Art.

Eija-Liisa Ahtila was a student at the university of Helsinki from 1980 to 1985 and studied film and video at the London College of Painting. In ...

Article

Akarova  

Belgian, 20th century, female.

Born 1903.

Painter. Stage costumes.

Primarily a dancer, Akarova was married to the painter Marcel Louis Baugniet, and it was probably under his influence as an artist of the Avant-Garde that she too emerged as a painter. Some exhibitions held in Belgium in the 1990s acknowledged her contribution to the art of the early 20th century....

Article

V. V. Vanslov

(Pavlovich)

(b Kharkiv, April 16, 1901; d Moscow, Sept 6, 1968).

Russian stage designer, director, painter and graphic artist of Ukranian birth. He studied in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) from 1915 to 1919 in an artists’ workshop under Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Aleksandr Yakovlev and Vasily Shukhayev. From 1920 to 1922 he worked as a stage designer in Khar’kov (now Kharkiv). In 1923 he returned to Petrograd, where he worked as a book illustrator and stage designer at the Theatre of Musical Comedy, the Theatre of Drama and the Gor’ky Bol’shoy Theatre of Drama; he also worked in Moscow, at the Theatre of the Revolution, the Vakhtangov Theatre and the Moscow Art Theatre (MKhAT). From 1929 he worked as a director, designing his own productions. He was the Art Director of the Leningrad Theatre of Comedy (1935–49), where the most notable productions he directed and designed were Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (1938), Lope de Vega’s Dog in the Manger and ...

Article

Andrew Wilson

Austrian group of performance artists, active in the 1960s. Its principal members were Günter Brus, Otto Muehl and Hermann Nitsch, who first collaborated informally in 1961, and Rudolf Schwarzkogler, who was introduced to the group in 1963. Others associated with the group included Anni Brus, the film maker Kurt Kren, the composer Anetis Logosthetis and the actor Heinz Cibulka. The group were influenced by the work of Adolf Frohner (b 1934), Arnulf Rainer and Alfons Schilling (b 1934), who were all in turn influenced by American action painting and by the gestural painting associated with Tachism. The members of Aktionismus attached significance, however, not so much to the paintings produced by the artist as to the artist as a participant in the process of production, as a witness to creation rather than as a creator. Muehl, Brus and Nitsch all felt drawn to public performances celebrating and investigating artistic creativity by a natural progression from their earlier sculptural or painterly activities. In ...