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Article

Canadian First Nations (We Wai Kai/Cape Mudge Band), 21st century, male.

Born 1975, in Richmond (British Columbia).

Painter, sculptor, printmaker, photographer.

The aesthetic of Sonny Assu (Liǥwilda’x̱w/Laich-kwil-tach) is a confluence of Northwest Coast formline motifs and popular Western culture. He is well versed in the traditional Kwakwaka’wakw arts of drum, blanket and basket making and uses these as the starting place of many of his artworks. Drawing on a pop sensibility, mass-media culture is used as a conduit to explore and expose these Kwakwaka’wakw traditions as well as the artist’s own mixed heritage. By bringing these seemingly desperate elements together, Assu’s works challenge popular notions of authenticity regarding Indigenous people and their art. Moreover, while the works may appear whimsical at first glance, they offer a sharp critique of Western society’s culture of consumption as it relates to colonisation, both historical and ongoing, in North America....

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1959, in Barbados.

Sculptor, installation artist.

Neo-Conceptual Art (Neo-Geo), Appropriation Art, Neo-Pop Art.

Ashley Bickerton lives and works in Los Angeles. He arrived on the American art scene in the mid-1980s. With Peter Halley, Jeff Koons and Meyer Vaisman, Bickerton, he belongs to the group of artists known as the ...

Article

Margo Machida

Asian American mixed-media and installation artist and cultural activist. Ken Chu came to the United States from Hong Kong in 1971, settling in California where he received a BFA in film studies from San Francisco Art Institute (1986). Relocating to New York City after graduation, his encounters with local Asian American artists, activists and cultural organizations supported his artistic efforts, in which he often drew upon subjects that emerged organically from personal experience in the US as a gay Asian man. Adopting popular cultural idioms from film and comics, while also drawing upon symbols and motifs from Chinese and other Asian cultures, his imagery from this pivotal period featured Asian men cast as prototypically American masculine figures, such as California surfers and cowboys, who populate colorful, imaginary scenarios of cross-cultural contact, mixing and desire. In Western societies, where the dominant norms are non-Asian and few viable role models for Asian men exist, Chu’s art strongly asserted their collective presence and place. His socially inspired work has since also engaged matters of anti-Asian violence, internalized racism, stereotyping, homophobia and the impact of AIDS on Asian diasporic communities....

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1949, in New Haven (Connecticut).

Painter (mixed media), draughtswoman, watercolourist, engraver, lithographer.

Neo-Pop Art.

Carroll Dunham almost always paints on panels, integrating the natural unevenness of the wood into the structure of the work. Influenced by Pop Art, she creates biomorphic abstractions and tragi-comic figures combining grotesqueness and power. These creatures, which come from comic book culture and what is known as 'low art', are nevertheless painted with a skill that places them in the pictorial tradition of 'high art'. Peter Schjeldahl has compared her work to a confrontation between and a graffitist in a public toilet and Helen Frankenthaler. The interior violence of the paintings became more accentuated in the 1990s, expressing the multiple contradictions of contemporary American society....

Article

Reena Jana

(b Cologne, Germany, 1969).

American mixed-media artist of German birth and Asian descent. Ezawa studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf (1990–94) before moving to San Francisco in 1994. He received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute (1995) and an MFA from Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA (2003). Ezawa is not a photographer, but his work centers around photography; he has used a variety of media, from digital animations to paper collages and aquatint prints, to revisit some of the world’s most familiar, infamous and historically significant news photographs, television broadcasts and motion-picture stills (see The Simpson Verdict). All of Ezawa’s work utilizes the artist’s signature style of flat, simple renderings that are cartoonlike and also suggest the streamlined and colorful style of Pop artist Katz, Alex.

Ezawa’s project, The History of Photography Remix (2004–6), exemplifies his approach to exploring the power of photographs as a mirror of reality and yet also a force that can manipulate memories of events and people. The project consists of images appropriated from art history textbooks, such as American photographer Cindy Sherman’s ...

Article

Native American (Choctaw, Cherokee), 20th-21st century, male.

Born 31 March 1972, in Colorado.

Painter, sculptor, mixed-media artist.

Jeffrey Gibson received a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago (1995) and an MFA from the Royal College of Art (1998), which was funded by his tribal group, the Mississippi Band of the Choctaw Nation. Since ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1946, in Biloxi (Mississippi).

Painter.

Pop Art, Conceptual Art.

Scott Grieger studied at California State University in Northridge and Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. He is active on the American west coast. His first paintings were influenced by Pop Art, while later works reflect the growing influence of Conceptual Art. Using symbols borrowed from advertising, packaging, computers, clothing, toys and so on, Grieger subverts corporate and political slogans in order to assert his own counter messages of shared responsibility and ethical living....

Article

Julia Robinson

(b Valrico, FL, 1930).

American performance artist and sculptor. Hay started out in the performance scene at Judson Memorial Church in downtown New York City in the early 1960s. He arrived in New York from Florida in 1959, after studying at the Florida State University (1953–8). His wife, the dancer Deborah Hay, was a key figure in the Judson Dance Theater, launched in the summer of 1962, and Alex Hay performed in many of its productions. In the early 1960s he assisted Robert Rauschenberg on set designs for Merce Cunningham, and danced with him with roller-skates and parachutes in Rauschenberg’s now famous performance piece Pelican (1963). After these collaborations, Hay was invited to participate in 9 Evenings: Theater & Engineering at New York’s 69th Regiment Armory (fall 1966). This initiative, conceived by Rauschenberg with critical contributions from the engineer Billy Klüver, was an idealistic effort to pair artists with engineers, to merge art and new technologies. That project evolved into ...

Article

Joseph R. Givens

(b Los Angeles, CA, May 3, 1932; d Los Angeles, CA, March 20, 2005).

American dealer, curator, and museum director. Hopps pioneered international awareness of Pop art and helped to establish Los Angeles as an internationally recognized art centre. He opened museum doors to contemporary art and paved the way for the explosion of the contemporary art market in the 1980s.

As a teenager, Hopps was introduced to modern art through frequent visits to the famous collection of Walter and Louise Arensberg. Hopps went to college to study medicine at the behest of his parents, first at Stanford University then at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), but classes in art history, jazz concert promotion, and the creation of Syndell Studio eclipsed his science curriculum. Hopps’s ambition for a large-scale exhibition of West Coast Abstract Expressionism outgrew Syndell’s salon-style space. In 1953 he arranged Action 1, one of the first exhibitions of action painting outside New York. Hopps’s partnership with artist Edward Kienholz...

Article

Melissa Marra

(b Wethersfield, CT, Aug 10, 1942).

American fashion designer. Known for her exuberant, colourful designs, in the 1960s Johnson emerged as the most prominent designer in New York City’s pop scene—her use of unorthodox material was kindred to the Pop art mentality. Her designs project a sense of unabashed levity and humour that has endured.

Johnson fostered childhood aspirations of becoming a dancer, which produced an enthusiasm for costume and inspired her creativity in fashion. After one year of study at New York’s Pratt Institute, Johnson transferred to Syracuse University where, as an art major and drama minor, she took classes in fabric design. After graduating in 1964, she won Mademoiselle’s Guest College Editor contest, which garnered her an internship as assistant to the magazine’s fabric editor. During this time, she was introduced to the unconventional materials she would later use in her own designs, such as vinyl, foils, and even the industrial insulation used for space vehicles. The internship led to a position as an illustrator in ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1952, in San Antonio (Texas).

Painter (oil), printmaker. Portraits.

Pop Art.

Deborah Kass studied at the Art Students' League (1968-1970), the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program (1972), and Carnegie-Mellon University, obtaining a BFA in painting. She taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, the State University of New York, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture....

Article

Deborah A. Middleton

(Dickey)

(b Jackson, FL, 1925; d East Hampton, NY, March 4, 2015).

American sculptor. King’s figurative human representations are recognized for their often humorous character models, which blend smooth and rough surfaces to form a unique signature style. King’s sculptures are identified as Pop art and abstraction, and are represented by a diverse range of scales from the miniature to the monumental and executed with a versatile range of media, from clay to ceramics, wood, and welded or bent metals. His early influences were Isamu Noguchi and Elie Nadelman.

King attended the University of Florida between 1942–4, and moved to New York in 1945 to study at Cooper Union where he graduated in 1948 and continued studies in art at the Brooklyn Museum Art School in New York. King traveled to Europe on a Fulbright Grant to study in Rome Italy (1949–50) and in London at the Central School (1952). King’s first solo exhibition of sculpture was in ...

Article

American, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1955, in York (Pennsylvania).

Assemblage artist, installation artist, photographer, mixed media. Multimedia.

Neo-Conceptual Art (Neo-Geo), Appropriation Art, Neo-Pop Art.

Jeff Koons trained for three years at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, and subsequently at the Art Institute of Chicago. He lives and works in New York, Germany and Italy. Before embarking on an artistic career he worked on Wall Street as a commodities broker, and his artwork and his conception of the role of the artist remain suffused with ideas and concepts drawn from this earlier experience: the artist survives by supplying commodities to a specific market, governed by the laws of consumerism, speculation and marketing....

Article

Eric M. Wolf

( Houston )

American art collection that opened in 1987. In 2015 the collection contained approximately 17,000 objects, specializing in modern and contemporary art (with particular strength in Surrealism, School of Paris, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, and Minimalism), antiquities, Byzantine art, and the art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. While the vast majority of works in the museum come from the collection of its late founders, John and Dominique Menil, de, the museum continues to collect and grow its art collection.

The main building was designed by architect Renzo Piano and was his first solo museum commission (he had previously partnered with Richard Rogers in the design of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris) and his first commission in the USA. In 2013 this building won the Twenty-Five Year Award of the American Institute of Architects, recognizing architectural design of lasting significance. Sited in a residential neighbourhood in Houston’s Montrose district, the modestly scaled museum building is surrounded by bungalows, houses, and smaller satellite galleries creating a campus-like environment. These surrounding properties are owned by the Menil Foundation and are painted a grey matching that of the wooden cladding on the main building. The museum features the first iteration of Piano’s signature glass roof, here suspended over large ferro-concrete ‘leaves’ or fixed louvres, which regulate the natural light entering the galleries. In addition to gallery space, the main building contains a conservation laboratory with studios for painting, object, and paper treatment, a research library, archives, museum offices, and the second floor ‘treasure rooms’, a sort of curated art storage making a large portion of the museum’s collection immediately available to curatorial staff and visiting scholars....

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1949, in the Panama Canal zone.

Painter, photographer.

Neo-Conceptual Art, Appropriation Art (Simulationism), Neo-Pop Art.

Richard Prince used the technique of 'appropriation' that was popular in the 1980s with those who were influenced by Post-Modernist ideas. In his photographs, which made him famous, he takes new pictures of existing advertising images, deleting the text of the commercial advertisement. In this way he isolates the persona of such characters as the famous ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in New York City.

Born 23 November 1958, in Los Angeles.

Painter (mixed media), sculptor.

Neo-Pop Art.

Kenny Scharf studied at the School of Visual Arts, New York, obtaining a BFA in 1980. At college he met artists Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose work in the graffiti art movement influenced Scharf, as seen by the graffitied wall in his painting ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1959.

Sculptor, draughtsman.

Neo-Pop Art.

Peter Soriano trained as a painter before taking up sculpture. He models his creations in wax first, then makes the mould and moulds the final sculpture in coloured resin. He bans the use of plinths, and his creations have to be placed on the ground, like abandoned toys, or hung on the wall as if climbing. His objects generally have a hybrid appearance. On one hand, it is difficult to tell whether they refer to natural or artificial objects or a combination of the two against nature, on the other hand they are in hard, polished resin but appear to have soft inflatable forms. It is difficult to tell whether their soft Walt Disney style forms and their aggressively false colours make them into comical objects. Collections of his works were shown at the Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris, in ...

Article

Beth Dincuff Charleston

(b Ohio; Sept 12, 1953, d March 4, 2004, New York).

American fashion and textile designer ( see fig. ). Sprouse was democratic in his design references but esoterically concerned with the quality of his creations. He drew inspiration from many different forms of art and popular culture. He is best remembered for his association with Andy Warhol , his collaborations with Keith Haring and other artists on textile designs, and his translation of rock and roll, particularly punk, to fashion. These interpretive designs bridged the Pop art of the 1960s with the Post-modernism of the 1980s.

Dressed all in black with either a bandanna or knit cap on his head, Sprouse’s appearance belied his middle American upbringing. Born to an insurance salesman father and a stay-at-home mother, Sprouse showed an early talent for drawing and design. At the age of 14 his father arranged a summer internship for him at Bill Blass . After briefly studying at the Rhode Island School of Design, Sprouse began working with leading American fashion designer ...