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Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1966, in New York.

Sculptor, painter, installation artist. Murals.

Ricci Albenda studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, including courses in architecture, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1988. His interest in architecture (as well as in graphic design and physics) figures prominently in his installation art, in which he creates environments which challenge the viewer's spatial perceptions. He uses such materials as fibreglass, wallboard, aluminium and acrylic paint. In his exhibition ...

Article

(b Chicago, June 5, 1947).

American performance artist, sculptor, draughtsman, and writer. She completed her BA in art history at Barnard College, New York, in 1969 and had her first one-woman show there in 1970, exhibiting sculptures and drawings among other works. She then trained as a sculptor at Columbia University, New York, receiving her MFA in 1972. Much of her work has built on her childhood instruction as a classical violinist, and she achieved popular notoriety in 1981 when her song ‘O Superman’ became a popular hit in England. Her first performance piece, Automotive, took place in 1972 at Town Green in Rochester, VT, and involved a concert of car horns. In 1974 she staged another music-based performance entitled Duets on Ice in which she appeared at four different locations on New York sidewalks wearing a pair of ice skates with their blades frozen in blocks of ice, and she proceeded to play one of several altered violins until the ice melted into water. In subsequent years, she has continued to work primarily as a performance artist, using projected photographs, films, texts, and music to create technologically sophisticated and elaborately staged events. Many of these performances have featured instruments of her own invention. The most famous of these was a violin with a recording head on its body and a strip of audio tape in the place of the hairs on its bow. This piece allowed her to play the human voice as an instrument by changing its speed and cadence with the movements of her arm. The most complex and spectacular of her performances, ...

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

Cecile Johnson

(Losch)

(b Long Beach, CA, March 14, 1941).

American installation artist, painter, printmaker and sculptor. Bartlett studied at Mills College, Oakland, CA (1960–63), and at the Yale School of Art and Architecture, New Haven, CT (1964–5). The progressive approach to modern art taught at Yale and the nearby thriving art scene of New York were instrumental in her early development (1963–early 1970s). Bartlett’s first one-person exhibition was in New York (1970) in the loft of the artist Alan Saret. Nine-point Pieces (1973–4), a later work, was shown at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York and was experimental both conceptually and materially. Her ambivalent use of systems to establish an order and to oppose it allowed her to explore the material and the conceptual process of making images and objects. Rhapsody (1975–6; priv. col., see exh. cat., p. 21), one of her best-known installations, consists of 988 steel plates covered with screenprint grids and hand-painted Testors enamel and hung on a wall (2.28×47.86 m). Each plate exists individually and in relation to its adjoining plate and may be read vertically or horizontally, creating a mesh of stylistic variability exploring both figurative and non-figurative motifs. Another work of the 1970s is ...

Article

(b New York, Dec 22, 1960; d New York, Aug 12, 1988).

American painter, sculptor and draughtsman. Basquiat showed an early interest in drawing, and he was encouraged by his mother’s interest in fashion design and sketching and by his father’s gifts of paper brought home from his office. From as early as 1965 Basquiat’s mother took him to the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MOMA, and from 1966 he was a Junior Member of the Brooklyn Museum. Early influences on Basquiat’s art include his avid reading of French, Spanish and English texts, his interest in cartoon drawings, Alfred Hitchcock films, cars and comic books, such as MAD magazine and its main character, Alfred E. Neuman. While attending the City-as-School (1976–8), an alternative high school, he encountered the Upper West Side Drama Group and the Family Life Theatre and invented ‘SAMO’ (Same Old Shit), a fictional character who earns a living selling ‘fake’ religion. He also met, collaborated with and became a close friend of ...

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

Sophie Howarth

[Ti-shan]

(b Boston, MA, Jan 10, 1951).

American sculptor and painter. He completed a BSAD at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, in 1973 and in 1975 completed his Masters in Architecture there. His earliest paintings were influenced by the work of American Realist painters such as Edward Hopper and George Bellows, but in 1963 he adopted abstraction. During the early 1970s he travelled regularly to New York, where he settled in 1977, and was influenced by the work of such Minimalist and Post-Minimalist artists as Carl Andre and Richard Serra. During the 1980s he made reliefs such as R.E.M. (1986; London, Saatchi Gal., see 1990 exh. cat. p. 62), which combined handmade elements with a machine aesthetic. In making these works Hsu used computerized equipment to convert found or invented images into oversized silkscreens, and then transferred the motifs onto spray-painted wood or canvas using industrial printers. The surfaces of the works resembled the half-tone dot system used in mass-produced commercial photographic printing. Towards the later 1980s, Hsu based many of his paintings on grid structures. At this time he also began making sculptures and paintings that combined industrial scale, high-tech materials and electronic imagery with forms suggestive of the body or landscape in transformation. As several of the free-standing sculptures from this time stood on wheels, both the quality of the digitized imagery and the structure itself implied movement. Works such as ...

Article

Tom Williams

(b Long Beach, CA, Jan 1, 1941).

American sculptor and installation artist. He studied architecture and mathematics at California State University and art at the Los Angeles College of Art and Design in 1963 before going on to receive a BFA in 1964 and an MFA in 1967 from the Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles County. He is often regarded as a key contributor to the development of Post-minimalism and Process art during late 1960s, and he is sometimes credited with more or less inventing the so-called ‘scatter piece’ as a form in contemporary art.

Le Va became widely celebrated for a series of scatter pieces or ‘distributions’, to use his preferred term, that he began in 1966 while still a graduate student at the Otis Art Institute. In these pieces, he deposited a heterogeneous array of materials into loosely configured piles on the gallery floor. Many of these early works featured cut pieces of canvas or felt that he mixed in with other materials such as scraps of wood, puzzle pieces, lengths of string and ball bearings. These pieces refused both the monumentality and the singularity of modernist sculpture, and although these works were carefully planned, they nevertheless introduced an element of chance into the completed object because they could never be realized in exactly the same way twice. Through this element of chance, and through their use of both multiplicity and horizontality, these pieces seemed to extend the implications of Jackson Pollock’s paintings into sculptural practice. In this sense, these works marked a shift in emphasis from the discrete sculptural product to the process and conditions of display. In 1969–70 pieces such as ...

Article

American, 20th–21st century, female.

Active in New York and Colorado.

Born October 1959, in Athens (Ohio).

Sculptor, landscape artist, architect.

Environmental Art, Land Art.

Maya Lin studied architecture at Yale University, obtaining a BA in 1981 and an MA in 1986. In 1987, Yale awarded her an honorary doctorate in fine arts. She taught in the Yale art history department, the school of landscape design at Harvard University, and the Phillips Exeter Academy. She also worked as a design consultant and an architectural designer....

Article

(b Athens, OH, Oct 5, 1959).

American sculptor and architect. She studied at Yale University, New Haven, CT, earning a BA in 1981 and a Master of Architecture degree in 1986. Her best-known work is the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial (1981–3; see fig.) on the National Mall in Washington, DC. In 1981, while she was still a student, her design was selected from 1421 final entries to a competition initiated by the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Fund for a memorial to be built in the capital. Its purpose was to commemorate those who fought and died in the War and to help reconcile some of the differences that the War had provoked among the American public, government leaders, and war veterans. Lin’s design created a new paradigm for memorials. The monument both serves its complex and particular purpose and re-evaluates completely the traditional form of the public monument. It is a low V-shaped black granite wall partially submerged in the manner of ancient burial sites; the names of all those who died or went missing are inscribed on it. Its reflective surface means that those who view it and read the roll-call of names become immediate participants in the experience of remembering the dead. Names of servicemen and women are recorded in the order in which they perished, from ...

Article

Susan Snodgrass

(b Madrid, Spain, 1961).

Chicago-based American sculptor also working in photography, video and installation. 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 1992–3. 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 prestigious career that includes collaborative modes of working, as well as individual works sited within the museum or gallery. For Manglano-Ovalle, culture encompasses 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

Jeremy Hunt and Jonathan Vickery

At the turn of the millennium, public art was an established global art genre with its own professional and critical discourse, as well as constituencies of interest and patronage independent of mainstream contemporary art. Art criticism has been prodigious regarding public art’s role in the ‘beautification’ of otherwise neglected social space or in influencing urban development. Diversity and differentiation are increasingly the hallmarks of public art worldwide, emerging from city branding strategies and destination marketing as well as from artist activism and international art events and festivals. The first decade of the 21st century demonstrated the vast opportunity for creative and critical ‘engagement’, activism, social dialogue, and cultural co-creation and collective participation. New public art forms emerged, seen in digital and internet media, pop-up shops, and temporary open-access studios, street performance, and urban activism, as well as architectural collaborations in landscape, environment or urban design.

Intellectually, the roots of contemporary public art can be found in the ludic and the architectonic: in the playful public interventions epitomized in the 1960s by the ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Bronxville, NY, 1943; d New York, June 23, 2003).

American sculptor. He studied at Yale University, New Haven, CT, from 1962 to 1966, and completed his MFA in 1969 at the Yale School of Art and Architecture. As an undergraduate he was interested in philosophy and also had a keen interest in the literature generated around Minimalism. In 1966 he created his first linear sculpture, creating a rectangular outline from wire. He recognized this as a possible way to make an object that was weightless and transparent. Seeking to work against the convention of sculpture as a volume enclosed by a surface, he used linear outlines to create a spatial form of sculpture that dispensed with the notion of an interior. He went on to create work that exists in an interdependent relationship with the architecture in which it is installed, such as Untitled (1976; see 1981 exh. cat., p. 70), which links together floor and ceiling. In the early 1970s he began using coloured yarn for its almost imperceptible quality, creating his work intuitively within given spaces. Although he used straight lines to create the abstract shapes in three dimensions, the works were concerned not with geometrical ideas but with the assertion of an impression of volume and materiality. Using very slight means, with the single extended piece of yarn in ...

Article

Elise Madeleine Ciregna

Stonecarving throughout American history has been utilized for various purposes: utilitarian work such as paving, roofing and hitching posts; and ornamental work, such as architectural elements, gravestones and monuments, and sculpture. America’s first professional stonecarvers were mainly trained, skilled artisans from England and Scotland. These men were often called “statuaries” because they were capable of producing highly ornamental carving and sculpture, similar to the work of trained academic sculptors. There was little call for such highly decorative work in the colonies, but as urban centers gradually formed, stone masons found plenty of work in newly emerging cities such as Boston, Philadelphia and New York.

In rural areas many of America’s early stonecarvers were native-born and self-taught. Their skills were most often put to use carving gravestones, which were needed in every community. Both professional and native-born stonecarvers produced beautiful, often idiosyncratic carved work. They worked in the “direct” method of carving, that is carving directly into the stone without creating a preliminary model. Botanist John Bartram designed his own stone house in Philadelphia around ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1969, in Boston (Massachusetts).

Sculptor, installation artist. Mixed media.

Sarah Sze studied architecture and painting at Yale University, where she also developed an interest in sculpture. After leaving Yale she spent a year in Japan, then returned to Boston where she worked for four years in a school art education programme. On moving to New York in ...