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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

Mary M. Tinti

(b Houston, TX, 1951).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual artist. His multimedia works investigate the pathology of contemporary culture. Mel Chin was born and raised in Houston, Texas to parents of Chinese birth and received his BA in 1975 from the Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. The works in Chin’s oeuvre are diverse in both medium and subject, but a consistent undercurrent of social, political, and environmental responsibility runs throughout. Whether a sculpture, film, video game, installation, public project or earthwork, Chin’s artworks consistently targeted a broad spectrum of pressing cultural and ecological interests and spread their message in subtle, if not viral ways.

In the 1980s, Chin produced a number of sculptures that set the stage for his ever-evocative artistic journey. The Extraction of Plenty from What Remains: 1823 (1988–9) is a frequently referenced piece from this period. It is a symbolic encapsulation of the effects of the Monroe Doctrine, referencing the complicated dealings between the US (represented by truncated replicas of White House columns) and Central America (represented by a cornucopia of mahogany branches, woven banana-tree fiber, and a surface layer of hardened blood, mud, and coffee grinds). From the 1990s, however, Chin moved away from strictly gallery-based installations and began creating works that directly engaged contemporary culture in a variety of physical and theoretical landscapes....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1942, in Urbana (Illinois).

Installation artist, performance artist, sculptor, photographer. Multimedia.

Conceptual Art, Body Art.

Dan Graham lives and works in New York, where he has achieved renown as a gallery owner (he opened the John Daniels Gallery in the 1960s), art theorist (championing Minimal Art) and artist. The closure of his gallery for financial reasons caused Dan Graham to question the economic and social purpose of 'gallery art'. Influenced by Pop Art, which introduced an element of social realism to his work, Graham gradually rejected the concept of artistic autonomy promoted by the American Minimalists. Drawing on his experience of the commercial and economic realities of the art world, he realised that the value of a work of art is above all determined by the extent to which it is reproduced. He began to publicise his own work by reproducing it on inserts in, for example, the art and rock press and women's magazines, rather than by holding exhibitions in commercial galleries. His exploration of art, the means of reproduction and 'mediatisation' continued with the distribution of his own series of photographs of tract-houses (pre-fabricated, mass-produced American suburban homes): ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 6 December 1941, in Fort Wayne (Indiana).

Sculptor, draughtsman, video installation artist. Multimedia.

Body Art, Process Art, Conceptual Art.

Bruce Nauman attended the universities of Wisconsin and California. He began work in Davis, California, where he was completing his university studies. In 1966 he had his first studio in San Francisco. In 1969 he moved to Pasadena and in 1979 to Pecos in the mountains of New Mexico, far removed from the artistic ‘underground’....

Article

Deborah A. Middleton

(b Fort Wayne, IN, Dec 6, 1941).

American conceptual artist. Recognized as one of the most influential, innovative, and provocative 20th century American artists, Nauman extended the media of sculpture, film, video, photography, and sound with performance and spatial explorations. Nauman attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1960 to 1964, with early studies in mathematics and physics, which broadened to the study of art under Italo Scanga (1932–2001). He received a master’s degree in Fine Art from the University of California, Davis in 1966 under William T. Wiley, Robert Arneson, Frank Owen (b 1939), and Stephen Kaltenbach (b 1940) and honorary degrees from the San Francisco Art Institute (1989) and California Institute of Art (2000). In 1966 he began to teach at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Nauman’s interactive artworks and performances explore the syntactical nuances of language, text, and figurative gesture to create material culture and in-between places, which often result in a heightened sense of physical and emotional awareness. Nauman’s artistic explorations of spatial perception, bodily consciousness, physical and mental activity, and linguistic manipulation were demonstrated in interactive spatial compositions that accentuated various relationships between the human body and built environments. Early works included body castings and holographic self-images with subsequent works situating the viewer within their own mental and bodily perceptions. In ...

Article

American, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1938, in Mason City or Electric City (Washington); died 21 January 2011, in New York City.

Painter (including gouache), pastellist, draughtsman, sculptor, installation artist. Multimedia.

Conceptual Art, Minimal Art, Body Art, Land Art.

Dennis Oppenheim studied at the College of Arts and Crafts, California, and the University of Stanford. Until 1967, Oppenheim made sculptures related to the primary structures of Minimal Art, although they are comparatively small and he presented them in series of trapezoidal boxes and cylindrical trunks. From 1967, he lived and worked in New York City. In 1967–1968, he became a conceptual artist and a proponent of Land Art, working mainly out of doors and in large spaces. He then documented his operations by means of photographs accompanied by texts and plans. Great care was taken with the graphic presentation of his actions, as the works themselves are largely ephemeral. He mowed undulating lines in fields, traced paths through cultivated land and snowfields, and in New York he spread rectangles of salt in the city’s streets. He also worked in the sea, spreading pigment in the water, then covering the surface with burning petrol and meticulously photographing the results. These experiments led the Yale Faculty of Architecture to commission from him plans for the sculptural use of excavations created by road building. He made practical volumes consisting of mounds, depressions, and steps that could be climbed between them. In 1969, after befriending artist Vito Acconci, he experimented with Body Art, often subjecting himself to violent physical alterations such as sunburns. Oppenheim’s use of his own body explored the connection between a work and its site, using the physical body itself as not only a medium but a place. During the 1970s, he was extremely prolific, creating installations that included puppets representing himself with animals and various objects that related to the events and worries of his own life. The late 1970s series ...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Holyoke, MA, Feb 12, 1943).

American photographer, video artist, conceptual artist, sculptor, draughtsman and painter . He studied painting at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA (BFA 1965), and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (MFA 1967). During these years he produced Minimalist sculptures and paintings. In the early 1970s he used video and photography, primarily as a means of documenting such conceptual works as Untied On Tied Off (1972), a photograph of the artist’s feet with one shoe on, untied, the other with the shoe tied to his ankle. These documents gave way to photographs that took on greater artistic qualities in terms of composition and technique, while he continued to use concepts and approaches seen in the earlier pieces (particularly irony, humour and satire on both popular culture and the high culture of contemporary art). He was most well known in the 1970s for his photographic and video works featuring his Weimaraner dog, Man Ray. By ...