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Article

Andrew Weiner

(b Beirut, 1925).

Lebanese painter and writer active in the USA. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Adnan was educated in Lebanon before going on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and the University of California, Berkeley. For many years she taught aesthetics at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA; she also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities. During the 1970s Adnan regularly contributed editorials, essays, and cultural criticism to the Beirut-based publications Al-Safa and L’Orient-Le Jour. In 1978 she published the novel Sitt Marie Rose, which won considerable acclaim for its critical portrayal of cultural and social politics during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War. Adnan published numerous books of poetry, originating in her opposition to the American war in Vietnam and proceeding to encompass topics as diverse as the landscape of Northern California and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Her poetry served as the basis for numerous works of theater and contemporary classical music....

Article

Chika Okeke-Agulu

(b Cairo, May 22, 1963).

American painter, sculptor, fibre and installation artist of Egyptian birth. Amer, one of the few young artists of African origin to gain prominence in the late 1990s international art scene, studied painting in France at the Villa Arson EPIAR, Nice (MFA, 1989), and the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Art Plastique, Paris (1991). She subsequently moved to New York. She is best known for her canvases in which paint and embroidery are combined to explore themes of love, desire, sexuality, and women’s identity in a patriarchal world. Amer’s use of Embroidery, historically regarded as a genteel female craft, to create images of women fulfilling their sexual desires without inhibition, recalls the provocations and strategies of 1970s Western feminist art. However, her work also reflects her alarm at the incremental curbing of women’s social and political freedoms in her native Egypt following the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, especially after the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser ended in ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Morristown, NJ, Oct 29, 1955).

American sculptor. He studied Oriental and Middle Eastern cultures and languages before later graduating in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA 1993). Ashkin gained international recognition in the mid-1990s for his tabletop dioramas of inhospitable, often deserted, American landscapes. Influenced by Robert Smithson’s interest in the concept of entropy as well as more traditional landscape discourses such as Romanticism and the Sublime, Ashkin’s work has often suggested vast inhuman wastelands, although their real scale might only be a few square feet. His earliest works concentrated on semi-arid deserts, but soon the dominant motif switched to semi-stagnant marshes. No. 33 (1996; see exh. cat.), typical of the numerical nomination of his work, depicts a long, thin freeway in a swampy wilderness; a single truck drives along and telegraph wires line the road, suggesting vast distances. No. 15 (1996; see exh. cat.) is smaller in size, though again the tiny scale of the trucks that pass in convoy over a swampy, pock-marked landscape suggest great expanse. More recently Ashkin has expanded his practice into video and photography exploring the Sublime. ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 20 September 1941, in Tacoma (Washington).

Glassmaker, sculptor, installation artist.

Dale Chihuly studied at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he received a BA in 1965, the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1967, where he obtained an MS, and Rhode Island School of Design, where he obtained an MFA in ...

Article

Francis Summers

American photographers and conceptual artists of Irish and Israeli birth. Collaborating under a corporate-sounding name, Michael Clegg (b Dublin, 1957) and Martin Guttman (b Jerusalem, 1957) began making photographs together in 1980. Using corporate group portraits as their resource material, they made constructed photographs in the manner of 17th-century Dutch paintings. A Group Portrait of the Executives of a World Wide Company (1980; see 1989 exh. cat., p. 33) shows five suited men seated in a brooding darkness, their heads and hands illuminated in a chiaroscuro effect. The reference to historical paintings is made particularly explicit in The Art Consultants (1986; see 1989 exh. cat., p. 37): the figures are posed directly in front of a canvas so as to mirror the painted figures, illustrating Clegg & Guttman’s proposition that within the hierarchies of power, the essential nature of pose, emblems and dress have remained relatively unchanged for centuries. Pushing these images to the point of indetermination, Clegg & Guttman also occasionally carried out actual commissions (although not always successfully), as well as creating collaged and altered portraits such as ...

Article

Gensler  

Sara Stevens

American architectural firm started by Arthur Gensler Drue Gensler, and Jim Follett in 1965 in San Francisco, CA. M. Arthur Gensler jr (b Brooklyn, New York, 1935) attended Cornell University to study architecture (BArch, 1957). The firm began doing build-outs for retail stores and corporate offices, and initially established itself in the unglamorous area of interior architecture. Thirty years later and without mergers or acquisitions, it had grown to become one of the largest architecture firms in the world, having pioneered the global consultancy firm specializing in coordinated rollouts of multi-site building programmes. By 2012 the firm had over 3000 employees in over 40 offices. From the beginning, Art Gensler conceived of a global firm with multiple offices serving corporate clients whose businesses were becoming more international. Instead of the ‘starchitect’ model of his contemporaries such as I. M. Pei or Paul Rudolph, Gensler wanted an ego-free office that existed to serve client needs, not pursue a designer’s aesthetic agenda at the client’s expense. By adopting new web-based computing technologies and integrated design software in the early 1990s, the firm stayed well connected across their many offices and were more able than their competitors to manage large multi-site projects. Expanding from the services a traditional architecture firm offers, the company pushed into new areas well suited to their information technology and interiors expertise, such as organizational design, project management, and strategic facilities planning....

Article

(b Newark, NJ, Jan 26, 1945).

American conceptual artist, designer, and writer. She enrolled at Parsons School of Design, New York, where her teachers included the photographer Diane Arbus and Marvin Israel (1924–84), a successful graphic designer and art director of Harper’s Bazaar, who was particularly encouraging. When Kruger’s interest in art school waned in the mid-1960s, Israel encouraged her to prepare a professional portfolio. Kruger moved to New York and entered the design department of Mademoiselle magazine, becoming chief designer a year later. Also at that time she designed book covers for political texts. In the late 1960s and early 1970s she became interested in poetry and began writing and attending readings. From 1976 to 1980 she lived in Berkeley, CA, teaching and reflecting on her own art. Kruger later taught at Art Institute of Chicago and joined the visual arts faculty of the University of California San Diego in 2002, and later the University of California Los Angeles, dividing her time between Los Angeles and New York....

Article

Francis Summers

(b Qazvin, Iran, March 26, 1957).

American photographer and video artist of Iranian birth. She studied at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was awarded a BFA in 1979 and an MFA in 1982. She became involved in the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York when she was unable to return to Iran for political reasons. Years later, having settled in New York, she began making art in response to the situation she found after a visit to the post-Shah religious state. Using the Islamic veil, or chador, she made photographs that examined stereotypes of Muslim women as oppressed by the veil but also empowered by their refusal of the Western colonial gaze, as in Women of Allah (1993–7) and Rebellious Silence (1994; see 2000 exh. cat., p. 61). In these works Neshat is often posed with a gun, her image overlaid in Islamic script, as a way of confronting the Western view of Islam as both incomprehensible and dangerous. In ...

Article

Christopher C. Mead

(b Lebanon, MI, June 24, 1936).

American architect. Predock was a leading architect of the American Southwest, who applied lessons learned in the desert to commissions across North America, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In 2006, the American Institute of Architects awarded him its highest honor, the AIA Gold Medal, for a place-based method of design that has earned him international recognition for his ability to express the geological, ecological and cultural context of each project in buildings conceived as abstracted landscapes.

In 1954, Predock left Lebanon, MI, to study engineering at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Donald Schlegel, an architect in the engineering program, turned Predock’s attention to architecture and encouraged him to complete his education at Columbia University in New York (BArch 1962). A year of travel across Europe (1962–3), supplemented by internships with I(eoh) M(ing) Pei (1962), The Architects Collaborative (1963) and Gerald McCue (...

Article

Mitra Monir Abbaspour

(b Chbanieh, June 15, 1967).

Lebanese conceptual artist, photographer, video and performance artist active also in America. Raad received his BFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1989, and completed his MA and PhD in Cultural and Visual Studies at the University of Rochester in 1993 and 1996, respectively, and in 2002 became an associate professor at the Cooper Union School in New York. History and its representation, narration, and memory are the central themes of Raad’s work. His experience of the Lebanese wars between 1975 and 1991 and their ongoing effects inform his inquiries into the methods of historical documents.

Raad began contending with narratives of the Lebanese wars in a series of short video documentaries that included Up to the South (1993)–a collaboration with Lebanese artist Jayce Salloum (b 1958)—and Missing Lebanese Wars (1996). Characteristic of his later practice, these videos critically employ a genre (documentary film) associated with factual reportage, foregrounding the relationship between subject and method of the work....

Article

Sara Stevens

A category of buildings designed to house retail and shopping. It includes arcades, department stores, shopping malls, strip centres, and big-box stores. Retail architecture exists in small towns, big cities, and suburbs: anywhere people congregate. It is as ubiquitous in time and space as the organized exchange of goods for money. It is distinguished from commercial architecture, which, in real estate and architectural practice, can refer more generally to any property that produces income for its investors or owners but does not refer to a building’s architectural function (i.e. retail).

Buildings housing commercial activity have existed since antiquity. Anthropologists have described exchange halls and commercial structures in many cultures, including Roman, Aztec, Tang dynasty China, and Mesopotamian. During the medieval and Renaissance periods, market halls and exchanges were built in cities such as Antwerp, Bruges, London, and Venice, sheltering trading activities at ground level and municipal government functions above (...

Article

Joseph R. Givens

(b Abadan, May 15, 1943).

Iranian photographer, curator, and art dealer, active in the USA. Shafrazi introduced graffiti to the mainstream art market and contributed to the contemporary art boom of the 1980s. Raised in Abadan, a small port town that experienced an oil boom in the post-war years, Shafrazi was fascinated by Western popular culture and art. He moved to England in 1956 and three years later began formal art study at Hammersmith College of Art and Building, before continuing at the Royal College of Art, where he graduated in 1967. Following college, Shafrazi pursued a career as an artist while also teaching, first at the Manchester College of Art then at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1969.

A newfound interest in political activism shifted his creative focus from art objects to art actions. His involvement with the latter culminated in an infamous incident that took place on 28 February 1974...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Rehovot, Palestine, Feb 25, 1944).

American sculptor and installation artist of Israeli birth. He studied for his BFA at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn between 1962 and 1968 after gaining US citizenship in 1962. Between 1971 and 1973 he studied for his MFA at Yale University, New Haven, CT. In the early 1970s he subverted the language of Minimalism in paintings, such as Brown Painting with Bars #3 (1973; see 1999 exh. cat., p. 66) by using linoleum strips instead of paint. This led to one of his first installations, Display #7 (1979; see 1999 exh. cat., pp. 74–5), for which he covered the walls of the reception room at the Artists Space, New York, with strips of wallpaper, and displayed various knick-knacks on shelves. Such presentations of everyday objects, which reference the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp, continued to be a vital part of Steinbach’s practice. In 1985 the triangular shelves (hand-made and Minimalist in appearance) became a dominant motif, used to support a variety of mass-produced objects including boxes of cornflakes and other such prosaic items, often repeated (as in the Pop paintings of Andy Warhol) to emphasize the link between factory production and the commodification of art. His use of digital clocks, lava lamps and stacked saucepans in a work such as ...