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Article

Abele, Julian  

Sandra L. Tatman

(Francis)

(b Philadelphia, PA, April 29, 1881; d Philadelphia, PA, April 23, 1950).

African American architect. Born and educated in Philadelphia, Abele was the chief designer in the firm of Horace Trumbauer. Unknown for most of his life, Julian Abele has become renowned as a pioneer African American architect.

Abele attended the Institute for Colored Youth and Brown Preparatory School before enrolling at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, where in 1898 he earned his Certificate in Architectural Drawing and the Frederick Graff Prize for work in Architectural Design, Evening Class Students. Abele then enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania. Again he distinguished himself in the architectural program, and at his 1902 graduation he was awarded the prestigious Arthur Spayd Brooke Memorial Prize. Abele’s work was also exhibited in the Toronto Architectural Club (1901), the T-Square Club Annual Exhibition (1901–2), and the Pittsburgh Architectural Club annual exhibition of 1903.

As an undergraduate Abele worked for Louis C. Hickman (...

Article

Arai, Tomie  

Margo Machida

(b New York, Aug 16, 1949).

American printmaker and installation artist. Born and raised in New York City, Arai, a third-generation Japanese American printmaker, mixed-media artist, public artist and cultural activist, studied art at the Philadelphia College of Art and The Printmaking Workshop in New York. Since the 1970s, her diverse projects have ranged from individual works to large-scale public commissions (see Public art in the 21st century). She has designed permanent public works, including an interior mural commemorating the African burial ground in lower Manhattan and an outdoor mural for Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Other works include Wall of Respect for Women (1974), a mural on New York’s Lower East Side, which was a collaboration between Arai and women from the local community. Her art has been exhibited in such venues as the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, International Center for Photography, P.S.1 Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, all New York and the Library of Congress, Washington, DC. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and Joan Mitchell Foundation....

Article

Baca, Judith  

Anne K. Swartz

(Francisca )

(b East Los Angeles, CA, Sept 20, 1946).

American muralist, activist and teacher. Born to Mexican–American parents, Baca is recognized as one of the leading muralists in the USA. She was involved from a young age in activism, including the Chicano Movement, the antiwar protest and Women’s Liberation. She studied art at California State University, Northridge, where she received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Baca started teaching art in 1970 in East Los Angeles for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and became interested in the ways murals could involve youth, allowing them to express their experiences. She founded the City of Los Angeles Mural Program in 1974, which evolved into the Social and Public Resource Center, a community arts organization, where she served as artistic director. She held five summer mural workshops from 1976 through 1983 for teenagers and community artists to help her paint a huge mural on the ethnic history of Los Angeles, called the ...

Article

Barthé, James Richmond  

Margaret Rose Vendryes

(b Bay St Louis, MS, Jan 28, 1909; d Pasadena, CA, March 6, 1989).

African American sculptor and painter. Barthé was raised a devout Roman Catholic Creole. He was also the only African American artist of his generation to consistently portray the black male nude. Although closeted throughout his life, sensual figures such as Stevedore (1937; Hampton, VA, U. Mus.) expose his homosexuality. Barthé’s elementary education ended in 1914. As an adolescent, he skillfully copied magazine illustrations, especially figures. Barthé worked for the wealthy New Orleans Pond family, who summered on the Bay, and in 1917, he moved to New Orleans to become their live-in servant. Barthé had access to the Pond library and art collection, and while in their employment, he began to paint in oil. In 1924, his head of Jesus prompted the Rev. Harry F. Kane to fund the first of four years at the Art Institute of Chicago School, where Barthé studied painting with Charles Schroeder and sculpture with Albin Polasek (...

Article

Bauer (Wurster), Catherine  

Kristin E. Larsen

(b Elizabeth, NJ, May 11, 1905; d Seadrift, CA, Nov 21, 1964).

American writer and educator. She was an advocate for modern housing design and early federal housing programs. Born into an affluent family, Bauer briefly sought college training in architecture but attained the majority of her architecture and housing policy skills in the field. During a trip to Europe in 1926, Bauer discovered a passion for modern architecture. Writing an article that gained the attention of urban critic Lewis Mumford, she embarked on a subsequent visit in 1930 with letters of introduction to some of the most renowned European architects of the day, including Ernst May and Walter Gropius. She not only learned about housing design to maximize light and air and to utilize the site to advantage, but also investigated the benefits of large-scale development techniques and government support for housing. As a key contributor to the Museum of Modern Art’s 1933 exhibit on International Design, Bauer argued for greater recognition of housing as a centerpiece of the new modern aesthetic. In her groundbreaking book ...

Article

Bechtle, Robert  

Janet Bishop

(b San Francisco, CA, May 14, 1932).

American painter. Native of the San Francisco Bay Area, known for careful observation and explicit use of snapshot-like photographic source material for paintings of family, cars, and residential neighborhoods. The artist rose to national and international prominence in early 1970s as part of the Photorealist movement (see Photorealism).

From the 1960s, Bechtle pursued a quiet realism based on the things he knew best, translating what seem to be ordinary scenes of middle-class American life into paintings. Following an early childhood in the Bay Area and Sacramento, his family settled in 1942 in Alameda, an island suburb adjacent to Oakland where his mother would occupy the same house for almost 60 years. The neighborhood appears in many of Bechtle’s paintings.

Bechtle earned both his BFA (1954) and his MFA (1958) at Oakland’s California College of Arts and Crafts, where he studied graphic design and then painting. During his student years and into the 1960s, Bechtle was influenced by Pop art’s precedent for the use of commercial subject matter and techniques. He was likewise interested in Bay Area figuration, especially the subjects and structure of paintings by ...

Article

Beeby, Thomas  

A. Krista Sykes

(b Oak Park, IL, Oct 12, 1941).

American architect and teacher. Born in Oak Park, IL (home of numerous early works by Frank Lloyd Wright), Beeby moved with his family to Philadelphia before they relocated to England, where he completed high school. Beeby returned to the USA to attend Cornell University, earning a Bachelor of Architecture in 1964. The following year he received his Master’s of Architecture from Yale University and took a position in the Chicago office of C. F. Murphy, leaving in 1971 to join James Wright Hammond (a former partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill) in creating Hammond Beeby & Associates, which would eventually become the modern-day firm of Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge. In 1973 Beeby began teaching at the Illinois Institute of Technology, serving as an associate professor from 1978 through 1980, when he assumed the directorship of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He left this post to become dean of the Yale University School of Architecture from ...

Article

Bottomley, William Lawrence  

Elizabeth Meredith Dowling

(b Richmond, VA, Feb 24, 1883; d Glen Head, Long Island, NY, Feb 1, 1951).

American architect, preservationist, author, and editor. His wealthy patrician family provided the opportunity for a fine education and connections to future clients. In 1906 he received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Columbia University. His education continued in Rome at the American Academy through receipt of the McKim Fellowship in Architecture in 1907. In 1908 he passed the entrance examination for the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and remained in Paris until 1909.

Best known for his residential work, Bottomley combined his extensive knowledge of architectural history with his own observations to produce personal interpretations of past styles. Of his approximately 186 commissions, 90 were located in New York and 51 in Virginia. His most recognized residential commissions are found on Monument Avenue in Richmond, VA. Produced during the 1920s and 1930s, these residences, like many of his other projects, have exteriors inspired by nearby 18th-century James River Georgian mansions. Their interiors deviate from the Georgian models with creatively arranged plans that display a particular delight in the use of curving stairs within a variety of different shaped foyers....

Article

Brown, Arthur, Jr.  

Jeffrey Tilman

(b Oakland, CA, May 21, 1874; d Burlingame, CA, July 7, 1957).

American architect. Brown was the West Coast’s preeminent practitioner of classical architecture in the first decades of the 20th century. Renown for his buildings for the San Francisco Civic Center, his City Hall for Pasadena, CA, and for the Labor-ICC block of the Federal Triangle in Washington, DC, Brown also contributed many significant buildings for the campuses of Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley and participated in the design of three World’s Fairs.

In 1896 Brown earned a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, where he took classes in architecture from Bernard Maybeck. That same year Brown went on to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he had unprecedented success for an American. After his return to San Francisco in 1904, Brown teamed up with John Bakewell to form Bakewell & Brown, where he served as the firm’s design partner. The young architects were well positioned after the earthquake and fire of ...

Article

Brown, Grafton Tyler  

Gina M. D’Angelo

(b Harrisburg, PA, Feb 22, 1841; d St Paul, MN, March 2, 1918).

African American painter and lithographer. Brown was the first African American artist to portray California and the Pacific Northwest. One of many artists who migrated West in the years after the gold rush, Brown began his career in San Francisco in the 1860s as a commercial lithographer, and made his mark in the 1880s as a landscape painter of the Pacific Northwest.

The son of freed slaves, Brown probably began his career working at the lithographic firm of P. S. Duval in Philadelphia, and in the late 1850s followed C. C. Kuchel, a Duval lithographer and his soon-to-be employer, to San Francisco. From 1861 to 1867 he worked as a draftsman and lithographer at the Kuchel & Dressel firm in San Francisco, and in 1867 established his own firm, G. T. Brown & Co. His most celebrated project, The Illustrated History of San Mateo County (1878), featured 72 city views whose sensitive topographical style would influence his paintings. Brown sold his firm in ...

Article

Camera Work  

Judith Zilczer

Journal devoted to photography that was published from 1903 to 1917. Camera Work evolved from a quarterly journal of photography to become one of the most ground-breaking and influential periodicals in American cultural history. Founded in January 1903 by photographer Alfred Stieglitz as the official publication of the Photo-Secession, the journal originally promoted the cause of photography as a fine art. As Stieglitz, its editor and publisher, expanded the journal’s scope to include essays on aesthetics, literature, criticism and modern art, Camera Work fueled intellectual discourse in early 20th-century America.

Camera Work mirrored the aesthetic philosophy of its founder Alfred Stieglitz. The journal resulted from his decade-long campaign to broaden and professionalize American photography. Serving for three years as editor of American Amateur Photographer (1893–6), Stieglitz championed the expressive potential of photography and advocated expanded exhibition opportunities comparable to those available in European photographic salons. In 1897, when the Society of Amateur Photographers merged with the New York Camera Club, Stieglitz convinced the enlarged organization to replace their modest leaflet with a more substantial quarterly journal, Camera Notes, which he edited until ...

Article

Chang, Patty  

Aileen June Wang

(b San Leandro, CA, Feb 3, 1972).

American performance and video artist of Chinese ancestry. Chang earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego in 1994. She showed her first solo exhibition at Jack Tilton Gallery, New York, in 1999. Her body of work focused on how people can be deceived, either through sight—what one sees is not necessarily true—or through mainstream assumptions about such topics as Asia, sexuality, and socially accepted behavior. Chang attributed her past stint in a cybersex company as the catalyst for exploring illusion as a theme. She realized that video flattened three-dimensional, live performances into a stream of two-dimensional images, enabling her to engage in visual deception.

Most of Chang’s early works investigated problems of gender and sexuality, using her own body and elements suggesting violence or transgression. The photograph Fountain (1999) depicted her inside a cubicle of a public lavatory, with a urinal visible on the far wall. Wearing a business suit, she knelt on hands and knees, seemingly kissing herself but actually slurping water off a mirror on the floor. The accompanying video focused on Chang’s face and her passionate interaction with her own reflection. While the photograph suggested female humiliation in a male world, the video complicated matters by implying that the act was motivated by narcissism....

Article

Charles, Michael Ray  

Sandra Sider

(b Lafayette, LA, 1967).

African American painter. Charles graduated from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA, in 1985, having studied advertising design, illustration, and painting. He received his MFA from the University of Houston in 1993, and subsequently taught at the University of Texas at Austin. His paintings, which manipulate images of historical black stereotypes, have generated critical controversy and hostile reactions from viewers. Charles, however, saw himself as investigating these images and their place in American history, exploring and exposing their negativity. He typically signs his work with an actual copper penny, oriented to display the profile of Abraham Lincoln.

Charles also collected black memorabilia, such as Aunt Jemima dolls and other advertising ephemera, and has researched 19th-century blackface and minstrelsy performers. Some of his most controversial figures have been of childhood literary icons, including a black Sambo reminiscent of Mickey Mouse. Charles is interested in how these images remain in America’s collective memory, and the different attitudes of Caucasians and African Americans when viewing them. He creates extreme caricatures, such as a sinister-looking black face with a watermelon slice for a mouth and black seeds instead of teeth—images meant to stimulate thought. The faces in his paintings confront the viewer with their oversized scale, some of them more than 1 m high. Charles felt that American advertising conditioned people of all types to pigeonhole blacks as representing the body (instead of the mind), and as entertainers—and that these stereotypical attitudes have been retained in the American psyche. To emphasize this point, Charles juxtaposed African American celebrities with advertising imagery, such as Oprah Winfrey as a cookie-jar mammy figure....

Article

Childs, Lucinda  

Anne K. Swartz

(b New York, NY, June 26, 1940).

American dancer and choreographer. Born in 1940, Childs grew up in New York City. In her teens she studied with such dancing legends as Hanya Holm and Helen Tamiris. Childs majored in dance at Sarah Lawrence College, where she received a Bachelor’s degree. There she studied with Judith Dunn, Bessie Schonberg, and Merce Cunningham, whose iconoclastic approach to dance was of particular importance. In 1963, at Cunningham’s studio, she met Yvonne Rainer, another dancer who became a renowned choreographer, who told her about the dance, performance and art activities at the Judson Church in New York City. Childs became one of the founding members of the Judson Dance Theater. There she had the opportunity to investigate and experiment. As an original member of the troupe, she performed with Robert Morris and Yvonne Ranier. She would incorporate elements from everyday life, evident in such works as Pasttime of 1963 where she performed a solo in three parts showcasing the movements of the body. By ...

Article

Dater, Judy  

Donna Stein

(b Hollywood, CA, June 21, 1941).

American photographer, educator, and author. She attended the University of California Los Angeles (1959–62), where she studied drawing and painting. She completed her education at San Francisco State University (BA 1963, MA 1966) where she studied with Jack Welpott (1923–2007), whom she married (1971–7). Dater’s perceptive portraits of women and men and challenging photographs of the nude secured her international reputation.

Her earliest self-portraits date from 1963, using her own image to consider issues of gender, sexuality and the female role in society as well as the hidden side of herself. In 1980, she took the first of 10 trips throughout the Southwest, creating a series of black-and-white self-portraits in the landscape. She also photographed herself in color creating staged tableaus, not unlike Cindy Sherman’s fictional archetypes that satirize iconic roles thrust upon women by society.

Dater has explored the interpretive portrait genre from the beginning of her career to the present. Living and working in the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco during the 1960s, she was stimulated by feminism and other counter-culture movements (...

Article

Day, Frank Miles  

Sandra L. Tatman

(b Philadelphia, PA, April 5, 1861; d Philadelphia, PA, June 15, 1918).

American architect. One of a group of popular Philadelphia architects working at the turn of the century, Day distinguished himself as an architect applying an Arts and Crafts style and other English-derived styles to both residences and public buildings.

Day graduated from the Towne School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1883 and then undertook study in England at the South Kensington School of Art, the Royal Academy in London, the atelier of Walter Millard and the office of Basil Champneys. He returned to Philadelphia in 1886 and gained further experience working for architects George T. Pearson and Addison Hutton before establishing his own office in 1887. In 1893 his brother Henry Kent Day joined him, forming Frank Miles Day & Brother. In 1911 Charles Z. Klauder joined the firm and the name of the office became Day Brothers & Klauder. H. Kent Day retired soon after and the firm name was revised to Day & Klauder and the practice continued under the name until ...

Article

De Wolfe, Elsie  

Penny Sparke

(b New York, NY, Dec 20, 1865; d Versailles, July 12, 1950).

American interior decorator, active also in France. Born in New York, in the early 1890s she became a professional actress, wearing couture clothes on stage. Recognized as a better “clothes horse” than actress, she transformed herself, aged 40, into an interior decorator. This was partly made possible by the support of her female companion, Elizabeth Marbury, with whom she lived from the early 1890s until World War I, in a house in Irving Place, New York.

Although de Wolfe’s first major interior decorating project, the Colony Club (1905–7) in New York, was undertaken in a Colonial style, on the many projects that she undertook over the next decade across the USA, she used a revived French 18th-century style that was favored by her nouveau riche clients, among them Lolita and J. Ogden Armour, based in Chicago, and Ethel and William H. Crocker in California. In 1913 she wrote a highly successful decorating advice book, ...

Article

De Zayas, Marius  

Henry Adams

(b Veracruz, Mar 13, 1880; d Stamford, CT, Jan 10, 1961).

Mexican illustrator, writer, gallery owner, and publisher, active in the USA. He was the son of a wealthy Mexican lawyer and publisher. De Zayas started his career as an artist by providing drawings for his father’s newspaper in Veracruz. In 1906 he moved on to Mexico City’s leading newspaper, El Diario, but a year later, after the ascension of the dictator Porfirio Diaz, whom the newspaper had opposed, he fled to the USA. There he landed a position making caricatures for the New York Evening World. Shortly after his arrival in the USA, he came into contact with Alfred Stieglitz, who staged solo shows of De Zayas’s caricatures at his gallery Gallery 291 in 1909 and 1910, both of which proved to be huge popular successes.

In 1910 De Zayas traveled to Paris, where he stayed almost a year, scouting out adventurous forms of modern art for Stieglitz, notably the cubist work of Picasso and African sculpture. On his return, equipped with knowledge of European modern art and inspired by the work of the French modernist ...

Article

Dial, Thornton  

Jenifer P. Borum

(b Emelle, AL, Sept 10, 1928; d McCalla, AL, Jan 25, 2016).

African American painter and sculptor. Dial was born into poverty and left school at age nine to work various jobs, including fieldwork. At age ten, his mother gave up Thornton and his half-brother Arthur to be raised by their great-grandmother. Upon her death they were taken in by their aunt for two years, and then given to their great-aunt, Sarah Dial Lockett, in Bessemer, AL.

Throughout most of his life, Dial worked as a farmer, a gardener, a bricklayer, and a construction worker. He worked for the Bessemer Water Works for 13 years and the Pullman Standard for nearly 30 years. Dial’s labor gave him a great many skills that he would later apply to making artwork. He was handy with found objects and materials, often making cemetery decorations, as well as for his yard—both of which should be considered in the context of vernacular signifying practices within the African diaspora. Unfortunately, he buried or destroyed much of his early mixed-media yard work, as it often carried messages of social protest and could have been a source of trouble for him and his family. The practice of destroying his work changed when he met his future patron, the Atlanta collector Bill Arnett, in ...

Article

Dixon, C. Murray  

Jean-François Lejeune

(b Live Oak, FL, Feb 16, 1901; d Long Island, 1949).

American architect. Dixon studied at Georgia School of Technology in Atlanta (1918–20) and joined the firm of New York architects Schultze & Weaver in 1923, where he learned the practice of hotel architecture as “total design,” worked on projects such as the Roney Plaza Hotel on Miami Beach, and was introduced to the discipline of the Art Deco language by Lloyd Morgan. Returning to Florida in 1929, Dixon worked for George Fink, Phineas Paist, and Harold D. Steward before opening his office and building his first apartment-hotel (the Ester) on Miami Beach in 1933. Until 1942 Dixon was the foremost architectural innovator in Miami Beach where, along with colleagues such as Henry Hohauser, Albert Anis, and Roy France, he adapted the architectural innovations coming from Europe and New York to the middle-class programs of the southern resort; employing inexpensive construction techniques, Dixon created a its unique “vernacular modern” architectural fabric. Until Igor Polevitzky in the 1950s, Dixon was the most published Florida architect in such periodicals as ...