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Alcaraz-Laus, Rodolpho  

Mexican, 20th century, male.

Born 1936, in Mexico.

Artist. Multimedia.

Conceptual Art.

Alcaraz-Laus was noticed at the Biennale des Jeunes in Paris in 1971. Under the title Double 1, he presented an encounter between a dancer and that dancer's image, a conceptual production revolving around the theme of the body and its representation, one that was in favour at that time....

Article

Barrio, Artur  

Brazilian, 20th century, male.

Installation artist.

Conceptual Art.

Barrio participated in the debate on Neo-Constructivism that took place during the 1960s in Brazil. He has favoured poetic elements since then. He has taken part in collective exhibitions, such as the São Paulo Biennale in 1996...

Article

Barrios, Alvaro  

Eduardo Serrano

(b Cartagena, Oct 27, 1945).

Colombian painter, sculptor, and conceptual artist. He studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes of the University of Atlántico in Barranquilla, Colombia, from 1958 to 1960, and in Italy from 1966 to 1967 at the University of Perugia. In 1966, under the influence of Pop art, he made the first of a series of collages combining cut-outs of well-known individuals and comic strips with drawn elements. Two years later he added frosty effects and velvet flowers to his interpretations in black and red ink of figures with distorted bodies and the faces of film stars. In 1969 he began to present these in increasingly three-dimensional boxes or glass cases, accompanied by clouds of cotton wool, plastic figures, and other additions that combined to make up fantastic or nostalgic scenes, dream-like and surrealist in appearance and tone.

Barrios was among those who introduced conceptual art to Colombia, for example by publishing in newspapers a series of ...

Article

Bonillas, Iñaki  

Manuel Cirauqui

(b Mexico City, 1981).

Mexican conceptual artist. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bonillas started his career before, and instead of, undertaking an official fine arts education. Widely and internationally exhibited before he reached age 20, his work began with highly analytical studies of ordinary photographic procedures such as printing (in his foundational piece, Trabajos fotográficos, 1998) or pressing the shutter (Diez cámaras documentadas acústicamente, 1998).

Bonillas’s work investigates the materiality and semiotic depth of the photographic medium in a somewhat topographic manner: starting, and never ending, in a periphery that stands ambiguously as both the material margins of photography as well as its self-reflective dimension. However, the “peripheral” nature of Bonillas’s inquiry quickly reveals itself as a strategy to address core aspects of a medium whose substance lies, precisely, on its surface. As the artist exerts infinite variations on generic aspects of the photographic practice, alternately related to structure and meaning (primary colors, family photographs, erasures, captioning, fiction, archival habits, etc.), he delivers a paradox with each of his works. In them, background becomes foreground, face becomes pigment, anecdote becomes the main theme, stain becomes signature, and vice versa....

Article

Brugnoli, Francisco  

Chilean, 20th century, male.

Born 1935.

Painter.

Conceptual Art.

Brugnoli originated the earliest manifestations of Conceptual Art in Chile from 1960 to 1970, creating the group Studio of the Visual Arts, which aimed to address man and his social identity by producing works that had everyday objects at their centre....

Article

Bryce, Fernando  

Daniel R. Quiles

(b Lima, Mar 13, 1965).

Peruvian draftsman and conceptual artist. Between the years 1981 and 1984, he studied in Lima in the studio of the sculptor Cristina Gálvez (1919–1982) at the Facultad de Arte at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, and later with the painter Leslie Lee. Between 1984 and 1986 he studied art at Université Paris VIII, and, between 1986 and 1990, in Christian Boltanski’s workshop at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In the 1990s, living between Lima and Berlin, Bryce began to foreground the archive as theme and source material in his practice. His paintings, Cronologías (1997–1998), were based on the media coverage of the era in which Alberto Fujimori was president of Peru (1990–2000). In 1999 he simplified this approach with Untitled, using only black ink on paper, the first example of Bryce’s signature style, which he called análisis mimético (mimetic analysis): the meticulous copying of images or documents from archives, often in large selections. ...

Article

Caldas, Waltercio Junior  

Brazilian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1946.

Painter (mixed media), sculptor.

Conceptual Art.

Waltercio Caldas Junior has taken part in group exhibitions including the Art from Brazil in New York exhibition shown in various museums and galleries in 1995 and the São Paulo Biennale in ...

Article

Camnitzer, Luis  

Julia Detchon

(b Lübeck, 1937).

Uruguayan conceptual artist, critic, educator, and curator of German birth, active in the USA. Of Jewish ancestry, he fled with his family to Uruguay in 1939. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1953–1957 and 1959–1962, working with students to reform the school’s curriculum. In 1961, a Guggenheim fellowship took him to New York to study printmaking. Though he retained his Uruguayan citizenship, he settled permanently in New York, where he taught at the Pratt Graphics Art Center; co-founded the New York Graphic Workshop in 1964 with Liliana Porter (b 1941) and José Guillermo Castillo (1938–1999); and in 1971 helped establish New York’s Museo Latinoamericano and its subsequent splinter group, the Movimiento de Independencia Cultural de Latino América. From the 1970s, political repression in Latin America inspired a series of conceptual installations that addressed such issues as language, identity, freedom, political violence, and the role of art. For Camnitzer, the task of the artist was to identify and express the problems that surrounded him, transforming art into a political instrument. His questioning of traditional values applied not only to the themes of his work, but to its material form; employing objects of little intrinsic value, he rejected traditional notions of art as beautiful and of commercial worth....

Article

Clark, Lygia  

Brazilian, 20th century, female.

Born 23 October 1920, in Belo Horizonte; died 1988.

Sculptor, painter.

Neo-Constructivism, Conceptual Art, Body Art.

Grupo Frente.

Clark studied in Brazil under the direction of Burle-Marx in 1947, then went to Paris in 1948 and worked with Fernand Léger, Arpad Szenes and Dabrinsky. In ...

Article

Conceptualism in Latin America  

Daniel R. Quiles

Conceptualism designates art for which the “concept”—as idea, information, language, action, experience, or documentation—defines the work more so than any painting, sculpture, or other object that may be a component (see also Conceptual art). In Latin America, conceptualism has not been a single movement so much as a tendency found in multiple milieux since the 1960s. The earliest works date to the early 1960s, taking the form of actions and participatory situations that used prevailing genres as points of departure. In Brazil, neo-concrete artists such as Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica systematically folded their paintings off the wall into three-dimensional space, gradually calibrating them for manipulation by viewers (see also Concrete art in Latin America and Neoconcretism). In December 1959 critic Ferreira Gullar coined the term “non-object” to describe an artwork “freed from any signification outside the event of its own apparition” that yields “a synthesis of sensorial and mental experiences” (Asbury ...

Article

Costa, Eduardo  

Daniel R. Quiles

(b Buenos Aires, Oct 5, 1940).

Argentine poet, critic, conceptual artist, painter, and sculptor. He studied literature at the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), graduating in 1964. Between 1959 and 1966 he co-published the literary magazine Airón (Heron) with Madela Ezcurra, Leandro Katz, and other former students of Jaime Rest (1927–1979) at UBA’s Philosophy and Literature Department. In 1965 he joined a group of young intellectuals studying semiotics and media theory with the theorist Oscar Masotta (1930–1979). In 1966, working with fellow Masotta associates Raúl Escari (1944–2016) and Roberto Jacoby (b 1944), Costa co-wrote Un arte de los medios de comunicación, a manifesto for inserting works of informational art within the circuits of the mass media. This text accompanied the trio’s first work of this new genre, Happening para un jabalí difunto (Happening for a Dead Boar, 1966; 2014 exh. cat., 29), a fictional description of a happening distributed to different Argentine newspapers and magazines followed by an explanation one month later, in which the artists wrote: “[A]ll that matters is the image that the news media construct out of this artistic occurrence” (see Costa ...

Article

Davidovich, Jaime  

Daniel R. Quiles

(b Buenos Aires, Sept 29, 1936; d New York, Aug 27, 2016).

Argentine painter, installation artist, conceptual artist, and video artist, active also in the USA. He is best known as experimental producer of early public-access cable programming. In 1946, at the age of 14, he began an apprenticeship with the artist Simón Feldman, an exponent of the teachings of André Lhote, an original member of the Section d’Or group in Paris who saw Cubism’s precepts as repeatable and teachable. Davidovich’s earliest exhibited paintings, c. 1950, demonstrate Lhotean figuration, but after seeing Mark Rothko and other abstract expressionists at the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio in 1956, he quickly transitioned to gestural abstraction, the first in a career-long series of shifts in search of the most avant-garde styles or media. In 1960 Davidovich was recruited by the Arturo Frondizi government in Argentina to teach advanced art in Bahía Blanca, although he continued to exhibit regularly in Buenos Aires with the Arte Nuevo avant-gardes. In this period, he studied painting at the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires in ...

Article

Dias, Antonio  

Brazilian, 20th century, male.

Active in Italy from 1968.

Born 1944, in Paraiba.

Painter.

Conceptual Art, Neo-Constructivism, Figuration Narrative.

Dias' early works were inspired by the geometric abstraction of Torres García. Between 1965 and 1968 he produced paintings and montages glorifying violence in a visual language influenced by Pop Art, and after ...

Article

Fernández, Teresita  

Amy Rosenblum Martín

(b Miami, FL, May 12, 1968).

Cuban American conceptual artist. Known for her immersive installations and grand public art projects that represent natural phenomena, Fernández explored the potential of artifice to create authentic perceptual and psychological effects, and to reveal the degree to which reality is constructed. From 1997 she resided in Brooklyn, New York, and visited Japan for work almost yearly. She earned her BFA at Florida International University, Miami (1990) and her MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (1992). She received a MacArthur Foundation“Genius Grant” (2005) and was the first Latina to serve on the US Commission of Fine Arts (2011–2014).

In her installations and public sculptures Fernández made sublime, abstracted waterfalls, wisteria, fire, stars, pools, ocean, beach, sand dunes, sunset, aurora borealis, bamboo, gardens, snow, clouds, fog, and dew. Her clearly artificial “nature” uncannily feels more real than reality. The experience of viewing her work shifts from seeing paint fade up a wall to being overtaken by the feeling of standing on a misty ...

Article

Ferrari, León  

Iliana Cepero

(b Buenos Aires, Sept 3, 1920; d Buenos Aires, Jul 24, 2013).

Argentine conceptual artist, poet, and sculptor. In 1947 Ferrari earned his bachelor degree in Engineering at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Between 1952 and 1955, while in Italy seeking medical treatment for his daughter, Ferrari began to experiment with ceramics, and exhibited work in Rome and Milan. In early 1960s, back in Argentina, he began to make wire sculptures and written drawings. During his fifteen-year exile in Brazil from 1976 to 1985, he experimented with a great range of media and art practices, from sculptures, drawings, etchings, collages of pictures and bird excrement, and sound-making sculptures (berimbau) to mail art, videotext, and photocopy. By the 1990s he produced his so-called “deformed calligraphies,” written paintings and electronic art, along with collages that skillfully combined Christian iconography, contemporary events, oriental erotica, and texts in Braille. Ferrari’s work often expresses a provocative social and political critique against war, Christianity, abuses of power, the West’s moral double standards, and the bourgeois character of art institutions....

Article

Gomes, Fernanda  

Brazilian, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1960, in Rio de Janeiro.

Installation artist, assemblage artist.

Conceptual Art.

Fernanda Gomes lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. She produces works of great restraint that evoke life and material reality through objects, simple materials that she disperses, apparently at random, on the ground and on a wall. She is interested in the transparency of the object, in paper, in the cracks in a piece of stone; she makes two plates suspended on threads relate to one another; she uses cigarette paper and eggs, showing a preference for leftovers, for scraps, offering these waste items a glorious new existence.She has taken part in group exhibitions including: ...

Article

Greco, Alberto  

Horacio Safons

(b Buenos Aires, Jan 14, 1915; d Barcelona, Oct 14, 1965).

Argentine painter, sculptor, performance artist, conceptual artist, poet, and illustrator. After studying in Buenos Aires at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes and with Cecilia Marcovich and Tomás Maldonado, he quickly established a reputation for his scandalous views, attracting extreme disapproval and equally strong support. After delivering a lecture at the Juan Cristóbal bookshop, Buenos Aires, entitled “Alberto Greco y los pájaros” he was briefly imprisoned for his “Communism and subversive acts.” On his release in the same year he travelled to Paris on a French government grant, selling drawings and watercolors in the cafés and studying painting with Fernand Léger and printmaking with Johnny Friedlaender. Between 1956 and 1958 he lived in São Paulo, where he became aware of Art informel; he painted in this style in the late 1950s and early 1960s (Glusberg 1985, 284–285).

As early as 1959, when he had returned from São Paulo to Buenos Aires, Greco had expressed his corrosive vision of society through the form of his work. In his shows he exhibited tree trunks and rags for cleaning window gratings or floors. He moved again to Paris in ...

Article

Grippo, Victor  

Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Born 1936, in Junín (Province of Buenos Aires); died 2002.

Sculptor, assemblage artist, installation artist, performance artist. Still-lifes.

Conceptual Art.

Victor Grippo was influenced by the 'poor theatre' promoted by Grotowski at a conference in Argentina and specialised in creating boxes attached to walls and particularly tables. These range from desks covered in quotations from Argentinian writers to farmers', carpenters' and stonemasons' tables, dining tables with crockery and food and in particular potatoes, which are a recurring motif in his work, sometimes associated with electricity....

Article

Hastings, Raphael  

Peruvian, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 1945.

Mixed media.

Conceptual Art, Mail Art.

In 1971, Raphael Hastings took part in the Young Artists Biennale in Paris which mounted an event involving Mail Art, the artistic and conceptual media fashionable at the time, of which Hastings himself was an exponent. He held a solo exhibition in ...

Article

Henríquez, Quisqueya  

Amy Rosenblum Martín

(b Havana, Jun 21, 1966).

Cuban conceptual artist, active in the Dominican Republic. Henríquez explored aesthetic politics by combining art and popular culture with design savvy and wit to counter neocolonialist, racist, and gender hierarchies. She studied under 1980s Cuban Renaissance artists and received her MFA from Instituto Superior de Arte, Havana (1992). She went on to collaborate with Consuelo Castañeda (1989–1996). Henríquez lived in Mexico and Miami (1991–1997), then returned to her intermittent home Santo Domingo. ARTnews (September 2007) named Henríquez one of twenty-five art world trendsetters.

Henríquez challenged center/periphery power dynamics, crossing northern art history with Dominican street styles or examining First and Third World intellectual exchange. Her conceptualism asked questions like whose aesthetic criteria counts, where. She also thought beyond center/periphery dualities to deconstruct power relations. She challenged gender and nationalist stereotyping together with her feminized collages of hyper-masculine newspaper images of Dominican baseball stars abroad. She compared foreign and local representations of “Dominicaness.” To address insider Dominican–Haitian tension, she videotaped two Haitian construction workers in the Dominican Republic playing catch with a cement block whose game devolves into exhaustion. In another series, she reoriented the geographical poles of marginalization from North–South to East–West by comparing California and New York art. Yet another artwork was a model of multiple, movable centers: viewers wheel around on stools emblazoned with a photograph of an umbilicus....