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Article

Ben  

Swiss, 20th century, male.

Active from 1949 active in France.

Born 18 July 1935, in Naples, to an Irish mother and a Swiss-French father.

Painter (mixed media), installation artist.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus, Conceptual Art, Mail Art.

Ben spent periods in Turkey, Egypt and Greece before settling in Nice in 1949. At the age of 16 he broke off his studies, working in a bookshop and then becoming a second-hand goods dealer. However, Ben never ceased to contemplate the legacy created by Marcel Duchamp and the consequences of the ...

Article

Beuys, Joseph  

German, 20th century, male.

Born 1921, in Krefeld; died 23 January 1986, in Düsseldorf.

Performance artist, installation artist, assemblage artist, engraver.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus, Conceptual Art.

Joseph Beuys spent his youth in Cleves. Relatively little is known about his early years, but he is thought to have begun studying natural sciences when he was mobilised in 1941 as a bomber pilot in the Luftwaffe. In winter 1943, his plane was shot down over the Russian steppes near Sevastopol. According to Beuys, some Tatars found him buried in the cabin wreckage and just managed to save his life by smearing the wounds of his half-frozen body with animal fat and wrapping him in felt. There is some doubt as to the truth of parts of this story, but certainly the metaphorical power of the fat and felt became a recurring theme throughout the rest of his career....

Article

Filliou, Robert  

Vanina Costa

(b Sauve, Gard, Jan 17, 1926; d les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, nr Périgueux, Dec 2, 1987).

French performance artist, conceptual artist and writer. He studied economics and science at the University of California at Los Angeles from 1948 to 1951, but he was self-taught as an artist. Having first worked as a playwright during the second half of the 1950s, in 1960 he presented the first of his performances incorporating poetry. By 1962 he was involved with the Fluxus movement; sharing his fellow artists’ distaste for marketable art objects, he not only continued to create performances and other ephemeral works but also involved himself in conceptual gestures such as the foundation of a ‘République Géniale’. He made films and videos, sent enigmatic objects through the post as a form of correspondence art and worked against traditional ideas about the individuality of the artist by working collaboratively with others: in 1964 he and Joachim Pfeufer created the Poïpoïdrome, a group researching ‘permanent creation’ and the ‘principle of equivalence’, and in ...

Article

Filliou, Robert  

French, 20th century, male.

Active also active in Germany.

Born 1926, in Sauve; died 2 December 1987, in Les Eyzies (Dordogne).

Installation artist, performance artist, video artist. Multimedia.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus, Conceptual Art, Mail Art (forerunner).

The French artist Robert Filliou was closely associated with the Fluxus group, his career embracing French, German and American developments. Having moved to the USA in ...

Article

Hompson, Davi Det  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 7 August 1939, in Sharon (Pennsylvania); died 8 December 1996, in Richmond (Virginia).

Printmaker, painter, installation artist. Artists’ books.

Conceptual Art. Fluxus.

Davi Det Hompson was primarily known for making artists’ books, at a time in the 1970s when they had become a significant medium for artists in the Conceptualist tradition. Hompson studied at Anderson College in Indiana, and received an MFA in graphic design from Indiana University-Bloomington in ...

Article

McCollum, Allan  

Margaret Barlow

(b Los Angeles, CA, Aug 4, 1944).

American sculptor. He did not have a formal art education. McCollum has stated that formative influence in his work included the Fluxus movement of the 1960s and the work of conceptual artists, such as Sol LeWitt and Daniel Buren. In 1975 he moved to New York. Departing from the notion of a work of art as a rare object of unique value, he introduced a procedure of studio manufacture of precast models made in unlimited editions. The series of Perfect Vehicles (exh. New York, Cash–Newhouse Gal., 1986) comprised small versions, cast in solid enhanced plaster (Hydrocal), of larger vessels that were sealed and painted in Moorglo on concrete, and first shown in the 1988 Venice Bienniale. Over 10,000 Individual Works (exh. New York, John Weber Gal., 1987) comprised precise rows of miniature units moulded from found objects, painted in enamel on solid-cast Hydrocal. McCollum scrupulously avoided aspects of ironical parody typical of Pop art. His works were not presented as decorative accessories or social commentary but as physical signs of the mechanical drives of existence—of repetitious behaviour and patterns of market-based relationships. For his ...

Article

Panamarenko  

Lucius Grisebach

(b Antwerp, Feb 5, 1940).

Belgian conceptual artist. He adopted the pseudonym Panamarenko at the outset of his artistic career. He studied at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp (1955–60), and at the National Hoger Instituut, Antwerp (1962–4). He was active in various Happenings in Antwerp between 1964 and 1966. With friends Hugo Heyrman (b 1942), Bernd Lohaus (b 1940) and Wout Vercammen (b 1938) among others, he produced a photocopied magazine called Happening News (c. 1964–6). From 1966 to 1968 he made what he called ‘poetic objects’, which included such quiet, contemplative works as Snow (leather bag, rubber boots, twigs and snow, 1966; priv. col., see 1978 exh. cat., p. 98) and Moths in Reeds (moths, reeds and motor, 1967; Naarden, Becht Col., see 1978 exh. cat., p. 103), and also a large, bicycle-driven structure, Aeroplane (aluminium and mixed media, 1967...

Article

Schippers, Wim T(heodoor)  

John Steen

(b Groningen, July 1, 1942).

Dutch conceptual artist, film maker and television actor. He started to experiment with different coloured smoke in 1957. From the 1960s he was active as a Fluxus composer. In 1961 with Ger van Elk and the photographer Bob Wesdorp he founded the Adynamische Groep, which primarily reacted against post-war Expressionism. In 1962 he was given an exhibition at the Fodor Museum, Amsterdam, for which he covered the floor of a room with a 100 mm layer of salt and another with a few tonnes of broken glass. In pursuit of performance art, in 1963 he instigated a happening: he emptied a bottle of lemonade in the sea outside Petten, an action broadcast by Dutch television. In the same year he made a television programme about contemporary art (e.g. Fluxus, Pop art, Zero). Also in 1963 the fire brigade banned the performance of his Economic Concert (1958), which consisted of one single explosion on stage. Two years later he displayed a 5 m high purple chair in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam and organized an exhibition called ...

Article

Sherman, Stuart  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 9 November 1945, in Providence (Rhode Island); died 14 September 2001, in San Francisco.

Sculptor, performance artist, installation artist, video artist, film maker.

Fluxus, Conceptual Art.

Stuart Sherman wrote poems and worked as an actor in the Fluxus group of avant-garde theatre companies in the USA in the 1960s. He was a friend and also later a companion of the writer Carson McCullers. His artistic activity began about ...