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Article

Adnan, Etel  

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

Grgich, Anne  

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1961, in Los Angeles.

Painter, draughtswoman. Figures, animals. Artists' books.

Following a serious car accident, Anne Grgich joined a fanatical religious sect in Portland (Oregon) and, later, frequented the punk and drugs sub-culture of San Francisco. She gave up drugs in ...

Article

Lee, Mingwei  

Rhana Devenport

(b Taichung, Feb 16, 1964).

Taiwanese conceptual artist, active also in the USA. From the age of six, Lee Mingwei spent six summers training and living under the care of a Ch’an Buddhist monk in the mountains near Taichung. These experiences of quietude, compassionate behavior, and attentiveness to the quotidian aspects of life were formative in his development as an artist. Lee studied biology and architecture before completing a BFA Hons (Textile Art) from California College of Arts in 1993, and a MFA (Sculpture) from Yale University Graduate School of Fine Arts in 1997. Lee’s first major public presence, a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 1998, received acclaim, and he soon began presenting projects in biennales and museums throughout Australia, Asia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe. His first major survey was presented by Mori Art Museum in 2015 and toured to Taipei and Auckland....

Article

Neshat, Shirin  

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

Ney, Alexander  

Russian, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 27 September 1939, in Leningrad, Soviet Union (now St Petersburg, Russia).

Sculptor.

From 1954 until 1957, Alexander Ney studied at the Secondary Art School of the Ilya Repin Institute for Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in Leningrad. While he was trained in the official style of Socialist Realism, Ney resisted this restriction, developing alternative artistic practices. When continuing his studies at the Art School of the Surikov Institute in Moscow in ...

Article

Rand, Archie  

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1949, in Chicago.

Painter, draughtsman, illustrator, lithographer. Religious subjects, musical subjects.

Archie Rand first studied at the Chicago Art Institute and then at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles. He established his position as a contemporary artist while still a teenager, with his ...

Article

Serrano, Andres  

American, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 8 August 1950 in New York City.

Photographer.

Andres Serrano was born in New York to an Afro-Caribbean mother and a white Honduran father, who raised him as a strict Roman Catholic. He attended the Brooklyn Museum Art School from 1967 to 1969...

Article

Zakariya, Mohamed  

Margaret Graves

(b. Ventura, California, 1942).

American calligrapher. Having converted to Islam in the 1960s while still a teenager, he studied Islamic calligraphy, training with A. S. Ali Nour in Tangier, Morocco, and later studying at the British Museum in London. In the 1980s he felt his work had reached a plateau and decided to re-learn the art of calligraphy in the Ottoman style. Hence in 1984 he went to Istanbul to train with the Turkish calligraphers Hasan Çelebi and Ali Alparslan at the Research Center for Islamic History, Art, and Culture (IRCICA), where he was tutored in thuluth, naskh and nasta‛līq scripts. In 1997 he became the first American to receive an icazet or diploma from IRCICA for his abilities as a calligrapher. His calligraphic works are executed within meticulously observed traditional modes, reflected also in his insistence on making his own reed and bamboo pens. His works typically reflect the traditions of the Ottoman masters of the 19th century, with illuminations in the Turkish Baroque style. A pioneer in the field of Islamic calligraphy in the USA, his works have been exhibited widely in the USA and the Middle East. He has also revived the ancient art of making astrolabes, and examples of this aspect of his work are held in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the USA. Based for many years in Arlington, Virginia, in ...

Article

Zelevansky, Paul  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 10 September 1946, in Brooklyn, New York.

Book artist, educator. Computer and video art.

Paul Zelevansky received his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and his MA and EdD in arts education from Columbia Teachers College. While attending Carnegie Mellon, Zelevansky met his wife Lynn, a prominent curator and director of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh....