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Article

Midori Yoshimoto

(b New York, NY, 1933).

American printmaker, sound artist and performance artist. She was one of the founding members of Fluxus, the international avant-garde collective formed in 1962. Transferring from Middlebury College to Pratt Institute in New York, Knowles studied painting and drawing with Adolph Gottlieb and Richard Lindner and graduated in 1956. By the late 1950s she had lost interest in painting and burnt all her early paintings in a bonfire. It was then that she befriended artists Dick Higgins (1938–98), George Brecht and composer John Cage whose meditation on everyday life and music of indeterminacy inspired her to pursue a new artistic path.

After marrying in 1960, Knowles and Higgins were invited by George Maciunas to perform in the Fluxus inaugural concert series in Europe. There Knowles started to write her “Propositions,” radical reinterpretation of Cagean text scores, which transferred the artistic agency to the audience. Among her early events, Make a Salad...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b York, PA, Jan 21, 1955).

American sculptor, painter, and multimedia artist. He trained at Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore (BA 1976), and worked as a Wall Street commodities broker before embarking upon his career as an artist. In the 1980s he won international recognition as a radical exponent of Neo-Geo, an American movement concerned with appropriation and parody. Following the example of Pop artists of the 1960s, Koons used his work to reflect the commercial systems of the modern world. He also referred back to the Duchampian tradition, appropriating an art status to selected products (see Appropriation art). His vacuum cleaners encased in Perspex (1980–81; see 1993 exh. cat., pls 5–9) were classified as monuments to sterility. His immaculate replicas of domestic products, advertisements, kitsch toys, and models exercised an enthusiastic endorsement of unlimited consumption, unlike the veiled criticism of some work of the first generation of Pop artists. Koons perceived Western civilization as a driven society, flattered by narcissistic images and with a voracious appetite for glamorous commodities. In his expressions of the ecstatic and the banal he did not hesitate to breach the borderlines of taste; in the body of work titled ...

Article

Elaine O’Brien

(b Vienna, 1970).

Austrian performance and multimedia installation artist. Krystufek studied at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna (1988). Her oeuvre is an extended ‘bad girl’ interrogation of female identity at the interactive site of seeing and being seen. Her method has been to expose to the viewer’s gaze her young body, ego and life: Krystufek’s sole, obsessive subject. She is most famous for works that break taboos of privacy, such as the 1997 video, Share the Night, in which she exposed her erotic life with the nonchalance of a porn star, and her genitals as deliberately as the anonymous model in Courbet’s Origin of the World (1866; Japan, priv. col.). However, as a neo-feminist Krystufek makes roles of mastery and domination interactive and plays both parts. Her most notorious performances breach barriers of propriety inside the gallery spaces she creates. In 1994 she masturbated before an audience as part of her installation ...

Article

(b Antwerp, Nov 17, 1945).

Belgian sculptor, video artist and installation artist. She studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et des Arts Visuels in Brussels (1975–8). Lafontaine first became known for her large, imposing, monochromatic woven-textile sculptures (e.g. Black Monochrome, cotton, 2.0×2.5 m, 1976; Ghent, Mus. Hedendaag. Kst). She was influenced by the work of such artists as Robert Ryman and Brice Marden and their ideas about the material nature of both colour and support. In 1979 she made her first video work, The Pile-driver, for an exhibition at the International Cultural Centre in Antwerp. As with her woven sculptures, the theme of repetition was central to this and subsequent videos. Repetition of the image and the slowing down of the speed of the film disrupted any narrative and also set up a rhythm that underlined its sensuous and material nature. Lafontaine’s decision to work with video installations enabled her to develop an interest in the closely related phenomena of aggression and desire: ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Palmer, MA, 1962).

American painter, sculptor, and video artist. He completed an MFA at the Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT, in 1986. His paintings typically incorporate banal, confessional text and mundane, kitsch imagery, exploring an obsession with the inseparability of art and life. Text first appeared in his second solo exhibition (New York, Postmasters Gal., 1991), for which he hand-wrote short confessional narratives on sheets of yellow paper, shown attached directly to the gallery wall. Surrounding several clay busts on pedestals, wrapped in plastic, these were presented as the creations of a young, unsuccessful sculptor, Chris Hamson, Lander’s disaffected alter-ego. His concern with sincerity and authorship was continued in later paintings, as well as in a hand-written autobiographical book, [sic] (1995), a rambling, badly written account that caricatures his own unrealistic ambitions and talentlessness. Paintings of the mid-1990s, such as Self Something (oil on canvas, 2.74×4.27 m, 1994...

Article

Mark A. Castro

(b Mexico City, Nov 5, 1956)

Mexican painter, draftsman, engraver, and video artist. From 1976 to 1980 Lara studied visual arts at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas (ENAP). Her first exhibition, entitled Scissors, was held at ENAP in 1977 and consisted of ten cartoon drawings and an artist’s book.

Lara’s work during the late 1970s explored the conditions of women in Mexican society, interrogating everyday household objects—irons and ironing boards, refrigerators, baby bottles—and their role as traditional symbols of femininity. Her later paintings further examine female identity via images of flowers, often distorted to convey both beauty and horror.

In addition to painting, Lara is known for her artist’s books and has spoken to the deep relationship in her practice between literature and the visual arts. A series of engravings entitled Alzheimer (2007), exhibited at the Museo de la Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público in Mexico City, explore the construction and unraveling of memory. The series later inspired one of the artist’s video animations, ...

Article

Laser  

Frank Popper

Device used to amplify light to an intense beam of a very pure single colour by stimulated emission of radiation. The theoretical basis for the technique of the laser was calculated by Albert Einstein in 1917, but it was not until 1960 that Theodore H. Maiman created the first active laser, using a synthetic ruby crystal. For practical and economic reasons the pulse ruby lasers were largely replaced by continuous wave gas lasers in their helium-neon, argon ion or krypton argon ion versions. The artistic applications of the laser appeared from 1965 in three main areas: in combined visual and aural productions, in long-distance environmental plastic displays and in holography (see Hologram).

Large-scale productions such as Video/Laser I, II, III, which took place in Oakland, CA (1969), Osaka, Japan (1970), and in several European towns in 1971–2, were the collective work of the sculptor and physicist ...

Article

Margo Machida

(b Guangzhou, China, Sept 15, 1948).

Chinese multimedia artist. Raised in Hong Kong and Macau, Lee immigrated to the United States in 1973 to attend the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio (BFA 1977), followed by graduate studies at Syracuse University (1977–9). Moving to New York City in 1979, he became actively involved with the burgeoning downtown Manhattan arts community, where he created Graffiti and poster art, as well as outdoor slide theater works. Beginning in the 1980s, Lee co-founded three New York-based arts collectives: Epoxy Art Group (1981–7), Godzilla: Asian American Art Network (1990–2001) and Tomato Grey (2009). The first, Epoxy Art Group, involved project-oriented collaborations with artists from mainland China, Canada and Hong Kong that reflected their intersecting standpoints as Chinese living in the West. Godzilla: Asian American Art Network was a pan-Asian, intergenerational art group. Most recently, with Tomato Grey, Lee became involved with a new cohort of contemporary immigrant artists who endeavor to foster cultural exchange between arts practitioners in Hong Kong and New York City. Lee was a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in New York (...

Article

Courtney Gerber

(b Norfolk, VA, Oct 11, 1957).

American multimedia conceptual artist. Due to her father’s position in the United States Marines, Lemieux spent the first years of her childhood moving from one southern military base to the next; however, she mostly spent the early 1960s growing up in Torrington, CT. Lemieux received her BFA in painting from Hartford Art School, University of Hartford, CT (1980), after which she promptly moved to New York. In 1983 she was severely injured after being hit by a van and temporarily lost the coordination and mobility necessary to continue producing the large geometric paintings that had occupied her energies since leaving Hartford. Lemieux’s mind, however, was still active and she found that by approaching art-making from a conceptual standpoint she was free to explore new ways of physically realizing her artistic intent. In 1984 the painter David Salle, Lemieux’s former teacher for whom she also worked as a studio assistant, selected her for the exhibition ...

Article

Michelle Yun

(b Bronx, NY, April 20, 1960).

African American multimedia artist. His work deals with issues surrounding sexuality, race, identity, language and representation. Ligon attended the Rhode Island School of Design in 1980 but ultimately received a BA in 1982 from Wesleyan University in Middleton, CT. He subsequently participated in the Whitney Independent Studies program in 1985.

Ligon’s work primarily focuses on the experience of the individual in relation to the collective through the construction of black identity in America. His use of language as a visual device was first introduced in the Dreambook series from 1988 to 1990. This period served as a transition from his early abstract compositions to conceptually based, monochromatic, text based work. Paintings, such as Untitled (I Feel Most Colored When I Am Thrown Against a Sharp White Background) (1990–91), were exclusively constructed by the repetition of a phrase by authors including Zora Neal Hurston and Ralph Ellison, as well as risqué jokes using stereotypes about African American sexuality by Richard Pryor. Ligon applied each line by hand with plastic stencils and black oil stick on a white ground. As the rows progressed downwards, the wet oil stick smudged the surface until the words became unreadable....

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Halifax, Yorks, 1964).

English video artist. She studied Fine Art at Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic (1984–7). Lloyd is most recognized for video art which blends the performative, the theatrical and the documentary, yet in her earliest work she brought these qualities to other media. She first worked with photo-collage, and in 1993 produced a purely text-based piece for the mail art project Imprint 93, entitled E1, which documented a series of random encounters she had had with strangers. Following this she began to produce the real-time video pieces for which she is best known. Picture This (1993) is typical of the ways in which the early video pieces documented bodily activity: here the focus is the torso of a woman dancing to a record. Her work in the late 1990s elaborated on this form, using non-actors to perform sometimes banal, sometimes theatrical activities for a static camera. Maddy and Kate...

Article

Daniel E. Mader

(b New York, Jan 7, 1953).

American painter, draughtsman, sculptor, video artist, and performance artist. He received his BFA (1975) from the State University College in Buffalo, NY, with a professed ambition to reach the largest possible audience. Living this prophetic statement throughout his more than 30-year career, Longo first achieved fame in the 1980s with a series of large-scale drawings in charcoal and graphite entitled Men in the Cities (New York, Metro Pictures). These images were life-size human figures in isolation or in groups, wherein the power struggles created a menacing atmosphere.

During the late 1980s he was increasingly involved with film, directing Arena Brains (30 minutes, 1988) and later Johnny Mnemonic with Keanu Reeves (98 minutes, 1995). A regular international exhibitor, often using both controversial and intimidating scale, he exhibited a 1993 drawing series Bodyhammers: The Cult of the Gun (New York, Metro Pictures; Salzburg, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac). He exhibited in the Venice Biennale (...

Article

Jeffrey Martin

Medium utilizing oxidized metal particles carried on a flexible substrate, in order to record an electronic signal, most commonly in the form of audiotape or videotape. Magnetic tape is also used in computers for the storage of data, but this usage is unlikely to be encountered in an art conservation context.

Magnetic recording tape generally is made up of a plastic film base (most tapes, including all videotapes, have a base of polyester terephthalate (PET)), coated on one side with a binder system containing oxidized metal particles. Often, recording tape will also have what is known as a backcoating on the reverse side, which reduces friction, dissipates the buildup of static electricity, and allows for the tape to be more evenly wound. Some early audiotapes had paper backing, while others may also have a backing of acetate plastic, which is subject to the same deterioration factors as acetate photographic film, including so-called ‘vinegar syndrome’. The binder layer, the most critical component of the recording tape, usually consists of metal particles suspended in a binder of polyester and polyurethane, although it can contain numerous other chemicals. Different manufacturers have used different binder formulations, and changed them frequently over time. For this reason, some tapes may be more subject to deterioration than others of similar age and format. In the 1980s, manufacturers began to produce tapes with no binder polymer, but instead a very thin layer of metal alloy evaporated onto the tape base, known as ‘metal evaporated’ or ME tapes. The binder system may also contain lubricants designed to minimize friction as the tape passes through a recording or playback device....

Article

Robin Adèle Greeley

(b Culiacán, Sinaloa, 1963).

Mexican multimedia and installation artist. A key figure in the generation of Mexican artists that emerged in the 1990s, Margolles studied forensic medicine and communication sciences at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, and was a founding member of the death metal band and performance collective, Semefo (1990–1999), before commencing her independent artistic career. Margolles’s aesthetics consistently focus on the social violence revealed by death, using her experiences as a forensic technician in Mexico City’s morgue to probe the brutality structurally inherent in contemporary urban society.

Margolles’s trajectory can be roughly divided into three periods: her membership in Semefo; her solo work using the city morgue as her studio; and, subsequently, her aesthetic responses to the unfettered violence induced by Mexico’s drug wars.

In Semefo (which took its name from the acronym for Servicio Médico Forense [“Forensic Medical Service”: the city morgue]), Margolles and her colleagues staged macabre art-action performances filled with blood, excrement, entrails, and dead animals, aimed at transgressing the boundaries of the body. These grotesque manifestations sought to explore the transformations experienced by bodies after death, or what Semefo called the “life of the corpse” (...

Article

Dennis Raverty

(b Birmingham, AL, Oct 17, 1955).

African American painter, writer, film production designer, and multimedia installation artist. Marshall’s works portray idealized subjects derived from African American experience in large-scale, multiple-figure paintings and installations that share many characteristics with European history painting in the “grand manner” of Peter Paul Rubens, Benjamin West, Jacques-Louis David, and the 19th-century academic tradition. This “high culture” Euro-American tradition is juxtaposed with elements of African American vernacular culture in order to reinsert African American subjects and aesthetics into the larger mainstream of America’s artistic and cultural history—a history from which, the artist believes, blacks have been largely excluded.

Marshall was born in Birmingham, AL, one of the most segregated cities in the United States at that time, and the site of civil rights demonstrations in the early 1960s. He moved with his parents in 1963 to Nickerson Gardens public housing project in Watts, CA, just a few years before the riots there. Consequently, the struggles of the civil rights movement profoundly affected him and are a major theme in his mature work....

Article

Rodrigo Moura

(b São Paulo, 1974).

Brazilian multimedia and installation artist. Matheus graduated from the Escola de Comunicações e Artes of the Universidad de São Paulo, where he was a student of Ana Maria Tavares (b 1958), in 2011. This training gave him an analytical approach in relation to the art object and its place in the art system and society, and in the interest he shared with Tavares for display strategies, the use of unorthodox artistic materials, and the scrutiny of Modernist architecture. Among his first major projects was an intervention in the commercial gallery of the Copan building, an important architectural complex designed by Oscar Niemeyer and built in the city center of São Paulo between 1951 and 1966. In collaboration with fellow artists Ana Luiza Dias Batista (b 1978) and Eurico Lopes (b 1968), the project Plano Copan (2002) created a fictionalized presentation of commercial businesses in the fields of stationery, games, medical devices, and real estate consulting, occupying retail space and the building foyer with signs, vitrines, furniture, and items on display for sale. From this experience, Matheus developed other projects with fictional business identities, for example Engeoplan, a design company responsible for the creation of a smoking room that occupied the interior of the gallery in his solo exhibition at Paço das Artes (São Paulo, ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b London, Oct 9, 1969).

English film maker and video artist. McQueen became interested in film while a student at Goldsmiths’ College, London. On graduating in 1993 he spent a year studying film at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York, but was disenchanted by the lack of experimentation that it promoted. From his first major film, Bear (1993; see 1999 ICA exh. cat., p. 13), exhibited at the Royal College of Art in 1994, McQueen achieved swift success on an international stage with a body of formally very distinctive work. His black-and-white silent films, in which he often appears, are characterized by their visual economy and by the highly controlled environment in which they are projected. This minimalist and anti-narrative approach has been seen as an alienation technique, underlining McQueen’s exploration of formal film language as well as popular cinematic convention. He cites, among others, the influence of the French New Wave, as well as the films of Andy Warhol and the contemporary American film maker Sadie Benning. In ...

Article

Denise Carvalho

revised by Mariana von Hartenthal

(b Rio de Janeiro, 1948).

Brazilian interventionist, multimedia, installation, and conceptual artist. Meireles is considered one of the most influential contemporary artists of his country. While international critics have compared his work with North American Minimalism and Conceptual art, Meireles insisted that art should be seductive. He studied at the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes and at the Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM) in Rio de Janeiro. Coming of age at a time of the military dictatorship in Brazil (1964–1985), he circumvented strict state censorship with a series of interventionist works, adding politically charged texts and reinserting the works back into circulation.

In Insertions into Ideological Circuits: Coca-Cola Project (1970), Meireles printed the text “Yankees. Go Home!” onto Coca-Cola glass bottles which would enter circulation after they were returned to be refilled and sold. In Insertions into Ideological Circuits: Cédula Project (1970), the same message was printed on one dollar bills, and on the current Brazilian currency, the Cruzeiro. Some bills also queried, “Who killed Herzog?” referring to a Brazilian journalist who died while in police custody. Meireles’ series subverts the mechanistic process of capitalistic insertion and circulation, adding phrases that question the methods and policies of the dictatorship. ...

Article

Susan S. Weininger

(b Havana, Nov 18, 1948; d New York, Sep 8, 1985).

American sculptor, performance artist, video artist, and painter of Cuban birth. From the age of 12, when she was sent to the USA from Cuba by her parents, she lived in orphanages and foster homes in Iowa. Her sense of exile and the separation from her family proved strong motivating forces on her later work. After completing an MA in painting at the University of Iowa in 1972, she entered the university’s new Multimedia and Video Art program, in which she was free to experiment and develop a unique formal language, gaining an MFA in 1977.

In the 1970s Mendieta began to create “earth-body sculptures” outdoors in Iowa, using the primal materials of blood, earth, fire, and water, having first executed performances that she documented in photographs or black-and-white films. In the Silueta series she traced or sculpted the image of her body on the ground, using ignited gunpowder, leaves, grass, mud, stones, other natural elements, or cloth (e.g. ...

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Beijing, Jan 9, 1966).

Chinese installation artist, painter and computer artist. He completed middle school in 1985 at the Beijing School of Arts and Crafts, and received his BA in 1991 from the printmaking department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. He is considered China’s first and most important computer artist. He is a guest teacher at the Central Academy’s Photography and Digital Media Studio.

Beginning in 1983 or 1984, Feng became fascinated by computer gaming. He made use of the look and techniques of computer games and explored the implications of computer gaming through his work. Several early 1990s painting series reproduce the look of computer games of the time, with two-dimensional fighting depicted in front of simple backgrounds rendered in flat colours. Game Over: Long March (1994; set of 42 paintings), for example, deploys such popular culture heroes as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in battle along with Tyrannosaurus rexes, People’s Liberation Army soldiers and Mao Zedong. As a result of these painting series, Feng was considered a Political Pop artist, Political Pop being a late 1980s–early 1990s painting trend that defused Cultural Revolution (...