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Margaret Barlow

(b Holyoke, MA, Feb 12, 1943).

American photographer, video artist, conceptual artist, sculptor, draughtsman and painter . He studied painting at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA (BFA 1965), and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (MFA 1967). During these years he produced Minimalist sculptures and paintings. In the early 1970s he used video and photography, primarily as a means of documenting such conceptual works as Untied On Tied Off (1972), a photograph of the artist’s feet with one shoe on, untied, the other with the shoe tied to his ankle. These documents gave way to photographs that took on greater artistic qualities in terms of composition and technique, while he continued to use concepts and approaches seen in the earlier pieces (particularly irony, humour and satire on both popular culture and the high culture of contemporary art). He was most well known in the 1970s for his photographic and video works featuring his Weimaraner dog, Man Ray. By ...


Claire M. Roberts

(b Beijing, Dec 19, 1957).

Chinese painter and installation artist, active also in Australia. Guan Wei graduated from the Department of Fine Arts at Beijing Capital University in 1986 and worked as an art teacher in a secondary school while pursuing his own experimental artistic practice. In 1989 he was invited to Australia as artist-in-residence at the Tasmanian School of Art, Hobart. Following the violent suppression of democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and elsewhere on June 3–4, 1989 Guan Wei returned to Australia and undertook further artistic residencies in Tasmania (1990–1991), Sydney (1992–1993), and Canberra (1993–1994). In 1993 he was granted permanent residence and in 1999 held a solo exhibition at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art. He established a studio in Beijing in 2008.

Guan Wei is descended from a noble Manchu family. His father was a Peking Opera performer and Guan Wei acknowledged his underlying influence in the gesture and humor that permeates his art. ...


John-Paul Stonard

(b New York, Feb 10, 1942).

American conceptual artist. Self-taught as an artist, he achieved international recognition for text-based works that arose from his sculptural and painterly experiments of the 1960s. In an early work of this decade, The Stone on the Table (destr.; see Alberro, p. 39), consisting of a limestone block placed on a simple wooden table, Weiner rejected the privilege attached to traditional artisan skills. Such a reappraisal of the relationship between artist and materials was paralleled by a challenge to traditionally privileged relationships between artist and audience. In 1968 he made the first of many books, Statements, which contained 24 terse typewritten descriptions of works only some of which had actually been produced, implying that their realization was entirely dependent on audience subjectivity. From this time Weiner concentrated on language as a material, presenting it as a sculptural object central to his practice. His varied and flexible methods of distribution demonstrate his concern to reach a wide audience, breaching cultural and social barriers. This dissemination has taken the form of posters, books, wall texts, graffiti, videotapes, LPs, compact discs, and (in ...


Britta Erickson

(b Beijing, May 13, 1957; official birthdate Aug 28, 1957).

Chinese conceptual artist, curator and architect. Son of the poet Ai Qing (Jiang Haicheng) (1910–96). For 25 years Ai Weiwei was consistently one of the most innovative figures in China’s art world. He helped direct the course of Chinese art, not only through his own artistic production, but also through his curatorial, editorial and design projects, and his encouragement of younger artists.

In 1978 Ai Weiwei enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy. His public career as an artist began when he participated in the first Stars group show (1979), an unofficial exhibition hung prominently on a fence next to the National Art Gallery in Beijing. Because the exhibition—and the heavy-handed reaction of the police—drew the attention of foreign reporters, the Stars gained fame as China’s first well-known post-Cultural Revolution dissident artists.

In 1981 Ai Weiwei moved to the USA where he lived mostly in New York, returning to Beijing in 1993. While in New York he studied briefly at the Parsons School of Design and the Art Students League and was exposed to original works by artists who proved to be important influences: Jasper Johns, Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol. As a result he began experimenting with the concept of the ready-made, a process that continues throughout his subsequent work. Characteristic of his early works, ...


Melissa Chiu

[Wenda Gu]

(b Shanghai, Feb 7, 1955).

Chinese installation artist. Gu received his training in Shanghai, first at the Shanghai School of Arts and Crafts, and then at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now the National Art Academy) in Hangzhou, where he studied with the distinguished ink painter Lu Yanshao, amongs others. He became a faculty member at Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in 1981, teaching until 1987, when he migrated to the USA.

In China Gu participated in the New Wave Movement—a period of great artistic experimentation across the country beginning in the mid-1980s, when scores of artists exhibited their work as individuals and collectives in galleries, museums and public spaces. Gu’s ink paintings attracted attention and were shown in various exhibitions. His most important work from this period was the Pseudo-Character series, for example Pseudo Character Series: Contemplation of the World (1984), which comprises three works that both conform to and challenge the conventions of ink painting and calligraphy. The placement of the characters, looming much larger than the landscape, emphasises the primacy of the word, but Gu’s characters are pseudo-characters in that they resemble real characters, but the radicals have been combined incorrectly to create nonsensical words....


Morgan Falconer

(b Vienna, 1947; d Vienna, July 25, 2012).

Austrian sculptor and installation artist. He attended the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna. His first important works, produced in the mid-1970s, were the Adaptives, a series of small amorphous objects designed as both sculptures to be contemplated and as comic playthings to be handled. West described them as prostheses, a term which suggests their biomorphic character, their incompleteness and their close relation to the body. An element derived from performance art exists alongside traditional sculptural techniques in these works, the conception of which was also affected by West’s reading of pyschoanalytical texts. Around this time he also made a series of collages that combined images drawn from advertising with abstract compositional methods. He rose to prominence in the mid-1980s and around this time began to produce furniture, conceived of as installation sculpture and also often as interventions in museum spaces. His first pieces in this vein, influenced by the work of the Vienna Secessionists of the early part of the 20th century, employed welded scrap metal in a manner which recalled his interest in collage. ...


Christoph Tannert

(b Ziegehaid on Hessen, Aug 24, 1890; d Leipzig, May 17, 1978).

German painter, draughtsman and collagist . He took his teaching diploma in art as a pupil of Lothar von Kunowski (b 1866) in Düsseldorf in 1913. During World War I he served as a soldier and then continued his studies with Otto Ubbelohde in Grossfelden at Marburg on the Lahn (1920–22). From 1923 to 1924 he studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin with Igor von Jakimow. For most of his life he earned a living by manual labour rather than through his art. In 1925 he took a post as a window-dresser in Dresden, which he kept until 1943. Thereafter he was employed as an unskilled worker in the Dresden-Reick gasworks until 1945. After World War II he worked as a street-light keeper in Plauen, Dresden (until 1956).

Most of Wigand’s work comprises drawings made with a soft pencil in a style that barely changed throughout his life. His earliest-known works are drawings and woodcuts (...


Anne K. Swartz

(b Primavera, Paraguay, 1943).

American installation and performance artist, writer and educator of Paraguayan birth. Emigrating from Paraguay to the United States in 1961, Faith Wilding consistently examined the social role of women and their bodies as the subject of her art. She received her BA in English with honors from the University of Iowa, Iowa City. Wilding did postgraduate studies in Art and Art History at California State University, Fresno, where she met the artist Judy Chicago, who founded the first Feminist Art Program. Wilding completed her MFA at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and served as teaching assistant for the renowned Feminist Art Program (FAP), team-taught by Chicago and artist Miriam Schapiro. In the FAP, Wilding led a consciousness-raising group and a journal writing class, in addition to participating in the famed collaborative project Womanhouse (Jan 30–Feb 28, 1972) with her crocheted installation Crocheted Environment (Womb Room) , which resembles a loosely crocheted spider’s web, and in the performance ...


Morgan Falconer

(b London, Aug 17, 1943).

English conceptual artist and sculptor. He studied at Ealing School of Art (1962–3), began editing and publishing Control Magazine in 1965 and in 1972–3 was Director of the Centre for Behavioural Art in London. Consistently interested in art as an intervention in social patterns and identities, Willats frequently grounded his work in research-based projects. His early art, however, was more object-based. Light Modulator No. 2 (1962; see 1979–80 exh. cat., p. 13), for example, was a project for an outdoor public sculpture made of moving vertical panels, perspex and painted wood, through which people would pass and interact. Willats soon developed these more phenomenological and behavioural concerns into sets of problems concerned with social interaction and cognition. Another early work, Meta Filter (1973; Lyon, Mus. St Pierre A. Contemp.), demonstrates this: a very large installation organized around a large computer, it invites two participants to seek agreement over the meanings of a set of images and statements. Throughout his career Willats continued to design similar interactive projects aimed at encapsulating problems of social conflict. Often his exhibitions evolved out of complex research-based initiatives and extensive collaboration with the public. ...



Aurélie Verdier

English photographers, video and installation artists. Jane (b Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 6 Jan 1967) and her twin sister Louise initially studied separately, Jane completing her BFA at Newcastle Polytechnic, Louise at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art at Dundee in 1989. They both went on to Goldsmiths’ College in London, where they graduated in 1992. Their first collaborative works made reference to stereotypes associated with twins. Their early films, such as Normapaths (1995; 16 mm film transferred to video), also scrutinized the boundaries between the normal and the pathological. They focused on elements of repression and transgression through a sophisticated and careful composition. The Wilsons’ approach often entailed the production of works from the same elements: the video installation, related photographic stills and props appearing in the film presented as sculptures in their own right. In Normapaths, the setting of the charred kitchen of the video was recreated. Their sensitivity to the darker side of the psyche led them to choose historically charged buildings as settings. The video installation ...


Geraldine Craig

(b Detroit, MI, April 16, 1949).

American sculptor, animation, performance, and installation artist. Wilson was a leading figure among artists who began working in the progressive contemporary craft movement of the 1970s and1980s and gained prominence in the art mainstream by the 1990s. Influenced by the alignment of textiles with feminist art that emerged in the 1970s, Wilson employed the cultural associations of diverse source materials (table linens, bed sheets, human hair, lace, thread, wire, glass) to interrogate how craft and context can define a feminist position in art by subverting the boundaries of middle-class propriety and social values.

An early favoured subject and material for Wilson was human hair. Her internet-based project hairinquiry (1996–9) solicited responses to the questions: ‘How does it feel to lose your hair?’ and ‘What does it mean to cut your hair?’, returned through e-mail, fax, and conventional mail. Her sculptural work Lost (1998) was made by embroidering black human hair onto a used white linen tablecloth that was draped over a chair – the discarded hair treated with transgressive care suggests a powerful residue of memory and life lost. With her installation ...


Tracy Fitzpatrick

(b Bronx, NY, 1954).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual installation artist. Wilson was born in the Bronx, attended the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan, and received his BFA from Purchase College, The State University of New York in 1976.

While at Purchase College, Wilson studied performance art and dance and also served as a guard at the Neuberger Museum of Art. After college, he worked in various capacities at several New York City museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. In 1987, he became the director of the Longwood Arts Project, where he organized “Rooms With a View,” an exhibition for which he borrowed museum experiences, weaving together art objects, display space, and institutional labels to interrogate methods of museum display and the meanings generated therein. This strategy, an Institutional Critique that Wilson referred to as “tromp l’oeil curating,” has emerged as the focus of his artistic practice....


Mary M. Tinti

(b Warsaw, April 14, 1943).

Polish designer and installation artist, active also in the USA . Wodiczko received his MFA in Industrial Design from the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, in 1968. He came to the United States by way of Canada, and in 1991 joined the ranks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he became Director of the Center for Art, Culture, and Technology (formerly the Center for Advanced Visual Studies) and head of the Interrogative Design Group.

Concerned with the social and philosophical implications behind notions of democracy, memory, trauma, testimony, nomadism, immigration, alienation, and marginalization, Wodiczko’s body of work grew to include interactive instruments, site strategic slide and video projections, and monuments to shared histories and recollections. Through his art, Wodiczko literally and metaphorically gave voice to those who could not speak or, for certain political or personal reasons, could not be heard.

In 1980 he began his public projection series of large-scale images on real-world architectural backdrops (to which he added sound and movement in the mid-1990s). By overlaying his phantom images on the actual edifice of a public building, Wodiczko asked audiences to consider how public sites signify—or fail to convey—important contemporary truths. His projections became increasingly more collaborative, and by ...


Temma Balducci

American collaborative installation–performance piece. Womanhouse was produced by female artists working with Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro as part of the Feminist Art Program at the California Institute of the Arts in the fall of 1971. Over the course of several months, 21 students, along with Chicago, Schapiro and three local artists, transformed a dilapidated house on 553 Mariposa Avenue in Hollywood, CA that had been slated for demolition. In the course of turning the house into both a workspace and an artwork, the artists dealt with real estate agents, tore down and repaired walls, rewired, glazed windows, and frequented hardware stores, all of which challenged gender stereotypes of the period. Once the house was prepared, the women worked singly and in groups, turning the rooms and spaces of the house into artworks that addressed personal issues gleaned from their own experiences as women, including housework, mothering, the gendered division of labor, aging, and menstruation (...


John-Paul Stonard

(b London, Sept 2, 1964).

English sculptor and installation artist. She completed a BFA at Birmingham Polytechnic (1984–7), and an MFA at the Royal College of Art, London (1987–90). Replicating everyday objects on an unexpected scale, she chooses things so familiar they would not normally be noticed; this heightens the unsettling quality of their painstaking distortion when we become aware of it, often after a lapse of time. Early works include dust-jackets of books, photocopied in colour with objects superimposed on to them. Wright subsequently developed this strategy based on the principles of photocopying, performing a pre-programmed operation on mass-produced objects. For an installation at The Showroom Gallery in East London (1996), Wright created a partial replica of a bungalow, actual size; in this case the subject is estranged not through actual distortion but through the fact of being seen indoors and fragmented. As with much of her work, the viewer is forced to examine something that is usually overlooked. Underlying much of Wright’s art are subtle social critiques; in this case she referred to compulsory relocation plans for East Londoners in the early 1940s. ...


Catherine M. Grant

(b London, June 26, 1960).

English painter and installation artist active in Glasgow and Los Angeles. He studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art between 1978 and 1982, graduating with a BA. After distancing himself from art during the 1980s, Wright became more engaged with conceptual frameworks for making art after studying for an MFA at Glasgow School of Art between 1993 and 1995. During this time he began to explore the relationship between architecture, art and design, painting directly onto walls to create ephemeral works intended to last only for the duration of the exhibition. In early wall paintings such as Untitled (exh. Glasgow, Intermedia Gal., 1993), the motifs used are quite simple, with interlocking strips of colour painted in a band around the gallery walls. Wright’s paintings of the mid-1990s included motifs that appeared to be drawn from corporate logos and tattoos, with the inclusion of stylized skulls and gothic symbols. In the installation ...


Britta Erickson

revised by Doris Sung

(b Beijing, Aug 21, 1963).

Chinese installation artist. Yin studied painting in the Fine Arts Department of Capital Normal University, Beijing (1985–1989) and following graduation she taught at the high school attached to the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, until her exhibition schedule grew too demanding. In 1989 she was first exposed to installation art; she showed her first installation, Door, in the studio of artist Zhu Jinshi (b 1954) in 1994. Yin’s works have consistently demonstrated a concern for the relationship between the individual and the environment, with a particular interest in her native city of Beijing. She has developed a vocabulary of signature materials—primarily used clothing, cement, and discarded building materials—all of which she deployed to underscore the impermanence and fragility of the human environment.

At a time when little attention was paid to environmental degradation in China, Yin created Washing the River (1995), constructing a wall from frozen blocks of polluted Funan River water and inviting passersby to scrub the wall clean. While the natural environment suffered as China’s economy surged, so too did the urban environment. In the 1990s China’s major cities changed dramatically, with old neighborhoods razed to clear the way for skyscrapers. Observing the demolition of a way of life, Yin created ...


Midori Yoshimoto

(b Honolulu, HI, Oct 3, 1961).

American installation artist of Japanese ancestry. Yamamoto’s works have evoked an emotional memory that speaks to a larger social and historical context. Her delicate and labor-intensive installations have often served as visual metaphors for the forgotten lives of Japanese and Japanese Americans, many of whom were profoundly affected by the Pacific war.

Yamamoto received her BA in art from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington in 1983 and M.A. in studio art from New York University in 1991. She also participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and Skowhegan. From 1990 to 2003 she worked as an artist educator in museums, public schools and colleges in New York, and participated in many national and international artist-in-residence programs. From 2003 Yamamoto taught at Smith College in Northampton, MA.

Yamamoto’s early sculptural works memorialized her grandmother, Chiyo, who came to Hawaii in the early 20th century as a picture bride. She was a laundress on a sugar plantation and committed suicide at the age of 49 in ...


Yasuyoshi Saito

(b Tokushima Prefect., Oct 8, 1919; d Kanagawa Prefect., Nov 23, 1986).

Japanese painter, printmaker, teacher and collagist . In 1937 he graduated from the Kagawa Prefectural Technical School, and the following year he went to Tokyo and studied at the Fukuzawa Institute for the Study of Painting, where be became fascinated by Surrealist painting. In 1939 his military service took him to China, where he served in the Sino-Japanese War (1937–45). His experiences of the atrocities of war deeply affected him, and he became vehemently anti-war. In 1946 he was involved in forming the Nihon Bijutsukai (Japan Art Society) and in 1947 he helped found the Zen’ei Bijutsukai (Avant-garde Art Society). In 1953 he took part in the first Nippon Ten (Japan exhibition), showing Tale of Akebono Village at Dawn (1953; priv. col., see exh. cat., p. 37), which portrayed with black humour an uprising of villagers protesting at repression.

Yamashita’s commitment to Surrealism became total, and he was determined to expose social injustices through his style of painting (e.g. ...


Reiko Tomii

(b Kobe, Jan 3, 1967).

Japanese photographer and video artist ( see fig. ). She received degrees in crafts (1989) and art (1991) at Kyoto City University of Arts. During her studies, she created installations with accumulative fibre elements. When she photographed them for documentation, she came to recognize the power of photography. In 1993 she presented a performance work The White Casket , at Art Space Niji, Kyoto. Making a complete departure from her fibre works, she began a Photoshop-manipulated photographic series, Elevator Girls, in 1994. The project lasted for the next seven years, and depicted a group of primly uniformed elevator girls, all looking alike and mysteriously assembled in an elevator and other commercial, urban architectural settings. Frozen in passive or inactive postures, they represent the depersonalized, claustrophobic existence of Japanese women (and women in general), who live in an artificial consumer culture and a patriarchal Japanese society.

In 2000...