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Cervin Robinson

(b Chicago, IL, April 15, 1915; d Cupertinoe, CA, Sept 21, 2004).

American architect. Barnes studied architecture at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1938–42), where his teachers included Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius. After military service he opened his own office in New York (1949). His subsequent large and varied practice adhered to no specific style doctrine, although the simple forms and choice of materials of most of his work are modernist. His special ability was in organizing interior spaces and groups of buildings. This can be seen at small scale in his set of 23 shingled, pitch-roofed studio buildings (1961) on a steep site above the sea for the Haystack Mountain School at Deer Isle, ME, and in the Heckscher house (1974) on Mt Desert Island, ME, where four small shingled buildings are set on a wooden platform. On a larger scale his organization of interior spaces in the Walker Art Center (1969...

Article

Frazer Ward

(b San Francisco, CA, 1967).

American sculptor, installation artist, filmmaker, and video artist. Barney emerged in the early 1990s to considerable fanfare, based on the reputation of works made while still an undergraduate at Yale University (he graduated with a BA in 1989), and early exhibitions in New York galleries. Exhibitions such as Field Dressing (1989; New Haven, CT, Yale, U., Payne Whitney Athletic Complex), and early works in the series Drawing Restraint (begun in 1987), established characteristics of Barney’s work: striking imagery drawn from an idiosyncratic range of sources (sport-oriented in the earliest works), sculptural objects in signature materials (e.g. petroleum jelly, ‘self-lubricating plastic’), and athletic performances by the artist, in the service of arcane personal mythology (see fig.). These characteristics are most fully expressed in the Cremaster cycle of five films (1994–2003, released out of order, beginning with Cremaster 4 (1992)). Elaborate and expensive productions featuring lush imagery, drawing on both marginal and mainstream histories (performance art and Hollywood cinema), Celtic and Masonic lore, popular cultural references (Harry Houdini, Gary Gilmore), and anatomical metaphors (the Cremaster is the muscle by which the testicles are raised and lowered), the ...

Article

Susan Wagg

(b Canastota, NY, March 25, 1884; d Montreal, May 18, 1966).

Canadian architect of American birth. Following training at Syracuse University (1902–5) and with McKim, Mead & White in New York from 1905 to 1911 (including a year’s study in Europe), he went to Montreal where in 1912 he formed a partnership with two colleagues from the McKim office: Gordon Home Blackader (1885–1916), a native of Montreal, and Daniel T. Webster (d ?1939), an American. Profiting from Canada’s need for architects who could design in the fashionable, technically sophisticated manner of McKim, Mead & White, the new firm of Barott, Blackader & Webster received major commissions across the country. Early works include the Vancouver Terminal Station (1913–15), which recalls McKim, Mead & White’s monumental, colonnaded Pennsylvania Station (destr.) and US Post Office in New York, and the elegant, classicizing Credit Foncier building (1913–14) in Vancouver, an early British Columbian tall office building that derives from White’s Gorham building in New York. The equally richly detailed head office of the Bank of British North America (...

Article

Roger J. Crum

(b Detroit, MI, Jan 28, 1902; d Salisbury, CT, Aug 15, 1981).

American art historian and museum director. Bar’s career is linked to the history of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York and its often controversial role in the promotion of modern art and culture.

Barr graduated in art and archaeology from Princeton University in 1922. The following year he received his MA with a thesis on Piero di Cosimo. At Princeton he studied modern art with Frank Jewitt Mather Jr. (1868–1953), but the synthetic methodology that he learnt from the medievalist Charles Rufus Morey proved more influential in his development as a scholar and as the future director of MOMA. Morey presented students with a cross-section of the principal medieval visual arts: architecture, sculpture, wall painting and manuscript illumination, as well as minor arts and crafts. After graduate school, Barr travelled in Europe (1923). He returned to the USA and taught art history, first at Vassar College (...

Article

Gordon Campbell

(b 1760; d 1838).

Irish–American cabinetmaker. He was a native of Dublin who trained in London before emigrating in late 1794 to Philadelphia, which was then the capital of America. In 1812 he entered into partnership with his son and advertised his ‘fashionable Cabinet Furniture, superbly finished in the rich Egyptian and Gothic style’. Surviving examples of his furniture are in Neo-classical style, such as the sideboard in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City....

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Columbus, OH, 1949).

American installation artist and video artist. She graduated from the University of Florida in 1972, having studied finance, architecture and art; in 1986 she received an MA in Communication Arts from New York Institute of Technology. Barry’s work was consistently guided by an interest in the ways in which lived social relations are translated into built form in architecture and public space. Casual Shopper (1980–81; see 1988 exh. cat., p. 14) is typical of her early video pieces in examining these issues through a narrative about a couple in a Californian shopping mall; in it, Barry shows how the realms of private fantasy blend into the fantastical confections of the mall’s architecture. The slide and film installation In the Shadow of the City...Vamp r y... (1982–5) points to her related interests in subject formation, states of mind, and the way in which power is exercised through the gaze: bringing together a series of domestic and urban spaces, the images show a number of figures looking out of a window and a woman watching a man sleep. ...

Article

Margaret Rose Vendryes

(b Bay St Louis, MS, Jan 28, 1909; d Pasadena, CA, March 6, 1989).

African American sculptor and painter. Barthé was raised a devout Roman Catholic Creole. He was also the only African American artist of his generation to consistently portray the black male nude. Although closeted throughout his life, sensual figures such as Stevedore (1937; Hampton, VA, U. Mus.) expose his homosexuality. Barthé’s elementary education ended in 1914. As an adolescent, he skillfully copied magazine illustrations, especially figures. Barthé worked for the wealthy New Orleans Pond family, who summered on the Bay, and in 1917, he moved to New Orleans to become their live-in servant. Barthé had access to the Pond library and art collection, and while in their employment, he began to paint in oil. In 1924, his head of Jesus prompted the Rev. Harry F. Kane to fund the first of four years at the Art Institute of Chicago School, where Barthé studied painting with Charles Schroeder and sculpture with Albin Polasek (...

Article

Richard Dagenhart

(b Stoneham, MA, Sept 14, 1889; d St Louis, MO, Dec 2, 1989).

American city planner. Raised in New Hampshire and New York, Bartholomew studied civil engineering for two years at Rutgers University. His path to become one of the most influential city planners of the 20th century and to leave permanent marks on the design of American cities began in 1912, when he was assigned by the civil engineering firm where he was employed designing harbors and bridges, to work on a comprehensive city plan for Newark, NJ. In 1914, he was hired as the “planning engineer” in Newark, the first full-time city planner in the USA. His publication of the Newark Plan (1915) led to broad recognition and to his appointment in 1916 as planning engineer in St Louis, a position he held until 1952. He served as non-resident professor of civic design at the University of Illinois from 1918 to 1952. In 1919, he formed a consulting firm, Harland Bartholomew and Associates, remaining chairman of the firm until his retirement in ...

Article

Cecile Johnson

(Losch)

(b Long Beach, CA, March 14, 1941).

American installation artist, painter, printmaker and sculptor. Bartlett studied at Mills College, Oakland, CA (1960–63), and at the Yale School of Art and Architecture, New Haven, CT (1964–5). The progressive approach to modern art taught at Yale and the nearby thriving art scene of New York were instrumental in her early development (1963–early 1970s). Bartlett’s first one-person exhibition was in New York (1970) in the loft of the artist Alan Saret. Nine-point Pieces (1973–4), a later work, was shown at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York and was experimental both conceptually and materially. Her ambivalent use of systems to establish an order and to oppose it allowed her to explore the material and the conceptual process of making images and objects. Rhapsody (1975–6; priv. col., see exh. cat., p. 21), one of her best-known installations, consists of 988 steel plates covered with screenprint grids and hand-painted Testors enamel and hung on a wall (2.28×47.86 m). Each plate exists individually and in relation to its adjoining plate and may be read vertically or horizontally, creating a mesh of stylistic variability exploring both figurative and non-figurative motifs. Another work of the 1970s is ...

Article

Pamela H. Simpson

(b New Haven, CT, Jan 24, 1867; d Paris, Sept 29, 1925).

American sculptor. Bartlett spent much of his life in France, but like the Beaux-Arts style in which he worked, his life and career represent the rich interchange between the two countries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His father, Truman H. Bartlett (1835–1923) was a sculptor, art critic, and teacher, and the younger Bartlett began modeling in his father’s studio at an early age. Bartlett’s family divided their time between America and France and his early education and training took place in Paris, with his formal study beginning in 1880, at the age of 15, under Pierre-Jules Cavalier (1814–94) at the École des Beaux-Arts. He also worked with Emmanuel Fremiet at the Jardin des Plantes and was an assistant to the animalier sculptor Joseph-Antoine Gardet (1861–91). His early work often dealt with animal and ethnographic themes, but he eventually became well known for his monumental figurative and symbolic work, providing sculpture for several of the world’s fairs and some of the major buildings of the period. A highly respected leader in his profession, he served as the president of the National Sculpture Society and was a vocal critic of modernism....

Article

Briony Llewellyn

(b London, March 26, 1809; d at sea, off Malta, Sept 13, 1854).

English draughtsman , active also in the Near East, Continental Europe and North America. He was a prolific artist and an intrepid traveller. His work became widely known through numerous engravings after his drawings published in his own and other writers’ topographical books. His primary concern was to extract the picturesque aspects of a place and by means of established pictorial conventions to render ‘lively impressions of actual sights’, as he wrote in the preface to The Nile Boat (London, 1849).

During his apprenticeship to John Britton between 1822 and 1829, Bartlett travelled widely in Great Britain and contributed illustrations to several of his master’s antiquarian works. The popularity of travel books in the 1830s and early 1840s provided Bartlett with several commissions. He illustrated John Carne’s Syria, the Holy Land, Asia Minor &c (London, 1836–8), William Beattie’s Switzerland Illustrated (London, 1836) and The Waldenses (London, 1838), Julia Pardoe’s ...

Article

Amy Meyers

(b Kingsessing, PA, Feb 9, 1739; d Kingsessing, July 22, 1823).

American Naturalist and draughtsman. The son of the Pennsylvania naturalist John Bartram (1699–1777), he executed his first drawings in the 1750s as illustrations to his father’s observations on the flora and fauna of North America. Bartram accompanied his father on numerous collecting trips in the north-eastern colonies and on an expedition to Florida in 1765. His drawings were disseminated to European naturalists by his father’s friend and colleague Peter Collinson (1694–1768), an English merchant who was an important promoter of natural science in the 18th century. Compositionally, Bartram’s early works were structured after etchings by the English naturalists Mark Catesby and George Edwards (1694–1773). These artists were among the first to present organisms as part of their larger physical habitats—a practice that Bartram carried forward in his own work, challenging the traditional notion that organisms can be defined solely according to their own physical attributes. Through his drawings Bartram explored the complex interchange that occurs between animals and plants and their environmental contexts, defying the notion that individual organisms fall naturally into an abstract, hierarchical chain of being. He characteristically employed an undulating line that imparts energy to all the elements of a scene, suggesting that the whole of organic creation is united by a single, animated spirit....

Article

Francis Summers

(b Philadelphia, Dec 17, 1960).

American sculptor, active in England. He obtained a BFA from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA, and an MFA from Goldsmiths’ College, London, in 1988. Exploring his interest in the government of behaviour by social constraint, he first used clothes and hair as materials before turning to animal remains and casts of human organs for his increasingly unsettling work. His The Cat and the Dog (1995; London, Saatchi Gal., see 1996 exh. cat., p. 4) consists of two skinned animal hides with perfectly reconstructed heads and feet. Described by the artist as frozen smiles, the animal objects act as abstract surrogates for socially repressed bestial tendencies. Be Your Dog (1997; see 1998 exh. cat., p. 10), consisting of scalped dog ears mounted on a wall as an invitation to wear them, illustrates this theme even more forcefully. Other works by Baseman represent human body parts. Muscle (1997...

Article

Alexandra Chang

American community-based arts and activist group in New York that flourished from 1971 to 1986. Basement Workshop (Inc.) evolved during the Asian American art movement, inspired by the Black Power and the Third World Liberation movements of the late 1960s. The group of artists, writers, performers, and social activists initially met in a leaky basement at 54 Elizabeth Street located in New York’s Chinatown. Basement moved successively to 22 Catherine Street, 199 Lafayette Street, expanded to include spaces at 7 Eldridge Street and 32 East Broadway, and finally returned to 22 Catherine Street during the collective’s existence from 1971 to 1986.

Basement was co-founded by Danny Yung (b 1943), Eleanor Yung, Peter Pan, Frank Ching (b 1943), and Rocky Chin. Its activities grew from the “Chinatown Report of 1969,” which was headed by Danny Yung and funded by the Ford Foundation. Basement was formally incorporated in ...

Article

Irma B. Jaffe

(b New Brunswick, NJ, Aug 15, 1922; d Northampton, MA, June 3, 2000).

American sculptor, illustrator and printmaker. Baskin studied at the New York University School of Architecture and Allied Arts (1939–41), the School of Fine Art (1941–3) and New School for Social Research (1949). He also studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris (1950) and the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence (1951). Inspired by the iconic, monolithic imagery of Ancient Egyptian and Sumerian art, and the similar stylistic qualities of Romanesque and Italian Gothic, he consistently and inventively made use of the archaic mode in such prints as the powerful woodcut Man of Peace (1952; see Fern and O’Sullivan, p. 61) as well as in his sculpture. A traditionalist, he carved in wood and stone, and modelled in clay, taking the human figure as his subject. He firmly believed that painting and sculpture should mediate between artist and viewer some moral insight about human experience, and he was convinced that abstract art could not do this. Throughout his career he rejected spatial penetration of form, preferring the holistic look of such works as the ...

Article

(b New York, Dec 22, 1960; d New York, Aug 12, 1988).

American painter, sculptor and draughtsman. Basquiat showed an early interest in drawing, and he was encouraged by his mother’s interest in fashion design and sketching and by his father’s gifts of paper brought home from his office. From as early as 1965 Basquiat’s mother took him to the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MOMA, and from 1966 he was a Junior Member of the Brooklyn Museum. Early influences on Basquiat’s art include his avid reading of French, Spanish and English texts, his interest in cartoon drawings, Alfred Hitchcock films, cars and comic books, such as MAD magazine and its main character, Alfred E. Neuman. While attending the City-as-School (1976–8), an alternative high school, he encountered the Upper West Side Drama Group and the Family Life Theatre and invented ‘SAMO’ (Same Old Shit), a fictional character who earns a living selling ‘fake’ religion. He also met, collaborated with and became a close friend of ...

Article

Aaris Sherin

(b New Haven, CT, June 15, 1917; d New York, NY, Feb 13, 2012).

American graphic designer and photographer. After attending Textile High School in Manhattan, Bassman worked briefly on mosaic murals for the World’s Fair in New York. In 1935 she married photographer Paul Himmel (b 1914), whom she had known since childhood. After briefly taking night classes in fashion illustration at Pratt Institute of Art, she became a student of Alexey Brodovitch, the Russian émigré art director of Harper’s Bazaar, at the New School, New York. Bassman worked as an assistant to Elizabeth Arden (1878–1966), but was soon asked to become Brodovitch’s first paid assistant at Harper’s Bazaar. In 1945 Hearst Magazines, the publisher of Harper’s Bazaar, launched Junior Bazaar and Bassman and Brodovitch became its co-art directors, responsible for the overall vision of the magazine. Junior Bazaar ran as a stand-alone magazine from November 1945 until May 1948. It was the incubation ground for numerous talented young artists, designers and writers, many of whom went on to high-profile jobs in the industry. Bassman’s bold use of colour and asymmetrical compositions gave the magazine pages a lively attitude that was quite different in character from the more sophisticated and conservative layouts in ...

Article

Oscar P. Fitzgerald

(b New York, 1808; d New York, 1895).

American cabinetmaker. He opened his first cabinetmaking shop in Pearl Street, New York, about 1830. Ten years later he moved to a four-storey ‘furniture warehouse’ on Broadway, near his competitor John Henry Belter, whose work, in particular the laminated rosewood chairs, Baudouine is claimed, perhaps unjustly, to have imitated. Baudouine’s production was huge; he employed up to 200 workers, including 70 cabinetmakers. He favoured the Rococo Revival style based on simplified versions of Louis XV designs and frequently travelled to France to purchase upholstery material, hardware, and trim. He also brought back furniture made in France, which he sold in his shop along with his own stock. Anthony Kimbel (d 1895) was Baudouine’s designer in the years before the shop closed about 1856.

In 1842 William Corcoran, wealthy banker friend of Mrs James K. Polk, ordered 42 carved, rosewood chairs for the State Dining Room in the White House from Baudouine. These balloon-back chairs with cabriole legs upholstered in purple velvet were part of the White House renovation that Congress funded soon after Polk was elected president (side chair, ...

Article

Kristin E. Larsen

(b Elizabeth, NJ, May 11, 1905; d Seadrift, CA, Nov 21, 1964).

American writer and educator. She was an advocate for modern housing design and early federal housing programs. Born into an affluent family, Bauer briefly sought college training in architecture but attained the majority of her architecture and housing policy skills in the field. During a trip to Europe in 1926, Bauer discovered a passion for modern architecture. Writing an article that gained the attention of urban critic Lewis Mumford, she embarked on a subsequent visit in 1930 with letters of introduction to some of the most renowned European architects of the day, including Ernst May and Walter Gropius. She not only learned about housing design to maximize light and air and to utilize the site to advantage, but also investigated the benefits of large-scale development techniques and government support for housing. As a key contributor to the Museum of Modern Art’s 1933 exhibit on International Design, Bauer argued for greater recognition of housing as a centerpiece of the new modern aesthetic. In her groundbreaking book ...

Article

Kathleen James-Chakraborty

After the closure in 1933 of the Bauhaus in Berlin, its staff and students dispersed. Many found their way to the USA, where they became highly influential teachers as well as artists and architects. The pedagogical methods developed at the school, particularly in the preliminary course, became commonplace in all levels of art education, as the former centrality in America of life drawing to instruction in the visual arts was now challenged by experimentation with abstract principles of composition and the qualities of individual materials.

Josef and Anni Albers family were the first Bauhäusler to immigrate to the USA. They arrived in 1933 and quickly took up positions at Black Mountain College, NC. In 1950 Josef became chair of the department of design at Yale University, New Haven, CT, from which he retired in 1958. His increasingly rigorous investigations into geometry and colour culminated in a series of paintings entitled ...