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Article

Midori Yoshimoto

(b Tokyo, April 5, 1967).

Japanese sculptor, installation and video artist . Torimitsu received a BFA in sculpture at Tama Art University (1994) and, soon after her university graduation, she completed Miyata Jiro, a life-size robot of a stereotypical Japanese businessman, and made it crawl on the pavements of various districts in Tokyo. Perhaps because of its candid critique of Japanese corporate culture, businessmen in Marunouchi district pretended not to look at the robot, while it attracted large crowds elsewhere. In order to study varying reactions to her robot in different social settings, Torimitsu moved to New York in 1996, to participate in the P.S.1 International Program. For the American premier of Miyata Jiro that year, on Wall Street and near the Rockefeller Center, Torimitsu dressed as a nurse to redirect the robot’s movement or recharge its battery. Her New York performances were so well received that Torimitsu subsequently acquired opportunities to do the same in Amsterdam, Graz, London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Sydney....

Article

Celia Stahr

(b Phoenix, AZ, Aug 26, 1954).

Native American (Seminole–Muskogee–Diné (Navajo)) photographer, video and installation artist . While living on a Navajo reservation in the 1960s, Tsinhnahjinnie was prompted to think about the power of images after looking at A House of Human Bondage, which showed the poor living conditions that black South Africans were subjected to under the apartheid system, photographs that reminded her of the bleak existence of Native Americans. This led her to attend the Institute of American Indian Art from 1975 to 1978. She received a BFA from the California College of the Arts (1981) and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine (2002). She went on to teach at the University of California, Davis.

Realizing that Native Americans had been defined by photographs taken by non-Natives, Tsinhnahjinnie wanted to create photographs of Native Americans from an insider’s perspective; to reclaim her own culture, history and identity. In 1988...

Article

Joan Kee

Hong Kong-based interdisciplinary group of artists . Derived from a compound of the words video and montage, Videotage was founded in 1985 by artists May Fung (b 1952; see fig. ), Ellen Pau (b 1961; see fig. ), Wong Chi Fai and Comyn Mo to facilitate local collaborative art projects. Prior to its formation, the Phoenix Cine Club was Hong Kong’s main outlet for film-based art, especially works based on Super-8 film in the 1970s. Artists, however, began the transition to video when the commercial demand for Super-8 film diminished and home video was concurrently introduced into the consumer market. Initially, Videotage sponsored screenings of videos in the facilities of the local theatre collective, Zuni Icosahedrone. As a result, some artists such as May Fung, Ellen Pau and Comyn Mo began to explore intersections between theatre and video-based installations ( see fig. ).

Videotage later modified its purpose by fostering the study and production of multiple kinds of media-based art forms. From ...

Article

Rina Arya

[ William ]

(b New York, Jan 25, 1951).

American video and sound installation artist. Viola employed electronic sound and image technology to create an extensive range of works such as videotapes, architectonic video installations, music performances, and flat-panel video pieces. He was central in establishing the contemporaneity of video art and in expanding its possibilities through his innovative explorations of content and form. Viola completed his BFA in Experimental Studies from Syracuse University in 1973. From 1973 to 1980 he performed with the composer David Tudor as a member of his group Rainforest, later called Composers Inside Electronics. During the 1970s Viola worked as technical director of production at Art/Tapes/22, which was a pioneering video art studio in Florence. From 1976 to 1980 he was artist-in-residence at WNET Thirteen Television Laboratory in New York. In 1980 he was awarded a US/Japan Creative Artist Fellowship and lived in Japan for a year and a half where he studied Zen Buddhism, which would inspire his work....

Article

Marita Sturken

Culture of images and visuality that creates meaning in our world today. This includes media forms such as photography, film, television, and digital media; art media such as painting, drawing, prints, and installations; architecture and design; comic books and graphic novels; fashion design, and other visual forms including the look of urban life itself. It also encompasses such social realms as art, news, popular culture, advertising and consumerism, politics, law, religion, and science and medicine. The term visual culture also refers to the interdisciplinary academic field of study that aims to study and understand the role that images and visuality play in our society; how images, gazes, and looks make meaning socially, culturally, and politically; how images are integrated with other media; and how visuality shapes power, meaning, and identity in contemporary global culture.

The emergence of the concept of visual culture as a means to think about the role of images in culture and as an academic field of study is a relatively recent phenomenon, emerging in the late 1980s and becoming established by the late 1990s. There were numerous factors that contributed to the idea that images should be understood and analysed across social arenas rather than as separate categories, including the impact of digital media on the circulation of images across social realms, the modern use of images from other social arenas (such as news and advertising) in art, and the cross-referencing of cultural forms displayed in popular culture and art. It was also influenced by the increasingly visible role played by images in political conflict and a general trend toward interdisciplinarity in academia....

Article

Grischka Petri

(b Leverkusen, nr Cologne, Oct 14, 1932; d Berlin, April 3, 1998).

German painter, sculptor, décollagist, composer, video artist, and performance artist. He was one of the fathers of the European Happening movement. Vostell studied typography, lithography, and painting in Cologne, Wuppertal, Paris, and Düsseldorf (1950–58). In 1959 he married Mercedes Guardado Olivenza in Cáceres, Spain. Early in his career he discovered Décollage , a technique of cutting, tearing away or otherwise removing pieces of an image. His spelling of the term, dé-coll/age, underlined the term’s dialectical implications of destruction and creation. In the 1960s he worked with chemicals to transfer the process to photography, video, and film, turning it into an all-encompassing strategy of image deconstruction, often within the iconographic framework of violence and sexuality as communicated by mass media.

Vostell’s combined décollage with car parts and television sets, being one of the first artists using such a device as part of a sculpture in 1958. In 1962 he joined the ...

Article

Mary Chou

(b Stockton, CA, Nov 26, 1969).

American silhouettist, printmaker, painter, installation artist and film maker . At the age of 13, Walker moved from California to Stone Mountain, GA, when her father, the painter Larry Walker (b 1935), accepted a teaching position at Georgia State University. She received her BFA at the Atlanta College of Art, GA, in 1991 and her MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, in 1994. In 2001 she began teaching at Columbia University School of the Arts in New York.

Walker’s work explores issues of race, gender, sexuality and identity through paper cut-out silhouettes of scenes depicting slavery and plantation life in the ante-bellum South. Often life-size and spanning an entire wall or room, Walker illustrated racial stereotypes with exaggerated representations of mammies, pickaninnies and sambos, alongside white southern belles and gentleman engaged in acts of violence, torture and sex (e.g. Consume , 1998). Using the silhouette, a 19th-century craft created mostly for the middle class, Walker initially seduces viewers with a polite, delicate and feminine veneer; she compared the technique of silhouettes to the nature of stereotypes themselves, in which the complexities of an individual or situation are reduced and simplified into easily identifiable forms. As all figures are depicted in black or in shadows, racial identity can only be approximated by their profile or actions. As a result, viewers create their own narrative, thus implicating themselves in the creation and perpetuation of these stereotypes....

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Chigwell, Essex, May 25, 1959).

English painter, sculptor and video artist. He studied in London at the Chelsea School of Art (1978–81) and Goldsmiths’ College (1983–5). From the mid-1980s his work has addressed the traditions and values of British society, its class system and organized religion. The range of approaches he has adopted reflects his wish to have a broad appeal and highlights his roots in a tradition of British left-wing thought. In the early 1990s he began using a personal enthusiasm for horse racing as a theme through which to explore issues of ownership and pedigree. Race Class Sex (oil on canvas, four parts, each 2.3×3 m, London, Saatchi Gal.), consists of four highly finished renderings of thoroughbred race-horses. As well as evoking the equestrian portraiture of George Stubbs, these works also direct attention toward issues of identity and the inheritance of social structures. This thematic culminated in A Real Work of Art...

Article

Marco Livingstone

[Warhola, Andrew ]

(b Pittsburgh, PA, Aug 6, 1928; d New York, Feb 22, 1987).

American painter, printmaker, sculptor, draughtsman, illustrator, film maker, writer, and collector. After studying at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh from 1945 to 1949, he moved to New York and began working as a commercial artist and illustrator for magazines and newspapers. His work of the 1950s, much of it commissioned by fashion houses, was charming and often whimsical in tone, typified by outline drawings using a delicate blotted line that gave even the originals a printed appearance; a campaign of advertisements for the shoe manufacturers I. Miller & Sons in 1955–6 (Kornbluth, pp. 113–21) was particularly admired, helping to earn him major awards from the Art Directors Club.

Warhol continued to support himself through his commercial work until at least 1963, but from 1960 he determined to establish his name as a painter. Motivated by a desire to be taken as seriously as the young artists whose work he had recently come to know and admire, especially Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, he began by painting a series of pictures based on crude advertisements and on images from comic strips. These are among the earliest examples of ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Nieuwer Amstel, nr Amsterdam, March 12, 1959).

Dutch photographer, video artist and installation artist. She trained as a sculptor at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam between 1987 and 1990. In 1992 she began to use video and film loops, often incorporating them into larger installations, using the monitor or projections as sculptural objects within the gallery space. These looped pieces use repetition to undermine any narrative or resolution in the action, as in Handstand (1992; see 1995 exh. cat.) where a girl performs a handstand against a wall over and over again. The viewer is held in a state of anticipation by the possibility of some kind of climax, recalling the early video work of artists such as Bruce Nauman. In Warmerdam’s installation Untitled (1994; see D. Birnbaum, p. 64), a room is filled with helium balloons attached to cans of soft drink; the balloons have phrases such as ‘I Love You’ written on them, their cloying sentiment attached to the artificial sweetness of the drinks. Here the objects function in a similar way to the video loops, generating an atmosphere that is both celebratory and disturbing because of the lack of narrative. In the installation ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Birmingham, Dec 10, 1963).

English photographer and video artist. Wearing has described her working method as ‘editing life’. By using photography and video to record the confessions of ordinary people, her work explores the disparities between public and private life, between individual and collective experience. Wearing has cited the influence of English fly-on-the-wall documentaries, such as Michael Apted’s 7-up and the 1970s documentary The Family. Signs that Say What You Want Them to Say and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You to Say (1992–3), made shortly after her graduation from Goldsmiths’ College in 1990, was produced by approaching people on London streets, asking them to write something on a card and then photographing them as they displayed it. Private lives were given a sudden and revealingly painful exposure: a policeman holds a card reading ‘Help!’. With the introduction of video and more in-depth interviewing of her subjects, Wearing began to use devices such as adult actors lip-synching the recorded confessions of children, and subjects, solicited from advertisements placed in newpapers, making confessions while wearing masks. The introduction of actors signalled an increasingly dramatic element in her work and a shift away from the use of documentary techniques. The ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Joyce Zemans

(b Toronto, Ont., June 30, 1931; d Toronto, June 27, 1998).

Canadian painter and film maker . She studied at the Central Technical School, Toronto. Passionately committed to the exploration of the aesthetic perspective of the woman artist, Wieland was a role model to several generations of younger artists. Her major canvases of the 1960s, Abstract Expressionist in nature, were often based on female sexual imagery. Early work in animation led her to explore serial imagery in her paintings and mixed media constructions of this period. From 1962 to 1970 she and her husband, artist Michael Snow, lived in New York where she established her reputation as an experimental film maker, creating such award-winning films as Rat Life and Diet in North America and Reason over Passion (both 1968). In 1971 the National Gallery of Canada mounted True Patriot Love/Véritable amour patriotique, the first exhibition dedicated to the work of a living Canadian woman artist. In this exhibition she collaborated with craftswomen in a variety of media, including quilting, embroidery and knitting, to create art that addressed the issues of nationalism, ecology and the traditional role of the woman artist. In ...

Article

Mary Chou

[ Butter, Arlene Hannah ]

(b New York, March 7, 1940; d Houston, TX, Jan 28, 1993).

American photographer, performance artist, video artist, sculptor and teacher . Wilke earned a BFA and a teaching certificate from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia (1956–61). She taught at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School in Plymouth Meeting, PA, until 1965, and then moved to New York City where she taught at White Plains High School, just north of the city, until 1970. From 1972 to 1991 she taught sculpture at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Wilke is well known for examining stereotypes surrounding sexuality, femininity and feminism through the use of her body, language and visual punning.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Wilke created forms that were abstract but highly suggestive of female genitalia, with layered and folded flower-like shapes, modelled from clay, chewing gum, kneaded erasers, laundry lint and latex (e.g. Needed-Erase-Her , 1974). Exhibited in groups on the floor or on the wall, in an ordered and repetitious manner that recalls Minimalism, the forms are organic and sexual—suggestive of reproduction and procreation. In the 1970s Wilke began to use her own body in a series of performances, videos and photographs that confront erotic representations of the female body and cultural stereotypes about female sexuality. Her video ...

Article

Wilson  

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 ...

Article

Anne K. Swartz

Splinter group from the American, male-dominated Art Workers’ Coalition (AWC), which refused to expand its protests on behalf of minority artists to include women. The Art Workers’ Coalition was a loose collective of progressive artists, filmmakers, writers, critics and museum workers started in January 1969 in New York. They wanted art institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) to restructure, reform and become more politically involved. The artist Takis (b 1925) wanted a work removed from a MOMA exhibition because he didn’t feel it represented his current work. Several artists met to discuss the political and social role of the artists. These meetings evolved into political activism with protests, letters and demonstrations. However, women artists felt increasingly marginalized by the male-dominance of the group and splintered off to form their own collective as Women Artists in Revolutions (WAR). Many women artists had no gallery affiliation, which made museum exhibition more difficult. They were especially annoyed by the Whitney Museum of American Art’s ...

Article

Andrew Cross

English sculptors, video artists and performance artists. John Wood (b Hong Kong, 18 June 1969) and Paul Harrison (b Wolverhampton, 30 November 1966) both graduated as painters from Bath College of Higher Education and began working together in 1993. Their collaborative video works involve both artists performing bizarre but very simple actions. While referencing the early videos and performances of Bruce Nauman or Charles Ray, the humour and irony of their work is more reminiscent of British television comedy of the 1960s and 1970s. In 3 legged (1996; see D. Batchelor and C. Esche) the two protagonists are seen tied together at the ankle and confined within a simple wooden shelter while an automatic tennis server shoots balls at them; the two tussle in idiotic fashion while trying to avoid each ball. All their collaborative works examine their intimate physical collaboration or their relationship to a particular physical environment. ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Llanelli, Dyfed, March 24, 1958).

Welsh sculptor and film maker. He completed a foundation course at Dyfed College of Art (1976–7), a BFA at St Martin’s School of Art, London (1977–80), and an MA in Film and Television at the Royal College of Art, London (1981–4). On graduating from the Royal College of Art, he worked as an assistant to Derek Jarman, at the same time making a number of short experimental films. Although he moved to sculpture and installation in the early 1990s, the influence of film remained strong on his work. Movement was central to a wall-hung work made in an edition of three, Inverse, Reverse, Perverse (surface-mirrored acrylic, diam. 1.73 m, 1996; London, Saatchi Gal.), a large concave mirror that variously distorts the viewer’s body. In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni (we go round and round in the night and are consumed by fire) (neon, diam. 1.40 m, ...

Article

Akira Tatehata

(b Tokyo, April 22, 1928).

Japanese sculptor and video artist . He graduated from the law school, Nihon University, in Tokyo in 1951. In the same year he formed Experimental Workshop with the poet Shūzō Takiguchi, and others, and presented a wide range of avant-garde activities, mixing fine art, music and performance. In the series Vitrine (1952) he created two-dimensional works with an optical effect using glass sheets. In the early 1960s he created sculpture from wire-mesh and from stretched cloth. He participated in the New Japanese Painting and Sculpture exhibition at MOMA, New York, in 1965. In the same year he created his first work using light, Relation of C (Tokyo, Met. A. Mus.), and exhibited the light sculpture Bridge on May at the Venice Biennale in 1968. He organized an international exhibition Electro-magica at the Sony Building in Tokyo in 1969 and began to be regarded as a leader in the realm of art and technology. In ...

Article

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...