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Arthur Silberman

[Honanisto]

(b c. 1850; d Waurika, OK, July 5, 1927).

Native American Southern Cheyenne draughtsman. He was one of the most talented and innovative of the artists imprisoned between 1875 and 1878 at Fort Marion, St Augustine, FL (see Native North American art, §IV, 1, (iv)). The drawings in his and others’ “sketchbooks” transformed traditional Plains art and brought to it a balance, symmetry, rhythm and decorativeness seldom encountered before. Howling Wolf was arrested in 1875 after the Red River War and, charged with being a ringleader, was imprisoned without trial in Fort Marion. There, encouraged by Capt. Richard Henry Pratt (1840–1924), he filled sketchbooks for sale with drawings of life on the Plains and occasional portrayals of the journey to prison and life at the fort. He abandoned most of the old warrior art style of picture writing, suited to conveying detailed information about war deeds, and instead created a number of deliberately composed works with strong design elements. On return from prison, he at first urged his people to follow the Bible Road. Then, disillusioned by conditions on the reservation and by his own poverty, he obtained the chieftaincy of the Bowstrings, a warrior society resisting Euro-American encroachment. He also resumed attending the Sun Dance and later joined the Native American Church, the Peyote religion. After he became disillusioned Howling Wolf also resumed depicting his war exploits and contributed drawings to at least one fellow warrior’s sketchbook (untraced). The latest sketchbook known to have been produced by him was done for an ethnologist (...

Article

Reinhold Misselbeck

(b Berlin, Aug 1, 1930; d Hamburg, Nov 10, 1988).

German photographer . He studied art history and literature in Paris, Hamburg and the USA. Influenced by his encounter with American photography, he studied at the Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Lichtbildwesen (until 1956). He then became an independent photographer in Hamburg, teaching at the Staatliche Meisterschule für Mode Photographie and setting up a studio-house in ...

Article

Darryl Patrick

(b ?London; fl 1734–67).

English painter, active in the USA . Horace Walpole mentioned in his Anecdotes of Painting in England (1765) that a London portrait painter, John Woolston, had a son who also became a portrait painter. From works that this son painted in London in 1744, it appears that he changed the spelling of his last name to Wollaston. The American painter Charles Willson Peale in a letter of 1812 to his son referred to Wollaston’s training with a London drapery painter, but the portraits he was producing by the time he reached New York reflect abilities beyond those of a drapery painter. They are three-quarter-lengths showing little else than the subject, sombrely dressed. This style continued throughout his stay in New York (1749–51), with a growing concentration on fine apparel. The elegant dress of the females and subdued refinements of male attire advertise wealth and status. Despite a heavy reliance on engravings for pose and composition, his best portraits possess an animation about the mouth and eyes. His peculiar treatments of the eyes, slanted almond shapes, and rich fabrics in a range of colours that were touched with subtle highlights, identify even his unsigned portraits, for example ...

Article

Temma Balducci

American journal found in 1980. Woman’s Art Journal was founded in 1980 in Knoxville, TN, by the art historian Elsa Honig Fine and has been published biannually in May and November since that time. The inspiration for the journal came in part because other journals devoted to women and women’s art that had been started in the 1970s, such as Feminist Art Journal and Womanart, had ceased publication for various reasons despite their important contributions to the feminist art movement.

In its first issue, Fine indicated Woman’s Art Journal’s dual focus on “recording a hidden heritage” and the “reinterpretation of art history from our new awareness as women.” The first several issues of the journal fully reflect these areas of concentration. For example, women artists and critics, some of whom were well known and others hardly at all, had essays devoted to their work: Josephine Hopper, Anna Jameson, Louise Nevelson, Anna Mary Robertson Moses, and Katarzyna Kobro. Essays on broader issues important to women and women artists in these early issues focused on themes such as sexuality and maternity in the late 19th century, the use of nature as image and metaphor, and domestic madness in American art and poetry. Neither did the journal avoid controversial topics, devoting part of its second issue to Judy Chicago’s ...

Article

Margaret Moore Booker

(World’s Columbian Exhibition, Chicago)

Landmark structure built for the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893 that was administered, designed, and decorated entirely by women. The Woman’s Building was the most publicized exhibition of women’s art in the 19th century.

A national competition for the building was held, to which 13 designs were submitted by women architects. Sophia G. Hayden (1868–1953) of Jamaica Plains, MA, won first place; her impressive three-story Italian Renaissance-style structure—featuring center and end pavilions, multiple arches, and columned terraces—blended perfectly with the classical architecture of the Exposition. Praised for its “delicacy of line and grace of detail,” the building was recognized by national architectural journals.

Built for $200,000 on the west side of a lagoon, it was approximately 120×60 m and contained a large central Hall of Honor surrounded by meeting rooms (where conferences were held on advancing the rights of women), a library (designed by Candace Wheeler), and a roof-garden restaurant....

Article

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 (...

Article

Josephine Withers

[Feminist performance art]

The legacy of women and performance art was and is inestimable as it impacted future generations of artistic practice and questioned the boundaries between art and life. Performance art is a paradigm of feminism itself, which despite the claims of its detractors has never been a monolithic movement or single philosophical system. It borrows from the genres conventionally associated with the performing arts—acting, singing, music, dance, and theatre, as well as from guerrilla theatre, Happenings, and traditional religious ritual. Most performance artists, however, would disdain having their work associated with the theatre as performance art tends to be open-ended and less directive than conventional theatre and can occur in any public or private space. The vitality and strength of performance art was and is its unruliness, whether completely improvisational or tightly choreographed, and its resistance to simple definitions. The scope of feminist performance art is vast and this article focuses on its early developments in the USA in the 1970s (...

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

Catherine King and Dianne Sachko Macleod

Women have been influential in shaping the development of the visual arts as patrons and collectors throughout Western and non-Western cultural history. The early modern time span has been more extensively studied with reference to Western European traditions, so it has been possible to make some generalizations concerning patterns of gendered behaviour. By the beginning of the 16th century, the importance of female convent patronage waned, as did the influence of women considered to be candidates for canonization. In the years that followed, the scope of ruling women also shifted as sovereign government was curbed by constitutional power. In the 18th and 19th centuries, aristocratic female patrons were outnumbered by women whose fortunes stemmed from industry and commerce. Expected to adhere to their socially constructed roles as submissive helpmates of men, women were charged with beautifying the home and bolstering the family’s social status. Initially women focused on acquiring decorative arts—furniture, tapestries, porcelain, glassware and delicate objets d’art–which they displayed throughout the home, rather than in separate purpose-built cabinets or galleries favoured by male collectors who were consciously creating an art collection. As women gained confidence in their role as cultural consumers, they ventured further afield, visiting exhibitions, galleries, dealers and showrooms, and participating in arts organizations. Changes in the law granted women more control over their inheritance and income, as well as the right to divorce, resulting in their increased independence. Greater access to education eventually led to women becoming professional earners, commissioning works of art and founding museums, female colleges and universities. Empowered by their engagement with art, women patrons enriched the cultural and social life of their communities....

Article

Margaret Moore Booker

American art organization. Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA) was a groundbreaking organization that became the largest and most continuous national feminist political organization for women in art professions. It was founded on January 28, 1972, at the San Francisco convention of the College Art Association (CAA) to “increase opportunities, visibility, and recognition for women in the arts.”

The WCA was established by a group of women, led by art historian Ann Sutherland Harris, who were frustrated and angry that the CAA (the major organization for professionals in the visual arts) had a predominantly male board of directors, and its conferences consisted of mainly male presenters and male chairs of male-dominated panels. The women’s meeting in San Francisco, in January 1972, drew an overflow crowd, as more than 300 women gathered to tell their stories of gender discrimination in the country’s art studios, museums, and academia. A formal organization was decided upon and quickly formed, with Harris as the first WCA president (...

Article

Michelle Yun

(b Portland, OR, July 11, 1946; d San Francisco, CA, Aug 12, 1999).

Chinese–American painter and ceramicist. Wong was raised in San Francisco’s Chinatown and received a BA in Ceramics from Humboldt State University in 1968. After graduation, Wong became involved in San Francisco’s performance art scene and worked as a set painter for the Angels of Light Performance Troupe throughout the 1970s. At the age of 30, he decided to become a painter and moved to New York in 1978.

A self-taught painter, Wong’s early realist works often incorporated text and sign language, as in Psychiatrists Testify: Demon Dogs Drive Man to Murder (1980). In 1981 the artist moved to the Lower East Side, a predominantly black and Latino community that would serve as inspiration for the next decade. Wong was a key member of the East Village art scene in the 1980s. His gritty, heavily painted canvases depict the harsh realities of urban life through barren cityscapes of concrete, brick and steel (...

Article

Christine Boyanoski

(b Orillia, Ont., Oct 8, 1903; d Toronto, Jan 27, 1966).

Canadian sculptor . She is best known for her modernist interpretations of the Canadian landscape in sculpture, using such unconventional materials as aluminium, tin and glass. She attended the Ontario College of Art in Toronto (1921–6), concentrating on sculpture, which had interested her since childhood. After marrying her instructor Emanuel Hahn (1881–1957) in 1926, Wood went to New York and in 1926–7 studied at the Art Students League with Robert Laurent (1890–1970) and Edward McCarten (1879–1947). In 1927 she began exploring in sculptural form the spatial relationships of landscape elements, based on personal observations recorded in many drawings made in northern Ontario. For one of these works, the marble relief Passing Rain (1928; London, Ont., Reg. A.G.), she was awarded the Lord Willingdon Award for sculpture in 1929. She was also occupied throughout her career with monuments and architectural sculpture, notable examples being the Welland-Crowland War Memorial (...

Article

Sue Taylor

(De Volsen)

(b Anamosa, Iowa, Feb 13, 1891; d Iowa City, Iowa, Feb 12, 1942).

American artist and craftsman. He spent his life in Iowa as an art teacher and noted Regionalist who echoed in visual art the devotion to Midwestern subjects embraced by Iowa writers Paul Engle, Jay Sigmund, and Ruth Suckow. In the 1930s, Wood became associated with Midwesterners Thomas Hart Benton and John Steuart Curry, promoted by New York art dealer Maynard Walker as a genuinely American alternative to modern abstract painting based on European models. Addressing rural and small-town themes in their work, the three achieved national renown through coverage in the popular press, especially Henry Luce’s Time and Life magazines.

The second of four children of Francis Maryville Wood and Hattie Weaver Wood, Grant De Volsen Wood spent his first ten years on the Iowa farm where he was born. Following the death of his father in 1901, the family relocated to Cedar Rapids. Wood’s artistic education was sporadic. After graduating from Washington High School in ...

Article

Mark W. Sullivan

(b Montpelier, VT, Nov 12, 1823; d New York, April 14, 1903).

American painter . His art career dates from 1846, when he visited Boston, MA, and was either inspired or taught by the noted portrait painter Chester Harding. For the next 20 years he was an itinerant and little-known portrait painter. Then in 1867 he exhibited a set of three paintings collectively entitled a Bit of War History (1866; New York, Met.) at the National Academy of Design in New York. These genre paintings celebrated those freed slaves who had fought for the Union cause in the Civil War, and they touched a strong chord in the public feeling of the day. On the strength of these oils, Wood was made a member of the National Academy in 1871, and in 1873 he painted what may be his best work, the Village Post Office (New York, NY Hist. Soc.). He eventually served as president of the Academy (1891–9) and was instrumental in the founding of a museum and several artists’ organizations. He has been largely forgotten, because he tended toward sentimentalism later in his career, but his works contain a wealth of information on 19th-century life....

Article

Helaine Posner

(b Denver, CO, April 2, 1958; d New York, Jan 19, 1981).

American photographer . From the age of 11, Woodman spent summers at her parent’s farmhouse in Tuscany and later studied art in Rome through the European honours programme at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, from which she graduated. Her highly personal and intimate photographs have attracted a strong following, particularly among younger women artists, critics and curators. From 1972 to 1981 she created nearly 500 elegant black-and-white photographs in which an astonishingly prescient and mature aesthetic viewpoint emerges, one that centres on her self-portrait as a means of elaborating the ongoing fetishishization of the female body in Western culture. Filled with irony and grace, Woodman’s photographs of her youthful body, either nude or adorned with feminine accessories such as jewellery, garter-belts and high-heeled shoes, reveal an intense preoccupation with cultural construction of femininity, especially as it has been shaped by the erotic fantasies of men. Unlike the critical representations of Cindy Sherman, which expose the objectification of the female body, Woodman readily presents herself as an elusive, fragile being, entrapped by male expectation and by the realization that sexual identity is both socially and psychologically inscribed. Her photographs, however, are not simply performances staged for a male viewer, their consistent emotional intensity suggests something even more compelling. Woodman’s compulsion to scrutinize her nude form also expresses her remarkably courageous yet vulnerable quest for self-knowledge....

Article

( Aspacio )

(b Cairo, IL, Aug 26, 1900; d New York, NY, Sept 6, 1980).

American painter, printmaker, and teacher . He was a leading artist of the Harlem Renaissance ( see African American art §I 2. ) and studied at the John Herron Institute, Indianapolis, the school of the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and the Académie Scandinave and the Académie Moderne, Paris. He also worked with Henry Ossawa Tanner in Paris (1931) and studied mural painting with Diego Rivera in Mexico City (1936). From the European schools he learnt strong composition and the narrative power of Goya. He was concerned to amplify the problems of Black Americans, and his murals (influenced by Rivera) carry sharp commentaries on subjects such as the poor social conditions of his compatriots and forebears in Georgia, the Amistad slave uprising and the creation of Talladega College (e.g. the Amistad Murals, Talladega College, AL). In the South, Woodruff discovered and taught several talented artists including ...

Article

Elizabeth Johns and Paul Usherwood

Family of artists of American descent.

(b Baltimore, April 30, 1825; d London, Aug 13, 1855).

Painter . Although he grew up in Baltimore and is known for his American genre paintings, he created most of his work abroad. He relied during his schooling on engravings and art books, possibly studying with the Baltimore artist Alfred Jacob Miller and copying works in the Baltimore collection of Robert Gilmor, which was strong in Dutch and Flemish paintings, and had at least two genre works by William Sidney Mount. By 1842, when Woodville enrolled briefly at medical school, he was working as a portrait painter, although he soon turned his efforts to genre scenes. He exhibited Scene in a Bar-room (untraced) at the National Academy of Design, New York, in 1845 and the same year went to Düsseldorf, where he studied with Carl Ferdinand Sohn. Absorbing to stunning advantage the careful draughtsmanship, use of local colour, complex figural groupings, and precise finish of the Düsseldorf school, Woodville produced a small but accomplished group of genre paintings that comprise his life work....

Article

Francis Summers

(b New York, Sept 17, 1955).

American painter. After a short period of formal training as a painter at the New York Studio School, he dropped out and immersed himself in the world of underground film and music. He re-emerged creatively as a painter of severe unrelieved abstraction. Using figurated rollers from hardware stores, Wool created a series of untitled paintings that vacillate between floral decoration and abstraction with a concentration on the meeting of an economic utility and a debased aesthetic tradition. Later, he began to use a system of screen printing the floral imagery, which he decomposed through overprinting and overpainting, as in Maggie’s Brain (1995; Chicago, IL, A. Inst.).

Wool began to create word paintings in the late 1980s, reportedly after having seen graffiti on a brand new white truck. In an early example Apocalypse Now (1988; New York, MOMA), the words ‘SELL THE HOUSE SELL THE CAR SELL THE KIDS’ are stencilled in upper-case letters on to the surface. Using a system of alliteration, with the words often broken up by a grid system, or with the vowels removed (as in ‘TRBL’ or ‘DRNK’), Wool’s word paintings often demand reading aloud to make sense. The visual as well as verbal violence of his use of language is most obvious in ...

Article

Ann Harlow

(b San Francisco, CA, Aug 1, 1859 [or possibly 1858 or 1860]; d San Francisco, CA, Sept 11, 1939).

American painter. He started his art training at age 12 in the studio of Joseph Harrington and was one of the first pupils enrolled in the San Francisco School of Design when it opened in 1874. After a year there, he was encouraged by San Francisco artist Toby Rosenthal (1848–1917), whose father knew Wores, to study art in Munich. In the fall of 1875, following some lessons with Rosenthal, Wores was admitted to the Akademie der Bildenden Künste. He was taught there by Ludwig von Löfftz (1845–1910) and Alexander Wagner (1826–94), and he won several awards. He took some additional art instruction from William Merritt Chase and Frank Duveneck.

Wores became even more widely travelled than some of his fellow expatriate American artists. James McNeill Whistler, whom Wores met in Venice in 1881, helped him with letters of introduction that led to a three-year stay in Japan (...

Article

The Federal Art Project (FAP) was the visual arts branch of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a government agency created in 1935 to find employment for people on public projects in response to the Great Depression. In December 1933 the ambitious Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) was set up to create regional offices to employ artists, with Edward Bruce of the Treasury Department as national director. The successful program employed some 3749 artists across the country, but it was phased out by the summer of 1934. (Bruce later headed other programs under the Treasury Department that employed artists.)

With the relief needs of artists, writers, musicians and theater people unresolved and with the experimental climate of the New Deal still energizing legislation, Harry Hopkins of the WPA set up Federal Project No. 1 in August 1935, which had the most far-reaching cultural impact on the country. There were four cultural projects: Art, Music, Theatre and Writers. For the art project, ...