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Article

Nadja Rottner

French critic and philosopher Nicolas Bourriaud adopted the term ‘relational aesthetics’ in the mid-1990s to refer to the work of a selected group of artists, and what he considers their novel approach to a socially conscious art of participation: an art that takes as its content the human relations elicited by the artwork. Its key practitioners, most of them emerging in the 1990s, include Rirkrit Tiravanija , Philippe Parreno (b 1964), Liam Gillick, Pierre Huyghe, Maurizio Cattelan, Carsten Höller , and Vanessa Beecroft . For example, Carsten Höller installed Test Site (2006) at the Tate Modern in London so that visitors could enjoy the amusement park thrill of large playground slides in the museum’s Turbine Hall, and bond with fellow viewers over their experience. Bourriaud’s collected writings in Relational Aesthetics (1998, Eng. edn 2002) helped to spark a new wave of interest in participatory art.

While Bourriaud omits acknowledging the historical roots of relational art, Marxist-influenced critiques of the changing conditions of modern life, and arguments for art’s ability to improve man’s relationship with reality have a long history in 20th-century art. Critics Walter Benjamin and Siegfried Kracauer were among the first to developed new models for an art of politicized participation in the 1920s. The relational art of the 1990s and early 2000s is a continuation and an extension of traditions of participatory art throughout the 20th century (such as ...

Article

Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel

The final decades of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century witnessed an increasing propensity for artists to incorporate aspects of science in their own art. In many fields of scientific research—including the cloning of mammals, the genetic modification of crops, the creation of bioengineered organs and tissues, advances in nanotechnology and robotics, experimental research in how the human mind works and the study of artificial intelligence—the frontiers of knowledge pushed outward at an accelerated pace. In the spirit of creative inquiry, or in order to critique the goals and outcomes of scientific experimentation and application, artists regularly borrowed subjects, tools and approaches from science as a means to the production of art ( see fig. ).

In documenting and assessing the achievements of visual artists engaged with science, there was no broad consensus on the categorisation of artists’ work across the full range of activities, methods, motivations and use of materials. Assessments of artistic practice focused on artists’ work categorised by the traditional fields of science (e.g. artists who explore biology, artists who explore physical sciences). Other analyses of artistic practice focused on categories of art media (e.g. artists who use traditional means such as carving and casting to represent scientific discoveries, artists who explore and employ biological materials and scientific instruments)....

Article

Elizabeth Meredith Dowling

(b Oakland, CA, April 23, 1948).

American architect, educator, historian and writer. Smith’s lasting contribution to architecture was reintroducing the teaching of classical and traditional design that had been supplanted in American architectural education by modernist precepts. These modernist ideas originated in the early 20th-century at the Bauhaus in Germany.

Smith’s academic training began in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts in painting from the University of California at Berkeley. After an extensive period of study and travel in Europe, including trips to Rome and Vicenza, he refocused his training on architecture and received a Master of Architecture in 1975 from the University of California at Berkeley. Smith’s early architectural projects expressed the current Postmodern style that incorporated historic elements in an otherwise modern building. His growing interest in canonical classicism influenced his decision to apply for the Rome Prize in Architecture, which allowed him to study at the American Academy in Rome in 1979. He was included in the seminal ...

Article

[SAH]

Professional organization devoted to the study of architecture worldwide. Founded in 1940 by a small group of students and teachers attending summer session at Harvard University, the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) has grown into the leading professional and scholarly organization in the world concerned with various aspects of the built environment. With a membership of around 2700, composed of architectural historians, architects, planners, preservationists, students, and other individuals interested in the subject, as well as nearly 1000 institutions worldwide, it publishes a scholarly periodical, the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, whose topics range from antiquity to the present day around the world; a monthly electronic Newsletter; and a multi-volume book series of detailed guides to the architecture of the individual American states, Buildings of the United States (BUS). The Society sponsors an annual meeting, held each year in a different part of the USA or Canada, or occasionally elsewhere, where members present scholarly papers, discuss these papers and other architectural topics, explore the area via a series of tours, and learn of the award of a number of prizes for notable accomplishments in the field, as well as designation of Fellows of the Society for lifetime contributions to architectural history. These include four book awards, the Alice Davis Hitchcock, Spiro Kostof, Elisabeth Blair MacDougall, and Antoinette Forrester Downing, for architecture, the built environment, landscape architecture, and preservation, respectively; the Philip Johnson Exhibition Catalogue Award; the Founders’ Award for the best article published in the ...

Article

Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel

Art reflecting spiritual belief systems and practices has been vibrantly diverse in American history, reflecting the pluralism of religions and personal spiritual beliefs found in America. Art historians have analysed some of this art in depth, including 19th-century art reflecting transcendentalism; the work of folk and outsider artists that is openly religious (see also Folk Art in America); the art of particular religious sects such as the Shakers; and contemporary art that includes expressions of doubt and criticism as well as faith. Otherwise, until recently scholars tended to dismiss openly religious art in general and to downplay or ignore more coded spiritual content. As a result, the topic of spirituality and American art remained under-theorized, with an imprecise vocabulary.

Art expressing spiritual meanings may or may not be tied to a defined religion. The term religion refers to institutionalized systems of belief with a recorded history, established traditions, and shared rituals and doctrines, including such major long-standing religions as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. Worldwide and throughout history, a vast amount of art has been made in the service of these particular religions, as well as other religions practised by smaller numbers of people. Such art tells the stories of specific religious traditions, gives visual form to ideas of divinity, maintains a religious group’s identity, and provides devotional images, objects, and settings (churches, synagogues, mosques, temples) for religious worship and rituals....

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

Tom Williams

Exhibition of contemporary art held periodically at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. It was first held in 1932, shortly after the museum first open its doors to the public and has consistently showcased a broad range of trends in contemporary art. Its organization and frequency has varied wildly over the years. In its early years, the exhibition typically alternated between painting and other media, and it occurred either on an annual or biennial basis. In 1973, however, it assumed its current form as a single exhibition of painting, sculpture, and other media occurring every two years. The exhibition has often been controversial and widely criticized, but it continues to be regarded as a crucial barometer of current trends in contemporary art.

It was originally conceived as a continuation of an earlier series of annual exhibitions that were organized for members of the Whitney Studio Club. This organization was founded in ...

Article

Louise Sandhaus

( Yvonne Elizabeth Stella )

(b Ontario, May 31, 1953).

American graphic designer, art historian and art educator of Canadian birth. She studied at Michigan State University, East Lansing, transferring in 1973 to the design programme run by Katherine McCoy at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI, receiving her BFA in 1975. She then worked for Vignelli Associates in New York from 1977 to 1978, while researching the history of American graphic design post World War II on weekends. Her personal research led to further study at Yale University (1982). While at Yale she designed Perspecta 19, Yale’s architectural journal, followed by the Chamber Works and Theatrum Mundi portfolios for the architect Daniel Libeskind (b 1946), and architect John Hejduk’s book Mask of Medusa in 1985. These projects launched her reputation for thoughtful and distinctively designed books on architecture, art and design.

Her 1982 MFA thesis, entitled Trends in American Graphic Design: 1930–1955, was quickly recognized as an important contribution to design scholarship and subsequently led to many commissions for essays. While teaching in the University of Houston’s architecture school during the early 1980s, Wild wrote the influential essay ‘More Than A Few Questions about Graphic Design Education’ (...

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 ...