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Article

Gregory Harris

(b Hartford, CT, 1951).

American photographer. DiCorcia was part of a generation of photographers that emerged in the 1980s that sought to challenge the perceived objectivity of photography by creating skilfully lit and often elaborately staged images. Born into a second-generation Italian Catholic family, diCorcia studied photography at the University of Hartford and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), Boston, in the mid-1970s and eventually earned an MFA from Yale University in 1979. DiCorcia’s early work is often associated with the ‘Boston School’, a group of photographers who attended the SMFA and became known for the diaristic and autobiographical nature of their work. Throughout his career, diCorcia balanced his work between photographs that address personal and domestic subject-matter and photographs made in the visual tradition of ‘street photography’ that deal with public life as it plays out on streets across the world. From the early 1980s diCorcia maintained an active career as an editorial and commercial photographer alongside his fine art practice....

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Santa Monica, CA, 1949).

American photographer. He studied at the California State University (BA 1971) and then continued his studies at the University of California (MFA 1974). His series of black and white photographs, Vandalism (1974) were taken in abandoned houses in which Divola spray painted his own grafitti then photographed it. Vandalism lead to the series Zuma (1977–8), in which he photographed a derelict house on Zuma Beach on the Pacific Coast, which was continally altered by acts of vandalism, and by being set on fire for exercises by the local fire brigade. These colour photographs, taken at dawn and dusk, contrast the beautiful landscape outside with the eroding interior, as in Zuma #20 (1978; see 1998 exh. cat., p. 10). In the 1980s, Divola began to make photographic diptychs, with the links between the two chosen images not always clearly understandable, as in Untitled (...

Article

Mary Panzer

(b Cambridge, MA, April 26, 1937).

American photographer and writer. After attending university in the Boston area, she worked in New York at Grove Press, arranging readings for poets such as Robert Creeley and Allen Ginsberg. Dorfman eventually settled in Cambridge, MA, a centre of intellectual alternative culture, where her friend George Cope taught her to use a camera in 1965. She began making portraits of literary figures with a 35mm camera and black-and-white film, supporting herself as a freelance editor. In 1973–4, as a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College, she produced a memoir with photographs titled Elsa’s Housebook, now considered a feminist classic.

In 1980 the Polaroid Corporation gave Dorfman and a number of other artists access to the experimental 20×24 instant camera, named for the size of the image it produced (in inches). Beginning in 1987 Dorfman rented a 20×24 from Polaroid and worked in colour. Over the next two and half decades Dorfman developed a style that combined the camera’s formal characteristics with her own ability as a writer and an artist to identify universal qualities in the most personal stories. She photographed some families more than once, and produced extended portraits of Allen Ginsberg, her husband, her son and his friends, and herself. In the 1990s she became one of the first photographers to establish a website, using it as exhibition space and archive for her photographs, books, essays, films, and reviews of her work. After the Polaroid Corporation collapsed in the early 21st century, she helped lead a movement to establish an independent company to support the 20×24 instant camera....

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Vancouver, 1960).

Canadian photographer and film maker, lives and works in Vancouver. After studying at the Emily Carr College of Art in Vancouver (1979–82), he began making films and videos that reflect on issues of culture and technology and on the relationship between popular representations of history and subjectivity. In 1988 long-term research culminated in an essay and exhibition that gathered together Samuel Beckett’s eight works for film and television. Samuel Beckett: Teleplays, which toured Canada, America and Europe for four years, touches on themes of alienation, displacement and the collapse of subjectivity that Douglas explores in his film and video installations. For his slide installation Onomatopoeia, (1985–6), lasting six minutes in each rotation, Douglas projected 154 black-and-white images of an empty textile factory on to a screen hanging over an 88-noteplayer-piano that played bars from Beethoven’s C Minor Sonata, Opus 11; the selected refrain sounded uncannily like a ragtime piece. By isolating this phenomenon Douglas pointed to the difficulties of interpreting history from an unbiased perspective. The questioning of habit and criticism of popular contemporary media was continued in ...

Article

Eric Gottesman

(b Detroit, MI, June 28, 1951).

American photographer and educator. She grew up in Detroit, received a BA from Antioch College in 1974 and studied photography with Minor White at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In eastern Kentucky from 1976 to 1980, she taught photography at the Appalshop media cooperative. In her book Portraits and Dreams (1985), her photographs mingled with those made by her subjects, rural Appalachian children. The book both borrowed from and challenged the documentary tradition (see Documentary photography) and in the process invented a new form of portraying people and communities. This publication later spawned a field known as ‘participatory’ or ‘pluralist’ photography, where the photographer and subject share in photographic production. Ewald went on to complete projects around the world—in Colombia, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Mexico, Tanzania, Labrador, Israel, and the United States—that questioned photographic authority and blurred the lines between photographer and subject, art and education....

Article

Reena Jana

(b Cologne, Germany, 1969).

American mixed-media artist of German birth and Asian descent. Ezawa studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf (1990–94) before moving to San Francisco in 1994. He received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute (1995) and an MFA from Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA (2003). Ezawa is not a photographer, but his work centers around photography; he has used a variety of media, from digital animations to paper collages and aquatint prints, to revisit some of the world’s most familiar, infamous and historically significant news photographs, television broadcasts and motion-picture stills (see The Simpson Verdict). All of Ezawa’s work utilizes the artist’s signature style of flat, simple renderings that are cartoonlike and also suggest the streamlined and colorful style of Pop artist Katz, Alex.

Ezawa’s project, The History of Photography Remix (2004–6), exemplifies his approach to exploring the power of photographs as a mirror of reality and yet also a force that can manipulate memories of events and people. The project consists of images appropriated from art history textbooks, such as American photographer Cindy Sherman’s ...

Article

Mary Christian

[Laurence]

(b New York, March 11, 1941).

American photographer. He studied photography privately with Lisette Model and with Alexey Brodovitch (1898–1971). In 1974 he began to photograph the élite at benefit galas and fashionable nightclubs in New York, for example Benefit, the Museum of Modern Art, June 1977 (see Fink, 1984, p. 23). After he moved to rural Martin’s Creek, PA, in 1980, his photography of social celebrations focused on the unmannered directness of his neighbours at family parties, such as Pat Sabatine’s Twelfth Birthday Party, May 1981 (see Fink, 1984, pp. 76–7, 79), and county fairs. His use of a hand-held flash sharply lit the faces of his subjects, and, with the high contrast that he favoured in his developing, the fleeting animation of his subjects’ gestures and expressions was intensified.

Fink, Larry Social Graces (Millerton, 1984; 2/New York, 2001)...

Article

Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander

(b Santa Maria, CA, Sept 19, 1967).

Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander

American social practice artist.

He was awarded a BFA in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1990 and an MFA from California College of the Arts in 1994. Not confined to any particular media, his work is characterized by its collaborative, socially engaged, and interdisciplinary nature; the thematic focus of his art ranges from exploring personal narratives to engaging with larger global conflicts. In addition to his formal artistic training he also received a certification in Ecological Horticulture at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied organic farming. His interest in agriculture is a reflection of his larger involvement with communities and food systems, and has manifested in his work as both an artist and a pedagogue through the establishment of an outdoor classroom at an organic farm with his students at Portland State University, where he established the second MFA programme in social practice in the USA. His work often challenges notions of the ‘passive viewer’ or ‘singular artist’, by creating projects that are generated primarily by viewer/artist interaction. Fletcher instead acts as a kind of facilitator; for example, for ...

Article

Michelle Yun

(b Manila, 1954).

Filipino filmmaker and photographer, active in the USA. Fuentes received a BA in Anthropology and Behavioral Science in 1974 from the De La Salle University in Manila. The following year he traveled to the United States to study at the Wharton School of Business, Philadelphia, PA, receiving an MBA in 1977. In 1981, he moved to Washington, DC to study Photography at the Corcoran School of Art under Mark Power. Fuentes subsequently received a Presidential Fellowship in 1991 from Temple University to pursue a MFA in Film and Video.

Fuentes began his artistic practice as a photographer and is best known in this medium for two series, Circle of Fear (1981–91) and Face Fusion (1986–9). These two bodies of work initially sprang from the artist’s feeling of disconnection towards both his Filipino roots and his adopted home in America. The Circle of Fear works incorporate a syncretic mix of Filipino folk culture with Western iconography to create fetishistic still lifes with a Post-modern gothic sensibility. ...

Article

Monica McTighe

(b London, 1961).

British photographer, active also in America. Fuss worked with historical photographic processes to produce personal symbolic images with themes such as birth, death, and spirituality. He was born in 1961 in London and spent his childhood in Australia and England. His father died when Fuss was a child. As a student, he became interested in nature and science, themes that emerged in his images. He began as an apprentice at a commercial photography firm in Sydney. Settling later in New York City, he worked as an exhibition photographer and became interested in pinhole photography. He produced a series of pinhole images of Classical sculptures in museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the British Museum in London after dark. In the 1990s he made photograms, recording images of ripples on the surface of a pool. Using flashlights suspended over the photosensitive surface, he made abstract images that hint at natural rhythms. His photograms of infants partially submerged in water and snakes swimming through water suggested a connection with religious iconography. His best-known works in this series are titled ...

Article

Canadian partnership of conceptual artists working as performance artists, video artists, photographers and sculptors. It was formed in 1968 by A. A. Bronson [pseud. of Michael Tims] (b Vancouver, 1946), Felix Partz [pseud. of Ron Gabe] (b Winnipeg, 1945) and Jorge Zontal [pseud. of Jorge Saia] (b Parma, Italy, 1944; d Feb 1994). Influenced by semiotics and working in various media, they sought to examine and subvert social structures, taking particular interest in the products of mass culture. Their existence as a group, each with an assumed name, itself undermined the traditional notion of the solitary artist of genius. In 1972 they began publishing a quarterly journal, File, to publicize their current interests and work. In the 1970s they concentrated on beauty parades, starting in 1970 with the 1970 Miss General Idea Pageant, a performance at the Festival of Underground Theatre in Toronto that mocked the clichés surrounding the beauty parade, resulting in the nomination of Miss General Idea ...

Article

Oldest and largest photography museum in the United States, located in Rochester, NY. Since it opened its doors to the public in November 1949, George Eastman House has played a pivotal role in shaping and expanding the field of American photography. George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company, never knew his home would become a museum; he bequeathed the mansion where he lived from 1905 until 1932 to the University of Rochester to serve as the residence of its president. In 1946 a board of trustees was formed to establish George Eastman House as an independent, non-profit museum, a memorial to Eastman and his advancements in photographic technology.

Working under director Oscar Solbert, a retired US Army general and former Kodak executive, was the museum’s first curator, Beaumont Newhall. Newhall transformed the museum from one primarily concerned with the technical applications of photography to one emphasizing its artistic development. The museum became an international centre of scholarship, and in ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Washington, DC, Sept 12, 1953).

American photographer. Goldin began taking photographs as a teenager in Boston, MA. Her earliest works, black-and-white images of drag queens, were celebrations of the subcultural lifestyle of the community to which she belonged. She has often said of her work that it documents an extended family, a statement testified by the informality and intimacy of her pictures. During a period of study at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, she began displaying her work in the format of a slide-show, a constantly evolving project that acquired the title (appropriated from The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht) The Ballad of Sexual Dependency in 1981. This collection of images had a loose thematic structure and was usually shown with an accompanying sound-track, first in the clubs where many of the images were taken and then within gallery spaces. She carried on with work on The Ballad...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

[González-Torres, Félix]

(b Guaimaro, Cuba, Nov 26, 1957; d New York, Jan 9, 1996).

American sculptor and photographer of Cuban birth. He moved in 1979 to New York, where he completed a BFA in photography at the Pratt Institute (1983) and an MFA at the International Center of Photography, New York University (1987), as well as enrolling in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. In 1987 he joined Group Material, a New York-based group of artists whose intention was to work collaboratively, adhering to principles of cultural activism and community education. His own engagement as a gay man with socio-political issues, as well as his exploration of the way in which politics can infiltrate personal life, forms the background to his work, centred around the interaction of public and private spheres. In 1989 he presented his first stacked-paper work, Untitled (Memorial Day Weekend) and Untitled (Veterans Day Sale), exhibited together as Untitled (Monuments) (L. and R. Plehn priv. col., see ...

Article

Mary Christian

(b Danville, WV, Dec 22, 1941).

American photographer. He was a student of fine arts at Richmond Professional Institute, VA, from 1961 to 1965 and at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he studied with Harry Callahan from 1965 to 1967. From the late 1960s he was also influenced by Frederick Sommer. Gowin’s deeply religious upbringing played an important role in his work. Most of his photographs from the mid-1960s until the early 1980s focus upon his wife and her family in Danville, VA, transforming them into universal symbols of ritual and family relationships. Many of these are deeply personal and almost religious in the powerful symbols they evoke; in Edith, Danville, Virginia, 1971 (see Gowin, 1976, p. 51) his wife is seen, as if clandestinely, in the privacy of a dark bedroom. His occasional use of a lens that vignettes the image into a circle also evoked ideas of a microcosm of the earth or of tourist photographs taken with an early Kodak camera....

Article

Catherine M. Grant and Margaret Rose Vendryes

(b Cleveland, OH, 1959).

American printmaker, film maker, installation and conceptual artist and writer.

Green, of African descent, has worked primarily with film-based media, and has published criticism and designed installations that reveal her commitment to ongoing feminist and black empowerment movements. She earned her BA from Wesleyan University in 1981 and also spent some time at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1980, returning in the late 1980s to study in the Whitney Independent Study Program, graduating in 1990. At the age of 24 she began exhibiting her comparative compositions containing found objects, images, and texts that question recorded history.

Green’s work deals with issues of anthropology and travel. By undertaking projects via the methodology of the 19th-century explorer, she exposed the arbitrary and prejudiced nature of classification, as in Bequest (1991; see 1993 exh. cat.), an installation she made at the invitation of the Worcester Museum of Art to commemorate their 50th anniversary. Using the museum as a ready-made stage set, she installed works of art alongside 19th-century texts explaining stereotypes of whiteness and blackness. Green characteristically intervened in the history of her chosen site to produce a fiction that included her own responses as an African American woman to her findings. In ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Plainfield, NJ, April 24, 1943; d Montpon-Ménestérol, France, Jan 1, 2012).

American photographer and painter. She trained as a painter at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, graduating with a BFA in 1965. She then studied for an MA in Art Education at Ohio State University, graduating in 1970. In the early 1970s she began to take photographs, publishing a book in 1973 that included triptychs taken from a fixed point, showing vehicles travelling across the landscape, for example Emerging Rock/Measure (1973; see 1973 publication, fig.). In the same year she moved to New York, where she continued to make photographic diptychs and triptychs of urban environments, emphasizing the formal composition. In 1976–7 she made a series of over 100 triptychs of the suburban landscape of New Jersey, where she had grown up. It was in the late 1970s that Groover achieved commercial success with her still-life compositions of kitchen objects. These images focused on the elegance of the objects, abstracting their functional quality and highlighting the interplay of shapes and light, in a similar way to Robert Mapplethorpe’s studies of flowers, as in ...

Article

Klaus Ottmann

(b Lima, OH, June 22, 1956).

American installation artist, photographer, and video artist. Hamilton is known for creating complexly structured, highly sensual, site-specific environments that investigate visual and aural relationships with the human body. Hamilton studied textile design at the University of Kansas in Lawrence and sculpture at Yale University School of Art in New Haven. Using a wide range of metaphorical and associative materials, her installations function in the chasm between immediate experience and memory and frequently address the antinomy of creation and destruction in art.

In Privations & Excesses (1989; San Francisco, CA, Capp Street Project), Hamilton sat in a room whose floor was covered with 750,000 pennies, while obsessively wringing her hands in a hat filled with honey and, in an barred space behind her, several sheep grazed. In topos (1993; New York, Dia Center for the Arts), a figure seated in the midst of an expansive sea of interwoven horsehair, fastidiously erased printed letters from a book with a heating coil. In ...

Article

James Smalls

(b Bronx, New York, 1965).

African American photographer. Harris is best known for his dramatically staged self-portraits (in which he performs roles of the opposite gender or race) and photographs of his family members and friends. His works are conceptually and theoretically informed by elements of history and an awareness of the concerns of feminist, gay and lesbian, and postcolonial discourses.

Harris graduated with an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia in 1990. He studied at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York in 1991 and in the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1992. His work has been exhibited internationally, including at both the Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, the Kunsthalle, Basel, and the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva.

In most of his photographs, Harris uses his own body as a conduit through which he poses questions and brings up issues around race, gender, and sexuality. In them, Harris assumes a variety of poses and roles—as boxer, ballerina, Billie Holiday, diva or gangster. As such, his photographs constitute investigations into the incoherencies of accepted and acceptable identities....

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(b Buffalo, NY, 1950).

Tuscarora artist, writer, educator, and museum director. Hill studied at the Art Institute of Chicago (1968–70), and was awarded a Master of Arts degree from SUNY, Buffalo, NY (1980).

Intrigued with Seneca General Ely Parker (General Grant’s Military Secretary), Hill investigated Parker’s life, which took him to Washington, DC, for two years. Hill began to identify with Parker’s experience and realized he would devote himself to enlightening others about Native American arts, knowledge, education, and culture.

Hill was skilled in painting, photography, carving, beading, and basket weaving, and many of these works are located at the Canadian Museum of Civilizations, Quebec; the Woodland Indian Cultural Center, Brantford, Ontario; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK; the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Washington, DC; and the Seneca Iroquois National Museum, Salamanca, NY. He taught at McMaster University, Mohawk College, Six Nations Polytechnic, and SUNY at Buffalo. Hill developed a culturally based Seneca Language curriculum and training models for teaching....