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John-Paul Stonard

[Höllinger, Waltraud]

(b Linz, 1940).

Austrian film maker, video artist, photographer and performance artist. After studies in Linz and Vienna (1955–64) and work as a script girl, film editor and film extra (1965–8), she signalled her decision to follow a career as an artist by changing her name to Valie Export (a combination of the abbreviated form of her forename and a reference to a popular brand of cheap Austrian cigarettes, ‘Austria Export’). The provocative and politically engaged stance she then developed in her work constituted a relentless exploration of feminist issues and a wish for direct social change as a result of her activities as an artist. In one of her best-known earlier works, Genital Panic (1969), originally an impromptu performance in a Munich cinema, she confronted audience members wearing trousers exposing her genitals. This work was later made into a photographic poster depicting the artist wearing the same confrontational apparel, sporting a wild hair-do and holding a gun. Agitational erotic interaction had also featured in a well-known street performance of the same year, ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

Swiss sculptors, photographers, video artists and installation artists. Peter Fischli (b Zurich, 8 June 1952) studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Urbino (1975–6) and the Accademia di Belle Arti, Bologna (1976–7). David Weiss (b Zurich, 21 June 1946) studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Zurich (1963–4), and the Kunstgewerbeschule, Basel (1964–5). Their first collaborative venture was a series of ten colour photographs, Wurstserie (‘sausage series’, 1979; Minneapolis, MN, Walker A. Cent.), depicting small scenes constructed with various types of meat and sausage and everyday objects, with titles such as At the North Pole and The Caveman. Such playful use of common objects became central to their work, an aspect of their disdain for what they term ‘Bedeutungskitsch’ (the kitsch of heavy meaning and overwrought rhetoric). Der Lauf der Dinge (‘The Flow of Things’, 16mm colour film transferred to laser disc, 30 mins, ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Geneva, June 24, 1961).

Swiss sculptor, video artist and installation artist. From the early 1990s the luxury shopping bag formed one of the central motifs of her work. Her choice of such a fetishistic object was prompted by the wider debates of fashion, luxury consumption and gender representation raised by her work. Many of her installations involved the presentation of unaltered found (or, more accurately, ‘bought’) objects within a gallery context, a strategy traceable to the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp. The dialogues set up refer not only to the world of fashion, but also to the masculine aesthetic of certain ‘modern masters’; Fleury’s strategy involved recasting this aesthetic in the superficial yet seductive materials of contemporary fashion. Composition in the Square with Red Corner (Painting No. 3) (acrylic, synthetic fur, wood, 1×1 m, 1992; courtesy Geneva, Gal. A. & Pub.), is an ambivalent homage to Piet Mondrian, revisiting his painterly format but substituting the primary-coloured sections with synthetic fur. The use of artificial fur to cover surfaces within her multi-media installations throughout the 1990s formed part of an exploration of gender ambivalence, suggesting an increasing intermingling of male and female identities. The confusion of traditional aesthetic categories of ‘hard’ masculine and ‘soft’ feminine can be seen in her evolving work ...

Article

Helen Ennis

(b Melbourne, March 19, 1943; d Melbourne, Nov 6, 2009).

Australian photographer, film maker, and video artist. Ford studied photography at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 1961 and worked intermittently in the field of commercial photography in Melbourne until 1967. Her daughter Emma was born in 1967 and son Ben in 1968. Ford was a key figure in the development of the art photography movement in Australia and was one of the first women photographers to establish an independent art practice. Her earliest photographs, portraits of her female friends, were not exhibited at the time but were eventually shown at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, in 1982 and published in the book Sixtieth of a Second (1987). Ford’s first solo exhibition, Metamorphoses, was held in Melbourne in 1971 and her first Time series was exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, in 1974. She continued to exhibit regularly at public galleries and art museums in subsequent decades. ...

Article

Donna Stein

(b New York, May 29, 1940; d New York, Nov 21, 1998).

American multimedia artist, video artist, teacher and writer. She studied painting at Cornell University (BA 1961) and New York University (MA 1967). She married architect James Ingo Freed in 1967. By the late 1960s she possessed a Portapak, one of the earliest Sony portable video recorders, and was among the first generation of artists to create and define video art. At first, she used video to produce a series of artist portraits, interviewing James Rosenquist, Lee Krasner, Adolph Gottlieb, Robert Morris, Roy Lichtenstein, and Joyce Kozloff, among others. Later she investigated personal, social and political issues relating to gender and sexuality. In 1972, her work was featured in the groundbreaking exhibition Circuit: A Video Invitational curated by David Ross at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY.

Her best-known videotape, Art Herstory (22 minutes long and in color), was made in 1974 while she was an artist-in-residence at the Television Lab at the media company WNET. Brilliantly witty and feminist, Freed inserted herself into famous paintings from the 12th to the 20th century by artists such as Raphael, Chardin, Ingres, Manet and van Gogh. She critiqued male-dominated Western art history by portraying a contemporary woman at odds with her depiction in the past....

Article

Donna Stein

(b Essen, June 23, 1930; d New York, Dec 15, 2005).

American architect, educator and critic of German birth. He married writer, multimedia and video artist Hermine Freed in 1967. In 1939 Freed and his 4-year-old sister escaped Nazi Germany via France and Switzerland with an American uncle. In Chicago he was placed in the care of another uncle until his parents immigrated. Freed attended classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, decided to become an architect and enrolled at the Illinois Institute of Technology (BArch 1953). There he learned the tectonics of architecture and was influenced by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

After one year working in New York with Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson on the Seagram Building, I(eoh) M(ing) Pei hired him in 1956. Freed’s earliest projects for the Pei office were award-winning high-rise residential and office buildings (Kips Bay Plaza housing complex, 1963; University Plaza towers, 1967; 88 Pine Street, 1973...

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Beijing, Oct 7, 1971).

Chinese photographer, video artist and film maker . He studied in the oil painting department of the China Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou from 1991 until graduation in 1995. In 1993, for his performance piece Elsewhere, he did not speak for three months. Returning to live in Beijing (1995–7), he studied film for two weeks at the Beijing Film School (1996), and wrote his first film script for An Estranged Paradise (filmed 1997; completed 2002). In 1998 he moved to Shanghai, and began participating in exhibitions in 1999.

The mises-en-scène and careful compositions of Yang’s photographs exhibit the influence of his rigorous education as an oil painter. Lighting and colour—or the lack thereof—contribute significantly to the tenor of each work. Yang’s ability to control the framing, not just of photographic images but also of moving images, in his videos and films sets him apart from other Chinese video artists....

Article

Russell Gullette

(b Johannesburg, May 1968).

South African installation, performance, and video artist and photographer. Geers is part of a generation of African artists who emerged during the global expansion of the art world in the 1990s. Born into a white working-class family, he studied fine arts at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg from 1985 to 1987. Geers was exiled for refusing to serve in the South African Defence Force in 1989. With the threat of imprisonment removed after the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners in 1990 he returned to Johannesburg. Then in 2000 he moved to Brussels.

Geers has described his artistic position as a TerroRealist. His work features everyday, vernacular materials such as beer bottles, razor wire, pornography, neon signs, and expletives such as ‘shit’ and ‘fuck’. He employed these materials as a means to challenge various manifestations of power, whether state terror, working-class oppression, history, or, at his most poetic, language....

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

Elaine O’Brien

(b Bad Oldesloe, Nov 27, 1948).

German sculptor, photographer, film maker, video artist and collagist. Genzken attended the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg between 1969 and 1971, the Universität der Künste in Berlin from 1971 to 1973, the Universität zu Köln between 1973 and 1975, and from 1973 to 1977 she studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf as a student of Gerhard Richter, to whom she was married from 1982 to 1995. Genzken was part of the post-war generation of West German artists, including Blinky Palermo and Sigmar Polke, who identified with American internationalism.

A trip to New York in 1977 marked the beginning of a long fascination with the city and Genzken’s signature architectonic oeuvre. Noted for its exceptional range of materials, methods and formal vocabulary, the coherence of Genzken’s production—both in individual artworks and the sequence of series—is largely found in the sustained dialogical tension that links the Minimalist rationalism of New York skyscrapers with the anti-rationalist carnival of real life as lived in the cosmopolitan city. Her first series of sculptures (...

Article

Charles Green

(b Sydney, Dec 13, 1972).

Australian photographer and video artist. Gladwell graduated in 1996 from the Sydney College of the Arts with a BFA and then from the College of Fine Arts, University of NSW, with an MFA in 2001. He then studied at Goldsmiths College, University of London, between 2001–2. Gladwell’s rise to acclaim was immediate, accelerated by the art market boom that lasted until the financial crash of 2008 and the proliferation of biennales around the globe, in many of which Gladwell participated (Venice Biennales, 2007 and 2009). With extraordinarily gorgeous, slow-motion cinematography but, importantly, a minimum of post-production digital manipulation, Gladwell’s early works consistently portrayed understated, seemingly casual feats of physical coordination, grace and physical endurance by young skateboarders, break-dancers (see fig.), capoeira practitioners or BMX cyclists. In his iconic early work, Storm Sequence (2000), the artist twisted and pirouetted in balletic slow motion on his skateboard in the face of an approaching storm as ocean waves crashed against the Bondi Beach foreshore upon which he was poised. In ...

Article

Revised and updated by Margaret Barlow

(b Urbana, IL, March 31, 1942).

American performance artist, video artist, and writer. Graham founded the Daniels Gallery in New York and was its director from 1964 to 1965; there he came into contact with Minimalist artists such as Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt, and Donald Judd. This led him to question the gallery structure and the art displayed and to experiment with conceptual art. From 1965 to 1969 he produced a series of works published in magazines, such as Schema (1966; Brussels, Daled priv. col., see 1988 exh. cat., p. 9). This series consisted merely of a descriptive list of its own contents, including the number of words, and so referred to nothing beyond itself, unlike Minimalist art that he believed referred to the surrounding display space. Furthermore, the magazine was, unlike a gallery, clearly related to time and change through its regular appearance and topicality.

From 1969 to 1978 Graham was primarily involved with performance, film, and video. His first performance took place at the Loeb Student Center at New York University in ...

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

Andrew Cross

(b Newcastle Upon Tyne, June 20, 1964).

English sculptor, video artist, film maker and installation artist. She began making and exhibiting film and video works soon after graduating in sculpture from Falmouth School of Art in 1987. She moved to London and had made a number of video works by the time she had completed an MFA at Goldsmiths’ College in 1994. Setting the tone for future work, these videos mostly document her own and other people’s actions. In Climbing around my Room (1993), lasting seven minutes and thirty seconds, a woman wearing a red taffeta dress is seen circumnavigating a room without ever touching the floor. Much in Gunning’s videos references early works by video artists such as Bruce Nauman, but her focus on formal actions is overlaid by the complexities of metaphor and humour in situations that determine their own language and structure. For another video seven and a half minutes in length, ...

Article

Peter A. Nagy

(b Bombay, Aug 26, 1976).

Indian conceptual artist. Gupta studied sculpture at the Sir J.J. School of Art in Bombay, graduating in 1997. Gupta was the Indian artist who most explicitly embraced digital and web-based art practice. Her first work to gain wide attention in India was Untitled (2002), a video of the artist in multiple, watching the viewer in a confrontational and provocative manner. Her works address the manipulation of the lower classes through religion, politics or commerce, often employing irony and humour. Gupta created websites as art works, addressing subjects such as the exploitation of labour in diamond mines (Diamonds and You, 2000), romantic and matrimonial connections fostered by the internet (Sentiment-Express.com, 2001) and an ironic take on pan-religious devotion (Blessed-Bandwidth.net, 2003, commissioned by Tate Modern, London). In each work, the artist used the anonymity that cyber-space provides to focus on societal changes of behaviour and the redefinition of artistic possibilities....

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

Tom Williams

(b San Francisco, CA, 1960).

American multimedia artist. He earned a BFA from San Jose University in 1984 and an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1989. He is best known for repurposing everyday materials in inventive sculptural constructions that often feature aural, kinetic and interactive elements. Many of his works feature radically unconventional self-portraits that have been physically transformed or technologically mediated. His work has been the subject of a number of exhibitions at prominent institutions, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC (2001) and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (2004).

Some of his most inventive and celebrated works have included a small bird skeleton made of his own nail clippings and a series of clocks made by motorizing parts of ordinary objects such as strands of hair caught in the bristles of a hairbrush and the tab on a soda can. Through such works, he memorialized the passing of time and, as many critics have pointed out, transformed ordinary objects into ...

Article

American library in Saint John’s University, Collegeville, MN, founded in 1965. The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML; formerly the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library) contains over 115,000 microfilm and digital images of medieval, Renaissance, early modern and Eastern Christian manuscripts. To fulfil its mission of preserving endangered manuscripts and making them more accessible to scholars, HMML photographs entire manuscript libraries that lack the resources to preserve their own collections, are inaccessible to researchers, or are in immediate danger of destruction. Until 2003, HMML photographed entire manuscripts on black and white microfilm and shot selected illuminations in colour. When the Library switched to digital photography in 2003, it shot entire volumes in colour and recorded codicological information.

The vast majority of HMML’s holdings reproduce texts predating 1600. Nearly half of HMML’s Western manuscripts derive from libraries in Austria and Germany, but HMML also houses significant collections from Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, and England. The Maltese collections are particularly important and include the Archives of the Knights of Malta. HMML has photographed collections of Eastern Christian manuscripts since the 1970s, and its collections of Armenian, Syriac, and Christian Arabic manuscripts are becoming the most significant resource for the study of Eastern Christian manuscripts in the world. HMML has by far the world’s largest collection of Ethiopian manuscripts preserved on microfilm and in digital form....

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Santa Monica, CA, April 4, 1951).

American video and installation artist. In 1969 he moved to Woodstock, NY, and began studying in New York at the Art Students’ League. His early work was sculptural, but in the early 1970s he turned to audio and video, experimenting with imaging equipment and digital processing to create visual effects analogous to the appearance of abstract paintings. Much of this experimentation took place during a residency at the Experimental Television Center, Binghampton, NY (1975–7). His sculptural background continued to play a part in his video installations; for his earliest video installation, Hole in the Wall (1974), he broke a hole through a wall of the Woodstock Artists’ Association, placing on the other side a monitor that replayed his destructive action. In the late 1970s he became interested in the possibilities of combining images, sound and language. His work often makes specific literary references; Incidence of Catastrophe...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Cambridge, 1949).

English photographer, sound artist and film maker. He lived from 1972 to 1979 in Poland, spending two of those years studying graphics at the Academy of Science. His experiences in central Europe, at a time of political and social upheaval, had a strong effect on his view of photography as a political medium. His subsequent work articulated his socialist beliefs, often through black-and-white photographs of his friends in Krakow, Poland, or the East End of London; his large photographs were always unique rather than editional prints, stressing their physical identity as handmade objects. These portraits and figure studies (many printed from negatives made years earlier) have a claustrophobic, sparse atmosphere, suggestive of a mentality bound and defined by the weight of its own history. His work often deals with the problems of a mythologizing interpretation of history and highlights the contingency and specificity of the present. In the mid-1990s he worked on a photographic project in Barcelona to describe the experiences and identities of individuals living in communities. This project, ...