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Article

Bazaar  

Mohammad Gharipour

Bazaar, which is rooted in Middle Persian wāzār and Armenian vačaṟ, has acquired three different meanings: the market as a whole, a market day, and the marketplace. The bazaar as a place is an assemblage of workshops and stores where various goods and services are offered.

Primitive forms of shops and trade centres existed in early civilizations in the Near East, such as Sialk, Tepe in Kashan, Çatal Hüyük, Jerico, and Susa. After the 4th millennium BC, the population grew and villages gradually joined together to shape new cities, resulting in trade even with the remote areas as well as the acceleration of the population in towns. The advancement of trade and accumulation of wealth necessitated the creation of trade centres. Trade, and consequently marketplaces, worked as the main driving force in connecting separate civilizations, while fostering a division of labour, the diffusion of technological innovations, methods of intercultural communication, political and economic management, and techniques of farming and industrial production....

Article

Dennis Raverty

(b Charlotte, NC, Sept 2, 1911 or 1912; d New York City, Mar 12, 1988).

African American painter, collagist, and author. Bearden is best known for his collages, which often addressed urban themes (e.g. The Dove). He was a founding member of Spiral, a group of African American artists who started meeting at his downtown New York studio in 1963. He also published essays and cartoons, designed book jackets, magazine and album covers, and is widely regarded as the first African American artist to successfully enter the mainstream of the contemporary art world. The posthumously published book he co-authored with Harry Henderson, A History of African-American Artists: From 1792 to the Present (1993), in a very short time became an almost canonical text in the field.

Bearden’s family moved permanently to Harlem, a predominately black neighborhood of New York City, in 1920. His mother, Bessye Bearden, was the New York correspondent for the Chicago Defender, an African American newspaper, and through her Bearden was introduced to many of the artists, writers, and intellectuals associated with the ...

Article

J. Harwood

(b Havana, 1959).

Cuban painter and installation artist. He graduated from the Escuela de Artes Plásticas ‘San Alejandro’ in Havana in 1976, and in 1981 from the city’s Instituto Superior de Arte. Later in 1981 Bedia participated in the groundbreaking exhibition Volumen I, the aim of which was to create a more open, outward-looking art, free from official constraints. Liberalization of Cuban society allowed Bedia to visit many countries throughout Africa, Europe and the Americas, eventually returning to his country’s own Afro-Cuban culture and religion. Bedia’s early archaeological and ethnographical interests resulted in the creation and documentation of fictious finds and in the use of photographs of Amazonian Indians, such as those on amate (native bark) paper in the untitled work from the series Crónicas Americanas (1982, Havana, Mus. N. B.A.). This perspective gradually developed into anti-colonialist paintings, drawings and installations. Bedia’s initiation into the Afro-Cuban Palo de Monte religion in 1983...

Article

Charlotte Townsend-Gault

(b Upsala, Ontario, March 22, 1960).

Native American, Canadian installation and performance artist of Anishinabe descent. She attended the Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto (1984–6), emerging among newly visible and influential First Nations figures in the arts in Canada whose work focused on the social, political and historical issues associated with their ethnic identity. The period was marked by the acknowledgement of aboriginal rights in the amended 1982 Canadian Constitution and by confrontations, sometimes violent, between indigenous people and the authorities over the nature and extent of those rights. Outrage at the tragic consequences of the historical marginalisation of native people and determination to recover their voice has always informed Belmore’s work. In the iconic Talking to their Mother (1991), which brought her wide attention, she travelled to Native American communities with an enormous, finely crafted wooden megaphone, literally giving people a voice with which to speak to their land....

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Staten Island, NY, Feb 18, 1926; d Los Angeles, CA, Feb 18, 1976).

American collagist and poet. After a short period in the US Navy, Berman studied briefly in Los Angeles at the Chouinard Art School and the Jepson Art School in 1944. Later he was associated with the Beat artists and writers, and with experimental art on the West Coast. In 1955 he started Semina magazine, a hand-printed poetry journal produced in very limited editions until 1964. This contained poems by many Beat writers, including his own works under the nom de plume Pantale Xantos. In 1956 Berman began making ‘parchment paintings’, thin paper inscribed with random Hebrew letters mounted on canvas, perhaps making reference to the vogue for ancient writings inspired by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947. Twelve such works were exhibited at his first solo exhibition, at the Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles (1957). This exhibition resulted in his arrest and the gallery’s temporary closure, as well as the destruction of the exhibited works on the grounds of pornography. After a period of disenchantment, Berman began in the early 1960s to make works using a Verifax, a primitive photo-reproductive machine that produced sepia-toned images. Many of the Verifax works used the repeated image of a hand holding a transistor radio with an image pasted over it as if it were a small television (...

Article

Susan Kart

(b Mbarara, 1963).

Ugandan photographer, film maker, and installation artist of Indian descent, active in the UK. Bhimji was born in Uganda to Indian parents. The family fled Uganda to England in 1972 due to President Idi Amin’s expulsion of all Asians and Asian-Ugandans from the country along with seizure of their property and businesses as part of his ‘economic war’ on Asia. Bhimji studied art at Goldsmiths College and the Slade School of Art in London and her photographic work primarily consists of close-up, sometimes abstracted glimpses of seemingly abandoned spaces, objects, and landscapes. Bhimji’s work focuses on India and Uganda, which are treated as almost anthropomorphic subjects that appear restless, unfinished, abandoned, or frozen in her photographs, films, and film stills. Bhimji was one of four shortlisted finalists for the Turner Prize in 2007, and her work has been exhibited alongside such artists as El Anatsui, António Olé, Yinka Shonibare, and ...

Article

Simon Njami

(b Douala, 1962).

Cameroonian painter, sculptor and installation artist, active in France. He moved to Paris in 1974 and studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts; he began exhibiting in the late 1980s, showing in France, Switzerland, Spain and Greece, among other places. Unlike many African artists living in Europe, he never felt dislocated. His sculptures, canvases and installation pieces combine all manner of found objects and other material that he manufactures himself. With these he comments on issues of representation and artistic practice in the Western world, at the same time evoking the presence and/or absence of humans, and therefore memory. The objects he uses are symbolic as well: eggs signify renewal, for instance. His compositions are simple and striking, as is his use of colour. In one work, for example, a ‘mummified’ figure appears on each side panel in the same thick white paint as the ground, holding a red rose against a metal plate. Against the black centre panel is an orange dress, under which are white flowers....

Article

Aurélie Verdier

(b Antwerp, March 19, 1946).

Belgian photographer and installation artist. He studied theatre and cinema in the late 1960s, creating a fruitful ground for his future installations and later dividing his work into four categories with the aim of blurring the frontiers of art and social reality. One such category, ‘Transformation–Installation’ was rooted in a spoof governmental pamphlet written by the artist in 1979 announcing the bankruptcy of art: he argued that art was unnecessary since it was inherently non-functional. From that point on, this ironic point of view was built into his recreations of everyday environments injected with incongruous elements, as in Driving School Z (1979; see 1998 exh. cat, p. 44), an installation in an Antwerp gallery that recreated the soulless premises referred to in the title. At once bleak and dramatic in its painstaking reconstruction, it contained furniture from a real driving school as a way of blurring the distinction between art and reality. Bijl’s polished installations have an unsettling atmosphere, as they lack any sense of human presence. Tackling issues of mass culture and its vehicles, he reconstructed some institutions in tableaux that mixed the artificiality of highly stylized objects with the tangible reality of everyday artefacts. By so doing, he questioned the identity and meaning of environments once they have been relocated to an institutionalized art context. In ...

Article

Xu Bing  

Melissa Chiu

(b Chongqing, 1955).

Chinese installation artist . Xu Bing spent much of his childhood in Beijing where his parents were professors at Beijing University. He said that being surrounded by books during this formative period in his life gave him an intense interest in them. Xu studied printmaking at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (1987). One of Xu’s most memorable early works is Tian Shu ( A Book from the Sky , 1987–91), which was created during the 1985 New Wave Movement in China—a period of new-found freedom for artistic experimentation. Tian Shu consisted of reams of paper printed with Chinese characters, each one in some way incorrect, so that the cumulative effect is a library of nonsensical words. The labour needed to create this art work was substantial, taking the artist nearly four years to complete carving the individual characters into woodblocks. The reams of printed paper were exhibited in three different ways: as traditional hand-bound books, suspended large scrolls, and wall posters. ...

Article

Bio Art  

Suzanne Anker

From Anatomical studies to landscape painting to the Biomorphism of Surrealism, the biological realm historically provided a significant resource for numerous artists. More recently, Bio Art became a term referring to intersecting domains that comprise advances in the biological sciences and their incorporation into the plastic arts. Of particular importance in works of Bio Art is to summon awareness of the ways in which the accelerating biomedical sciences alter social, ethical and cultural values in society.

Coming to the fore in the early 1990s Bio Art is neither media specific nor locally bounded. It is an international movement with practitioners in such regions as Europe, the US, Russia, Australia and the Americas. Several subgenres of Bio Art exist within this overarching term:

(i) Artists who employ the iconography of the 20th and 21st century sciences, including molecular and cellular genetics, transgenically altered living matter and reproductive technologies as well as the diverse fields of neuroscience. All traditional media such as painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking and drawing are employed to convey novel ways of representing life forms. Images of chromosomes, the double helix, magnetic resonance imaging body scans and neuroanatomy comprise this iconography. The molecular underpinnings of the living world have also become visible through high technological instrumentation when artists incorporate such pictorialisations as part of their practice. Representations span both genotypic variations and phenotypic ones. Artists include Suzanne Anker (...

Article

C. Nagy

(b Budapest, Oct 26, 1941).

Hungarian painter, photographer and conceptual artist. He studied under Géza Fónyi at the Fine Art College in Budapest and then from 1966 to 1972 produced portraits, in which the influence of Expressionism was noticeable. From 1973 to 1979, however, he moved in a different direction, producing films, photographic sequences and textual conceptual works, all based on structuralist analysis of pictorial representation and of the institutions of the exhibition and the museum (e.g. the photographic sequences Inquiries on the Exterior Wall of the Museum of Fine Arts, 1975–6; and Reflections, 1976). From 1975 to 1980 he was involved in the Indigo project led by Miklós Erdély, but in 1980 he returned to oil painting, producing abstract works divided into two or three sections and often symmetrical in composition. At first these were vividly coloured, using bold brushstrokes and inspired by the Hungarian landscape, but later works were dominated by schematic representations of the human face, reduced after ...

Article

Courtney Gerber

(b New York, Oct 29, 1946).

American video and installation artist. Birnbaum received her BA in architecture from Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, PA in 1969 and a BFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1973. She first engaged with video at the New School of Social Research in New York and in 1976 she received a certificate in Video/Electronic Editing from the New School’s Video Study Center of Global Village. Considered a second-generation video artist, her production critically responds to and expands upon the theory and practice of first-generation video artists such as Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman and Dan Graham (see Video art). The work of Birnbaum and her contemporaries was especially informed by their predecessors’ experimentation with the Kodak PortaPak (c. 1967) and the types of video art that emerged from the first generation’s exploration of the media in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Of these types, two of the most prevalent were videos rooted in performance art, which focused on the self and the body, and work that assessed the actual media of television by attempting to create less commercial, alternative forms of it such as public access cable television (...

Article

Michelle Yun

(b New York, Feb 5, 1960).

American multimedia artist, curator, and writer. Blake received a BA from Bard College, Annadale-on-Hudson, NY, in 1982 and an MFA from the California Institute of Arts in Valencia in 1984. Upon graduation he moved to San Francisco where he worked as a curator at New Langton Arts, San Francisco, until his return to New York in 1996. Most notable of his curated exhibitions was In a Different Light, at the University Art Museum, Berkeley, in 1995, the first museum exhibition to examine the influence of lesbian and gay artists on contemporary art. In 2003 Blake became the founding Chair of the International Center of Photography/Bard Masters Program in Advanced Photographic Studies at the International Center for Photography in New York.

Blake’s performances, installations, and curated exhibitions have consistently tackled issues relating to sexuality, race, and representation. In his youth the artist was influenced by Joseph Cornell, and early sculptures such as ...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Pittsburgh, PA, Aug 23, 1940).

American conceptual artist, draughtsman, painter, and writer. He studied painting at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh (BFA, 1962). In 1964 Bochner moved to New York. His first exhibition (1966), described by Benjamin Buchloch as the first conceptual art exhibition, was held at the Visual Arts Gallery, School of Visual Arts, New York, and titled Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to be Viewed as Art. In his work he investigated the relation between thinking and seeing. In his first mature works (1966), which are both conceptual and perceptual in basis and philosophical in content, he was interested to eliminate the ‘object’ in art and to communicate his own feelings and personal experience, and he did not wish to accept established art-historical conventions. He also experimented with word-drawings (see fig.) and number systems. For his Measurement series (late 1960s) he used black tape and Letraset to create line drawings accompanied by measurements directly on to walls, effectively making large-scale diagrams of the rooms in which they were installed. Bochner continued to make series of installational line drawings into the 1970s and 1980s, but from ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Turin, Dec 16, 1940; d Rome, April 1994).

Italian conceptual artist and writer. According to his own mythologized account, his fascination with the qualities of ordinary materials began during childhood. Although the extent of any orthodox artistic training remains unrecorded, by 1964 he was making objects and silhouette paintings of familiar items, influenced by such Turinese contemporaries as Michelangelo Pistoletto and Mario Merz. His first one-man show (1967; Turin, Gal. Stein) included large objects made from materials such as corrugated cardboard, whose very ordinariness undermined orthodox notions of art. From the outset he participated in Arte Povera exhibitions and Happenings, in which a generation of Italian conceptual artists reinvented a world then in political turmoil. Boetti’s self-reflexive brand of Arte Povera was typified by his notional ‘twinning’: by cutting a second image of himself into a photographic self-portrait (Twins, 1968; see 1986–7 exh. cat., p. 19) and by inserting ‘e’ (‘and’) between his names, stimulating a dialectic exchange between these two selves. Boetti’s major project of the 1970s was ...

Article

Andreas Franzke

revised by Jean Robertson

(b Paris, Sept 6, 1944).

French sculptor, photographer, painter, film maker and installation artist. Self-taught (Boltanski stopped attending school at the age of 12), he began painting in 1958 but first came to public attention in the late 1960s with short avant-garde films and with the publication of notebooks in which he came to terms with his childhood. Boltanski grew up in Paris in the aftermath of World War II. During the Nazi occupation of Paris, his Jewish father hid in a secret room, only emerging after the liberation of Paris, which coincided with Christian’s birth. The combination in Boltanski’s works of real and fictional evidence of his and other people’s existence has remained central to his art throughout his career, as has his interest in mortality and in the operations of memory and forms of remembrance. In the 1970s he experimented inventively with the production of objects made of clay and from unusual materials such as sugar and gauze dressings. These works, some of them entitled ...

Article

Elaine O’Brien

(b Mombasa, Kenya, Nov 2, 1962).

German multi-media installation and performance artist of Kenyan birth. Von Bonin is known for collaborative, richly associative and perplexing spaces full of artworks that suggest Alice-in-Wonderland narratives and evoke Claes Oldenburg’s playful relational strategies.

Von Bonin attained art world prominence soon after her first New York solo show in 1991. Her puckish neo-feminist conceptual art draws largely upon her experiences and friendships in the Cologne art world and neighborhood art scene. Von Bonin’s work challenges traditional stereotypes of the artist as male genius, creating art alone in his studio. The prestige of the artist’s signature is mocked in ‘solo’ shows such as her exhibition The Cousins (2000), held in Brunswick, which featured a large library installation by the artist Nils Norman (b 1966). Von Bonin arranged many installation events with fellow artists, musicians and writers, in which she played the role of curator-impresario as well as object maker. In her work different media and expressive idioms are re-mixed, the world of popular music in particular being integral to her ...

Article

Eleanor Heartney

(b Bangkok, Feb 25, 1953; d Bangkok, Aug 25, 2000).

Thai sculptor and installation artist. Boonma studied at the Poh Chang Arts and Crafts School, Bangkok (1971–3) and went on to study painting at Silpakorn University, Bangkok (1974–8). He became a Buddhist monk in 1986 and his work explores a distinctively Buddhist art language. His early work dealt with environmental issues that came out of his concerns about the effects of industrialization on rural Thailand. Increasingly his work became involved with issues of illness and death as his own health faltered. He subtly melded natural forms, Buddhist architecture and ritual objects with a minimalist sense of structure inspired by his study of Western art. He fashioned sculptural objects based on Buddhist alms bowls, ‘painted’ with healing herbs and created walls and enclosures from stacks of hundreds of ceramic temple bells.

From 1991 Boonma’s wife struggled with breast cancer, until she succumbed in 1994. During this period the pair turned to both Western and Eastern tools to battle her disease, alternating chemotherapy with visits to shrines and offerings to propitious spirits. In ...

Article

Sophie Howarth

(b Darvel, Ayrshire, May 3, 1965).

Scottish sculptor and installation artist. She studied from 1983 to 1987 at Glasgow School of Art and from 1987 to 1988 at the University of Ulster, Belfast. In 1997 she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. Borland’s works question the processes of investigation and classification that are, or have been, commonplace within institutions such as hospitals, prisons, the police and the army. Simulating the detached perspective and terminology of medical and forensic science, Borland suggests the limitations of seeing human events such as sex, love, childbirth and mortality in an abstract sense. For A Place where Nothing has Happened (1993; destr., see 1994 exh. cat., pp. 22–3), a site-specific project commissioned as part of the Tyne International in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, she asked local police officers to search an area of urban wasteland for evidence of the type used in criminal investigations. When their findings were displayed in a Portakabin, the absence of any motivating crime made clear that it was the investigative process itself which was being laid bare for examination. In ...

Article

Anda Rottenberg

(b Kurów, Sept 7, 1930).

Polish painter, sculptor and conceptual artist. In 1952–5 he studied art history at the Catholic University in Lublin. He was self-taught as an artist, and he made his first works at about the time of the formation of the group Zamek (Castle or Lock), which comprised young artists and theoreticians interested in the structural properties of works of art. His first pictures are abstracts with expressive subject-matter, usually executed in black (e.g. the Feast of Nebuchadnezzar, 1957; priv. col.)

In 1958 Borowski turned from pictures to objects. Using plastic odds and ends as ready-mades, he produced his first Artony—compositions from ikebana bowls, small plates and pieces of wire joined together with the intention of giving them the autonomy of living organisms. He subsequently added movement, electric light, fluid circulating in transparent tubes, and smells. The Manilusy (1963) were environments of loosely hung pieces of mirror distorting spatial perception and drawing the viewer into a game of illusion. These were soon followed by a series of ‘Syncretic Exhibitions’, which by ...