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Article

Dennis Raverty

(b Birmingham, AL, Oct 17, 1955).

African American painter, writer, film production designer, and multimedia installation artist. Marshall’s works portray idealized subjects derived from African American experience in large-scale, multiple-figure paintings and installations that share many characteristics with European history painting in the “grand manner” of Peter Paul Rubens, Benjamin West, Jacques-Louis David, and the 19th-century academic tradition. This “high culture” Euro-American tradition is juxtaposed with elements of African American vernacular culture in order to reinsert African American subjects and aesthetics into the larger mainstream of America’s artistic and cultural history—a history from which, the artist believes, blacks have been largely excluded.

Marshall was born in Birmingham, AL, one of the most segregated cities in the United States at that time, and the site of civil rights demonstrations in the early 1960s. He moved with his parents in 1963 to Nickerson Gardens public housing project in Watts, CA, just a few years before the riots there. Consequently, the struggles of the civil rights movement profoundly affected him and are a major theme in his mature work....

Article

Benjamin Flowers

[Thom]

(b Waterbury, CT, Jan 19, 1944).

American architect and educator. Mayne trained at the University of Southern California (BA 1968) and Harvard (MArch 1978) and his work is influenced by the twin traditions of Russian Constructivism and Postmodern deconstruction. Many of his buildings grapple with both questions of form (in particular its relation to program) and the shifting nature of materials. He, along with Frank O(wen) Gehry, is among the best known of a generation of West Coast architects to emerge from the turbulent social and cultural milieu of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

As a young boy Mayne moved with his mother to Whittier, CA, where he was, by his own account, something of a loner and a misfit. Mayne matriculated at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, but soon transferred to the University of Southern California whose faculty at the time included Craig Ellwood, Gregory Ain and Ralph Knowles. After completing his bachelor of architecture in ...

Article

Alissa Walker

(b Decatur, IL, Oct 12, 1945).

American graphic designer and design educator. In 1964 a trip to the Museum of Modern Art during the New York World’s Fair exposed Katherine McCoy to the world of design, yet when she applied to Michigan State University intending to major in architecture, the counsellor suggested the more historically female profession of interior design. She enrolled in the industrial design programme, receiving a BA in 1967, and took her first job as a graphic designer at Unimark International, Detroit. The corporate design firm was where McCoy was exposed to the stark simplicity of modernist and Swiss design, with an emphasis on typography, both influential for McCoy’s subsequent work. After a year at Chrysler Corporation’s Corporate Identity Office, McCoy worked at the Boston firm Omnigraphics, and then at Designers and Partners, an advertising design studio in Detroit.

In 1971 McCoy founded the practice McCoy & McCoy, Inc. with her husband, the industrial designer Michael McCoy (...

Article

Gary Schwartz

[Jean-Michel]

(b Paris, Oct 3, 1928; d Branford, CT, July 26, 2005).

French art historian and economist, active in the USA. Montias was a specialist in Eastern European command economies who in mid-career changed fields and became a historian of Dutch painting. His interest in the subject was threefold. Before he began writing on Dutch art, he collected it, with the advice of a leading specialist in the field, Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann, a fellow professor at Yale University. This led him to pursue knowledge concerning the minor masters he could afford, which brought him closer to the basics of the Dutch art world. It was an approach diametrically opposed to how most students learn about this material, which is from the iconic masterworks down. His second focus of interest was economic. Three-quarters of a century after the appearance of the last, largely anecdotal survey of the economics of Dutch art, by Hanns Floerke, Montias applied the techniques of neo-classical economics to the field in a way that was accessible to art historians. Entirely on his own, he opened up new perspectives that inspired art historians, economists, and economic historians alike to revisit the subject of Dutch art. Thirdly, Montias was entranced by the ...

Article

Deborah Cullen

[MoMA] (New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 by patrons Lillie P(lummer) Bliss, Cornelius J. Sullivan and Rockefeller family §(1) to establish an institution devoted to modern art. Over the next ten years the Museum moved three times and in 1939 settled in the Early Modern style building (1938–9) designed by Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone that it still occupies at 11 West 53 Street. Subsequent renovations and expansions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s by Philip Johnson, in 1984 by Cesar Pelli and in 2002–4 by Yoshirō Taniguchi (b 1937). MoMA QNS, the temporary headquarters during this project, was subsequently used to provide art storage. In 2000, MoMA and the contemporary art space, P.S.1, Long Island City, Queens, announced their affiliation. Recent projects are shown at P.S.1 in Queens in a renovated public school building.

According to founding director, Alfred H(amilton) Barr...

Article

Tracy Fitzpatrick

Artists’ association, art school and exhibition space. The National Academy of Design (NAD; now known as the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts) was one of the earliest organizations in the USA devoted to the development of the fine arts. It was established in 1825 as an honorary association and art school with a permanent collection and an annual exhibition program. The earliest institution of its kind in the USA, it was modeled after the Royal Academy in England as an artist-run organization founded to “promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition.” As the 19th century progressed the NAD developed a reputation for conservatism.

The NAD emerged as an itinerant institution with locations in sites around New York City. It opened its first permanent space, a Venetian Gothic-revival building designed by Peter B(onnett) Wight, in 1865. In 1942, it moved to its current location, a Beaux-Arts building donated by Archer Milton Huntington and Anna Hyatt Huntington, who was a member of the Academy. Its permanent homes have allowed it to house its meeting space, collection, school and exhibitions under the same roof....

Article

Miwako Tezuka

(b Okayama prefecture, Japan, Nov 18, 1885; d California, Oct 6, 1975).

Japanese-born American painter. Obata is known for his sumi ink paintings, watercolors and woodblock prints depicting California landscapes. After studying Nihonga (Japanese-style painting) at the Japan Fine Arts Academy in Tokyo, he moved to San Francisco in 1903 to pursue career in art, and soon began working as an illustrator for local publications for the Japanese American community. In 1921, when ethnic prejudice was still rampant, he co-founded the East West Art Society in San Francisco to foster multicultural communication through art. In 1928, he returned to Japan where he produced award-winning series of 35 woodblock prints of majestic landscapes of Yosemite, based on his extensive survey and sketches of the region in the previous year.

From 1932, Obata taught at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, but his career came to a halt with the outbreak of World War II, when he and his family were interned at Tanforan in San Bruno, CA, from ...

Article

Deborah Cullen

(Raphel)

(b Brooklyn, New York, 1934).

American performance artist, educator and founder of El Museo del Barrio, New York. Ortiz grew up in New York and received his BFA and MFA from Pratt Institute in 1964, and his PhD in Fine Arts and Fine Arts in Higher Education at the Teachers College of Columbia University, 1982.

In the late 1950s, Ortiz began exploring ritual and destruction. Taking found filmstrips, he placed them in a medicine bag and used a hatchet to cut them into pieces. He then spliced them together in random order, creating a series of short, cut-up films. This led to his first private, ritually transformed domestic objects between 1959 and 1961, which often included cushions, chairs and sofas from his studio worked over several days, and the Archaeological Finds series between 1961 and 1967. He authored Destructivism: A Manifesto between 1957 and 1962.

Carrying out public Destruction Ritual Realizations between 1965 and 1970...

Article

Museum and school of fine arts founded in Philadelphia in 1805. The driving force in the creation of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was Peale family, §1 who, a few years earlier, had led the formation of Philadelphia’s first art organization, the short-lived Columbianum Academy. The Pennsylvania Academy’s 71 founders, mostly lawyers and businessmen, decreed that its purpose was to provide opportunities for art instruction and to mount exhibitions in order “to promote the cultivation of the Fine Arts, in the United States of America …” Although the mission of the Academy did not change, the founders neither envisioned nor planned for the highly organized curriculum and the large permanent collection that emerged by the end of the 19th century.

The Academy opened its first building in April 1806. The initial educational approach, based on that of the English Royal Academy, relied on copying from plaster casts of antique sculpture and from paintings on display, many of which were European. While formal classes were decades away, opportunities to draw from a model were often available, and critiques from Academy artists such as ...

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

Deborah A. Middleton

(b Brooklyn, New York, Aug 11, 1927; d Pound Ridge, NY, Jan 24, 2006).

American art historian and museum curator. Rubin has been credited with defining the historical narrative of modern art through his writings and exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the 1970s, and 1980s. The vision of founding director Alfred H(amilton) Barr to establish the Museum of Modern Art as a global authority in modern paintings and sculpture was continued during Rubin’s tenure as Director of the Department of Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art (1973–88).

William was one of three sons of a successful New York textile merchant. Rubin grew up in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York and attended Fieldstone School where he interned on special museum education projects with teacher and mentor Victor D’Amico who was also Director of Education at the Museum of Modern Art. While at Columbia University he joined the military during World War II to serve in the American occupation forces in Europe. Upon completing his undergraduate degree in ...

Article

Margaret Moore Booker

Founded in 1871 by a small group of artists in New York City, the Salmagundi Club is one of the oldest professional art clubs in America. The Salmagundi Club began as a sketch class that met in the Broadway studio of sculptor Jonathan Scott Hartley (1845–1912). Incorporated in 1880, the club was apparently named after a dish called salmigandos (a stew of different meats). From the start, the club offered its members important opportunities to critique each other’s work, paint, sketch, socialize and exhibit together. Early members included such renowned artists as George Inness Jr. (1854–1926), Thomas Moran , Frederick Church, William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Tiffany family §2 and Howard Pyle.

For more than 40 years the Salmagundi Club led a nomadic existence, exhibiting and meeting at various locations in Greenwich Village. In 1917 the members helped raise funds to buy a brownstone at 47 Fifth Avenue (built in ...

Article

Ethan Robey

Fund-raising events organized by Sanitary Commissions in various cities from 1863 to 1865 in aid of the Union army. The fairs included some of the most influential public displays of the fine arts in America up to that point and were an impetus for the establishment of major art museums in American cities. The US Sanitary Commission, formed in early 1861 at the urging of private citizens, purchased supplies for Union soldiers, worked to improve military hospitals and coordinated the activities of the many local aid agencies involved in similar work.

The fairs grew out of the efforts, mostly of women, working at the Commission’s local branches. The Northwest Branch of the Sanitary Commission was the first to host a fair, organizing a public exhibition in Chicago in the fall of 1863. Such exhibitions soon became a chief source of fund-raising for the Commission. Sanitary fairs were eclectic displays, including exhibits of commercial goods, fine arts, machinery and domestic crafts. The form was similar to the displays of goods at Mechanics’ Institute fairs, yet, unlike those events, where education through object lessons was paramount, sanitary fairs, as primarily fund-raising enterprises, tended more toward spectacle, with an emphasis on patriotic themes. Lavish floral displays were common, as were exhibits of war trophies and relics and contests to award ornate mementos to favored Union generals and admirals. Admission fees were relatively high, around $2 in some cities, at a time when other shows or spectacles were often 25¢ or less....

Article

Cheryl Leibold

American family of Philadelphia printmakers, printers, painters, and educators. John Sartain and his children, Emily and William, played an important role in the art world of Philadelphia for over a century. Their influence on American art lies primarily in the impact of their work example and leadership on others, and somewhat less from the value placed on their own artistic output. The patriarch, John Sartain (b London, 24 Oct 1808; d Philadelphia, PA, 25 Oct 1897), arrived in Philadelphia at the age of 22. By 1850 he was the city’s premier engraver of illustrations for a wide range of publications. His brilliant mezzotint engravings, often reproducing the work of others, brought graphic art into the homes of all classes. Reproductive engravings, either framed or in books, were widely popular before the advent of photography. Many writers promulgated the display of such prints as a means to refine and enlighten society. Sartain’s most successful endeavours in this field were his large and elaborate framing prints, commissioned by painters, collectors, and publishers to disseminate important works. The finest of these is ...

Article

Yuka Kadoi

(b Welland, Ont., Aug 15, 1916; d Ashville, NY, Aug 13, 1992).

American art historian , specializing in medieval Islamic textiles. Having studied at the University of Michigan under Mehmet Ağa-Oğlu and R. Ettinghausen (BA 1939; MA 1940), Shepherd enrolled at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University to conduct further research on Hispano-Islamic textiles. In 1942 she joined the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration where she was in charge of its textile collection. After an interruption of her scholarly career during World War II when she served for the Office of War Information in London and Luxembourg and the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Division of the United States Military Government in Frankfurt and Berlin, she joined the Cleveland Museum of Art as Associate Curator of Textiles in 1947 and became Curator of Textiles in 1952. In 1955 she was appointed as Curator of Near Eastern Art and Adjunct Professor of Near Eastern Art at Case Western Reserve University, also in Cleveland. She became Chief Curator of Textiles and Islamic Art in ...

Article

Roy R. Behrens

(b Lafayette, AL, Nov 7, 1903; d Columbus, OH, Dec 1, 1981).

American artist, designer and teacher . His childhood interest in drawing was counterbalanced by parallel involvements in science and engineering. He took high school courses in engineering drawing, which he went on to study at Ohio State University (OSU) in 1921. Soon after, he changed his major to architecture, then art, eventually earning a degree in fine arts in 1927. Hired the following year to teach basic drawing, he remained on the OSU art faculty until his retirement in 1974. The most eventful phase of his life began in 1941, when, in response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he devised an extraordinary method (which he credited to Rembrandt) of using drawing to improve the visual acuity of students, with the intention that they might then better detect the presence of enemy airplanes. This teaching method, for which he also admitted indebtedness to Paul Cézanne and the Gestalt psychologists, consisted of asking his students to draw from projected slides in a pitch black room called a flash laboratory. Each slide was projected for only one-tenth of a second, in response to which the students drew from memory in total darkness. By collaborating with non-art members of the OSU faculty (especially educational psychologist Ross L. Mooney and optical physiologist Glenn A. Fry), Sherman was able to argue persuasively that the accuracy of his students’ perception had improved markedly by drawing in the flash laboratory, so much so that members of the university football team were required to work with him daily, with the goal of improving their passing. The results of this teaching method were formally presented in ...

Article

Lloyd C. Engelbrecht

(b Detroit, MI, Aug 2, 1913; d Chicago, IL, Feb 1, 1978).

American photographer and educator. Siegel is known for a vast body of black-and-white and color photographs that include documentary images as well as creative experiments (e.g. photograms). His importance as an educator was in integrating photography into a four-year university-level curriculum and in establishing photography as a field in graduate study. An avid collector of vintage photographs, Siegel integrated insights from his vast knowledge of photographic history into his studio classes. At a time when the importance of Chicago’s architectural heritage was still little understood, he and his colleagues and students at the Institute of Design in Chicago documented this heritage in a vast body of skillful and sensitive photographs; one result of this effort was a book edited by Siegel, Chicago’s Famous Buildings, first published in 1965.

Siegel graduated from Wayne State University in 1936 with a degree in sociology; by that time he had begun his career as a photographer, and following graduation he taught photography as a part-time instructor at Wayne State. His early work included portraits as well as photographs sold to newspapers and newswire services, including New York Times/Wide World Picture Service....

Article

Joe Coates

American design and photography studio. Founded in 1979 in Boston by Nancy Skolos (b 1955) and her husband Tom Wedell (b 1949), the pair worked collaboratively creating compositions that used photographic images by Wedell and typography and designs by Skolos. Their dynamic and complex designs and collages have been compared to the work of Cubists and Russian Constructivists.

Skolos’s father was an industrial designer and mother was a music teacher. She studied industrial design at the University of Cincinnati (1975–7) before transferring to the Cranbrook Academy of Art (BFA 1977), where she became a student of Katherine and Michael McCoy. Though admitted to the programme as an industrial design student, Skolos gravitated toward graphic design and showed a particular affinity for typography. She went on to pursue a graduate degree in graphic design at Yale University, where she met and worked with designers such as Alvin Eisenman (...

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

Patricia Hills

(b Boston, MA, June 9, 1924).

American painter, poet, teacher and feminist activist. Raised in the working-class neighborhood of Quincy, a suburb of Boston, from an early age Stevens was interested in art and literature. She studied for four years at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, and moved to New York in 1947, where she studied at the Art Students League. There she met the painter Rudolf Baranik , a Lithuanian émigré who had fought in the US army during World War II. They married and traveled to Paris in late 1948, remaining there for three years, during which time Stevens attended the Académie Julian and her son was born.

Back in New York in 1951, Stevens worked at the Museum of Modern Art and later taught at the High School of Music and Art. From 1961 to 1996 she taught part-time at the School of Visual Arts. In the early 1960s she painted works inspired by the “Freedom Riders”: students who traveled south to register black citizens to vote. In ...