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Article

Klaus Ottmann

(b New York, Sept 24, 1955).

American sculptor, installation artist, draughtsman, photographer, and writer. Horn studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and at the Yale University School of Art. From 1975 she began to travel frequently to Iceland, whose primordial, unstable landscape influenced her artistic practice.

Always intent to maintain the integrity of her chosen materials, be it solid glass, literature, or the volcanic topography of Iceland, Horn created complex relationships between the viewer and her work. She was less interested in the meaning of the work (the ‘why’ and ‘what’) and more in the interaction of action and being the ‘how’, ultimately creating art that unites both.

Her series of aluminium sculptures, which feature fragments from the writings of Franz Kafka and Emily Dickinson, such as Kafka’s Palindrome (1991–4) or Keys and Cues (1994), are reminiscent of the Minimalist sculptures of Donald Judd and Michael Fried’s famous definition of Minimalist art as ‘literal art’. However, Horn’s ‘literal’ transfer of words onto matter changes the meaning of both the original words and the materials used: taken out of context, the meaning of the original words becomes amalgamated with the meaning embedded in the material. By adding literacy to matter, the sculpture becomes nonliteral, but not devoid of content....

Article

American museum and school for photography in New York. Hungarian-born photographer Cornell Capa founded the International Center of Photography (ICP) in 1974. He intended the Center to collect and promote the work of documentary photographers and journalists, with the aim of increasing the status of their work among museums and collectors. The ICP originally collected the work of Cornell Capa, his brother Robert Capa, and David Seymour—all members of Magnum—as well as that of the American photojournalist Weegee. It also held large collections of photographs by Roman Vishniac, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Lisette Model. Much of this work can be described as ‘concerned photography’, a term that Cornell Capa coined for photography concerned with social and political welfare.

In 1994 curator Miles Barth moved the ICP to a dedicated building in Midtown Manhattan and tripled the size of the collection. Since then the Center has embraced a democratic and inclusive definition of photography, including in its collections advertising photography, fashion photography, illustrated magazines, postcards, photo albums, and other forms of commercial and vernacular photography....

Article

Sarah Urist Green

revised by Julia Detchon

(b Santiago, Chile, Feb 5, 1956).

Chilean architect, public interventionist, installation artist, photographer, and filmmaker, active in the USA. He first studied architecture at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, then filmmaking at the Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano de Cultura, Santiago, concluding in 1981. Throughout his career, Jaar’s works have taken many forms in order to address global themes of injustice and illuminate structures of power. In over fifty projects he termed “public interventions,” Jaar conducted extensive research around the world to create site-specific works that reflect political and social realities near and far from his sites of exhibition. He created works—in gallery spaces and in public, often engaging spectator involvement—that present images critically and confront the social and political interests they serve.

Jaar’s first public intervention was Studies on Happiness (1979–1981), a three-year series of performances and exhibitions in which he asked the question, “Are you happy?” of people in the streets of Santiago. Inspired by ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Long Beach, CA, 1959).

American photographer. He emerged in the art world in the 1980s, incorporating found texts from popular sources into computer-manipulated photographic images. Untitled (John-John and Bobby) (1998; see D. Raminelli, p. 162), citing the son and brother of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, is typical in that each letter is set in a different colour while the whole text lies on a bright pastel ground, reminiscent of billboard advertisement. In 1988 Johnson began to place his own, often urbane, poetic and mannered writing into his images. In a series of computer-generated images of the early 1990s these texts are shown as if erected on signboards and situated in unusual, almost Oriental or comic-book landscapes. Untitled (Ghost Story #1) (1991; see D. Hickey, p. 34) depicts words seemingly falling out of the sky into a snowy landscape. Johnson acknowledged debts to Sherrie Levine and Al Held, yet the tenor of his work suggests that it evolved out of a reaction against the didactic, political, text-based art of the 1980s. His work often suggested satirical attacks on other artists who employed appropriation as a technique, and his reliance on text and humour has led him to be compared to Richard Prince. In the 1990s Johnson began to exhibit photographed drawings and altered animation cells from children’s cartoons. ...

Article

Jessica S. McDonald

(b Morristown, NJ, Sept 29, 1940).

American photographer, curator, educator, and arts administrator. Jones played a significant role during the expansion of American photography in the 1970s. Jones studied photography and painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, receiving a BFA in 1965, and in 1972 received an MFA in photography from the University of New Mexico under the mentorship of Van Deren Coke (1921–2004). In 1967 a museum studies fellowship brought him to the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, New York, where he was later hired as an assistant curator, working alongside Beaumont Newhall and Nathan Lyons.

In 1971 Jones became the founding director of LIGHT Gallery, the first in New York City to represent exclusively contemporary photographers. At LIGHT, Jones championed emerging artists and those who experimented with book formats, historic processes, and combinations of media. In 1975 Jones was invited to serve as the founding director of the Center for Creative Photography (CCP) at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Two years later he established the university’s photography programme in the Department of Art, teaching there for over 30 years. In ...

Article

Michelle Yun

(b Ithaca, NY, 1966).

American multimedia artist. A second generation Korean–American, Joo grew up in Minneapolis, MN, and studied briefly at Wesleyan University as a biology major. He took a two-year sabbatical to work at a seed science firm in Austria and subsequently received his BFA from Washington University, St. Louis, MO. In 1989, Joo went on to receive an MFA in sculpture from the Yale School of Art, in New Haven, CT, in 1991, after which he moved to New York.

Joo’s diverse body of work includes sculpture, video, installations and works on paper that deal with issues relating to cultural identity, the body and the relationship between science and art. His projects overlap thematically and formally as part of an ongoing series. Joo has variously implemented a wide range of materials, including monosodium glutamate, salt, taxidermy animals and even his own body, to explore the transformative moment that signals a change of state between matter and energy. Through this exchange, Joo seeks to illuminate the slippages in meaning of the subject within a prescribed cultural context. Time often functions as a cyclical and multilayered catalyst for transformation, exemplified best through his video installations such as ...

Article

Sook-Kyung Lee

One of the characteristics of Korean contemporary art is a continuous effort in employing and interpreting international art practices and discourses. Art movements from Europe and North America in particular, including Abstract Expressionism, Art informel, Minimalism, Conceptual art and Post-modernism, have influenced many Korean artists’ styles and ideas since the 1950s, providing formal and conceptual grounds for critical understandings and further experiments. Whilst some artists who maintained traditional art forms such as ink painting and calligraphy exercised modernist styles and abstract forms largely within the norms and conventions of traditional genres, a large group of artists proactively adapted to Western styles, employing new materials and techniques as well as the notions of avant-garde and experimentalism (see fig.).

A major critique of the reception of Western art and aesthetics came from ‘Minjung art’ (People’s Art) in the 1980s as part of instigating a nationalist and politically charged art strategy. Several art historians and critics who emerged in the 1990s also expanded the scope of the debate with postcolonial and pluralist points of view. The shift in social, economic and political environments played an important role in changing sensibilities in art, along with the advances of technology and new media in the 2000s. The high degree of diversity and sophistication of Korean art in terms of media and subject matters became widely acknowledged within and outside the nation, and an increasing number of artists started to work on the cutting edge of international art....

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b New York, Aug 16, 1943).

American photographer, teacher and printmaker. He studied at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York (BFA 1964) and at the Pratt Institute, New York (MFA 1967), where he also taught photography and printmaking (1966–7). Krims began working as a freelance photographer in 1967 and taught photography at Rochester Institute of Technology, NY (1967–9). From 1969 he was Professor at the State University of New York, Buffalo. In the late 1960s to early 1970s he was prominent in the group of young photographers who devised fictional scenes for the still camera, which were directed and shot in sequence as in films. He assembled the results as small books or boxed portfolios, published by Humpy Press, which he set up c. 1972. He mainly photographed nudes posing in surreal, grotesque or obscene situations. Drawing from advertising, pornography, Pop and Op art, he also created tableaux involving dwarves, mutilated women and even kidnappings, usually set against backgrounds of kitsch living-rooms with spray-painted patterns and eccentric props. Black humour and allusions to political and sexual hypocrisies and racial prejudices abound in his work. In his notorious book of Polaroid prints ...

Article

(b Newark, NJ, Jan 26, 1945).

American conceptual artist, designer, and writer. She enrolled at Parsons School of Design, New York, where her teachers included the photographer Diane Arbus and Marvin Israel (1924–84), a successful graphic designer and art director of Harper’s Bazaar, who was particularly encouraging. When Kruger’s interest in art school waned in the mid-1960s, Israel encouraged her to prepare a professional portfolio. Kruger moved to New York and entered the design department of Mademoiselle magazine, becoming chief designer a year later. Also at that time she designed book covers for political texts. In the late 1960s and early 1970s she became interested in poetry and began writing and attending readings. From 1976 to 1980 she lived in Berkeley, CA, teaching and reflecting on her own art. Kruger later taught at Art Institute of Chicago and joined the visual arts faculty of the University of California San Diego in 2002, and later the University of California Los Angeles, dividing her time between Los Angeles and New York....

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Bronxville, NY, 1947).

American conceptual artist and photographer. She studied at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (BFA 1969), and became known for her museum-based installations, which call attention to the physical, economic and social trappings that define works of art in the West. Her pieces often include the works of other artists. In one series Lawler photographed certain works as they hung in the homes of collectors, along with their domestic surroundings and trappings: Pollock and Tureen (Cibachrome photograph, 1984; New York, Met.) shows the bottom edge of a Jackson Pollock painting and below it an 18th-century Chinese tureen with an ornate flower pattern on a wooden sideboard; the similarity of the colouring further encourages comparisons that can be made between such objects and questions of artistic sensibility. Lawler presented exhibitions in which she incorporated her own works within museum collections, including statements, photographs and questions: for example, in Enlargement of Attention (...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Liberty, NY, Sept 29, 1961).

American photographer, installation artist, film maker and writer. She dropped out of school at the age of 15, and began to take photographs after borrowing her mother’s camera a year later. Her early photographs were mainly aerial and landscape shots taken while travelling around America working at a variety of odd jobs. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Leonard took a number of photographs concerned with the control and representation of women, including a series of images of catwalk models taken from an low angle so that the model’s underwear is revealed, literally ‘undressing’ them; see for example, Legs, Geoffrey Beene Fashion Show (1990; see 1994 exh. cat.). She also continued to take pictures of the urban environment, sometimes focusing on graffiti, as in Blow Me (1994; see 1997 Basle exh. cat., p. 3). In 1993 Leonard collaborated with the Liberian-born American film maker Cheryl Dunye (...

Article

Adam M. Thomas

(b Bronx, New York, Oct 29, 1927).

American painter and filmmaker. A bodybuilder, gymnast and budding photographer in high school, Leslie served in the United States Coast Guard in 1945–6. He studied briefly at the Art Students League and then at New York University on the GI Bill from 1947 to 1949. In the late 1940s and early 1950s Leslie emerged as an experimental filmmaker, creating such films as Directions: A Walk after the War Games (1946), and a preeminent second-generation Abstract Expressionist painter. Leslie developed a slashing, gestural style of painting in which splashes and free brushwork are set off against broad strips and rectangular patches of color, as evident in Pythoness (1959; Muncie, IN, Ball State U. Mus. A.). Based on the strength of his abstract paintings, critic Clement Greenberg included Leslie in the New Talent exhibition at the Kootz Gallery, New York, in 1950. Leslie was part of the seminal Ninth Street Show...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Hazelton, PA, April 17, 1947).

American photographer and conceptual artist. She studied at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (BA 1969, MFA 1973). Biographical information on Levine is limited, since she has refused to participate in ‘myth-making’ associated with art production. She first gained critical attention in the early 1980s, when she was associated with Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo, David Salle and others known as Appropriationists for drawing on existing imagery from ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. Her works have been interpreted as a commentary on the death of Modernism and its ideals, notions of artistic originality, the authenticity and autonomy of the art object and its status as a commodity. In Untitled (after Walker Evans) (10×8 photograph, 1981) Levine re-photographed a reproduction of a photograph by Evans. Such works articulated her fascination with the photographic process and its reproduction, while raising poststructuralist discourses on authorship, originality and history, from which they partly derive (...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Norwood, MA, June 5, 1964).

American photographer and film maker. She graduated with a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute in 1991, and with an MFA from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, in 1993. She rose to international prominence in the late 1990s for work which crosses over between the genres of documentary photography and feature film, always retaining a particularly tense, theatrical quality. Untitled Study (Rephotographed Snapshot #3) (1996; see 1996 exh. cat., p. 223) is typical of her early work, appearing to be more concerned with the conventions of photography alone: it shows the back of a girl sitting on a rock looking out at a lake. Ostensibly, it is merely a holiday snapshot, but its relation to a number of works which depict only the backs of subjects lends it a mysterious, puzzling quality. Lockhart’s predilection for children as subjects became clearer in the Auditions series (1994...

Article

Sheryl Conkelton

(b Brooklyn, NY, March 16, 1942).

American photographer and film maker. He began photographing in 1962 and became the first staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). From images of racial strife taken during this time Lyon produced books that reported on contemporary American culture and political life, one of which was The Movement (1964). In 1967 he published his first important photographic essay, The Bikeriders, a look at the Chicago Outlaws, a renegade motorcycle club. As an independent photographer he worked in Latin America, photographing prostitutes in Colombia and experimenting with colour for the first time.

In 1967 Lyon began to work for the photographic agency Magnum. He assisted Robert Frank in 1969 on the film Life Raft Earth, and then produced the films Social Science 127 and Llanito. These projects were followed by Conversations with the Dead in 1971, a book that is his best-known work and that shows life in Texan prisons through Lyon’s strong images and texts written by the inmates. Lyon was a practitioner of ‘participatory journalism’, as it was called by author George Plimpton, photographing and filming with no pretense to objectivity throughout the 1970s. In ...

Article

Jessica S. McDonald

(b Queens, New York, Jan 10, 1930).

American photographer, curator, and educator. A major figure in American photography, he influenced the field through exhibitions, writings, workshops, and lectures delivered over more than 50 years. Born in the neighbourhood of Jamaica, in Queens, New York, Lyons began photographing as a teenager, and after military service as a senior photographer in Korea from 1951 to 1953, earned a BA in English from Alfred University in 1957. Committed to the photographic sequence as a vehicle for expressing visual meaning, Lyons chose to present his own work in the context of photographic books. The three volumes Notations in Passing: Visualized by Nathan Lyons (1974), Riding 1st Class on the Titanic! (1999), and After 9/11 (2003) all scrutinize American culture through an investigation of various forms of public display.

Lyons made a significant impact on the field of photography in America during his tenure at George Eastman House...

Article

Susan Snodgrass

(b Madrid, Spain, 1961).

Chicago-based American sculptor also working in photography, video and installation. He received a BA in art and art history and a BA in Latin American and Spanish literature from Williams College in 1983. In 1989 he earned a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Manglano-Ovalle’s hybrid practice emerged with Tele-vecindario: A Street-Level Video Block Party, a public art project created for Culture in Action, a community-based art program in Chicago in 1992–3. Working with Latino youth in Chicago’s West Town community, an area often challenged by substandard housing, drugs and gang violence, the artist facilitated a multimedia portrait of their lives in which these youth constructed their own images and concept of self. Issues of identity, community and migration, as they relate to both cultural and geographic borders, have been explored throughout his prestigious career that includes collaborative modes of working, as well as individual works sited within the museum or gallery. For Manglano-Ovalle, culture encompasses a broad network of systems—artistic, political, environmental, scientific—in constant dialogue, negotiated by both artist and viewer....

Article

Mary Chou

(b Lexington, VA, May 1, 1951).

American photographer. She studied photography at Putney School in Vermont (1966–9). She spent the following two years at Bennington College, VT, and then attended the Friends World College, New York. From 1971 to 1973 Mann took photography courses at the Praestegaard Film School, Fjerritslev, Denmark, the Aegean School of Fine Arts, Paros, Apeiron Workshops in Photography, Millerton, New York, and the Ansel Adams Yosemite Workshop, where she served as an assistant to Adams. She graduated from Hollins College, Roanoke, VA, with a BA in 1974, and received an MA in writing from the same school in 1975. Mann is well known for her series of black-and-white portraits of the children and landscapes of the American South, exposed through the lens of a large-format centenarian camera.

Mann first received acclaim for her portraits with At Twelve (1983–5), a collection of photographs of twelve-year-old girls in Lexington, VA, on the brink of adolescence. Her subsequent and most well-known series, ...

Article

Tom Williams

(b Salt Lake City, UT, Aug 4, 1945).

American sculptor and performance artist. He studied at the University of Utah between 1966 and 1968 before receiving a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1969 and an MFA from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, in 1973. He is best known for the series of scatological and self-consciously perverse performances in which he has adopted such roles as a chef, an Abstract Expressionist painter, and even Santa Claus to explore complex psychoanalytic themes.

McCarthy’s early work participated in the late 1960s trends towards phenomenologically oriented installations and body art, but during the 1970s his work became increasingly preoccupied with transgressive bodily actions. In many of these performances, he would paint with his penis, insert objects into his rectum, or smear himself with ketchup or other viscous fluids. Such gestures often served to degrade and devalue conventional figures of authority or to expose the psycho-sexual underpinnings of contemporary culture. In his famous ...

Article

Sheryl Conkelton

(b Baltimore, MD, June 21, 1948).

American photographer. She studied at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY, graduated from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, in 1971 and taught in public schools until she joined the photographic agency Magnum in 1976 on the strength of a black-and-white photographic essay on Carnival Strippers. A self-taught photojournalist, Meiselas did most of her photography in troubled locations or developing nations. She went to Chad and Cuba before travelling to Nicaragua in 1978; she was there when the Sandinista revolution erupted and later published her chronicle of the uprising in uncompromising colour photographs in Nicaragua (1981). She spent six years working with Kurdish tribes in Iran in the 1990s, producing a book and a collective Kurdish history website that invites contributions. She continues to work as a photojournalist.

Meiselas, Susan with C. Rosenberg: Nicaragua, June 1978–July 1979 (New York, 1981) El Salvador (New York, 1984) Chile: From within (New York, 1990)...