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Article

(b Mason City, WA, Sept 6, 1938; d New York, NY, Jan 21, 2011).

American conceptual and performance artist. He studied art at California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA (1959–64) and at Stanford University, Stanford, CA (1964–5). His early work was Land art and involved large-scale outdoor projects documented by photographs. In Directed Seeding—Cancelled Crop (1969; see 1974 exh. cat.), he organized the planting of a field of wheat at Finsterwolde in Holland according to a specific pattern and then had a huge cross shape harvested out of the grown crop. He prevented any of the crop from being sold, an act he likened to ‘stopping raw pigment from becoming an illusionistic force on canvas’ (1974 exh. cat.). In the early 1970s he turned to such performance works as Reading Position for Second Degree Burn (1970; see 1974 exh. cat.), in which he lay in the sun for five hours with a book across his chest so that his skin burned, leaving a silhouette of the book. He saw this as a form of painting....

Article

Orlan  

Catherine M. Grant

(b St Etienne, Loire, May 30, 1947).

French performance artist, video artist, installation artist and digital artist. When she was 18 she improvised her first street performances in her home town. During the events of May 1968, Orlan was involved in radical actions and feminist protest. Her performances of the 1970s were influenced by this political upheaval, but they also reflected her disenchantment with the Marxist and separatist politics of the time. Her work always courted controversy; for example, in a performance outside the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC), Paris, in 1977, she created a scandal with The Artist’s Kiss, inviting viewers to pay five francs for a kiss. In 1971 she had also begun to take on the persona of Saint Orlan, making performances, photographs and installations with this character until around 1984; the photograph The Assumption of the White Madonna (1984; see P. Adams and others, p. 25) typifies this group of works. With this persona she sought to upset the patriarchal beliefs inherent to the Judeo-Christian tradition, creating a female saint that was both ‘Madonna’ and ‘whore’. In ...

Article

Ađalsteinn Ingólfsson

(b EskifjörÐur, Dec 25, 1929).

Icelandic stage designer, sculptor, printmaker, performance artist and conceptual artist. He studied stage design in Birmingham, Reykjavík and Vienna (1949–56) and was periodically engaged in stage design for Reykjavík theatres from 1956 to 1975. In the late 1950s he became disillusioned with traditional theatre and began to think in terms of proto-happenings or visual tableaux. None of these went beyond the planning stage, but they were undoubtedly precursors of the ‘collage’ plays (random collections of dialogue from literature as well as ephemeral printed material) and performances that Pálsson organized with his students in Reykjavík, the Netherlands and Norway in the 1980s.

Pálsson’s interest in the visual arts was fuelled by his friendship with Dieter Roth. Though their concerns were essentially very different, they shared an ironic, even aggressive attitude to art and an interest in ephemeral or fragile materials. During the 1960s Pálsson’s work was mostly neo-Dadaist: for example the mimeographed prints of ...

Article

(b Biarritz, May 24, 1939; d Paris, 1990).

French performance and installation artist. She studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and became known in the 1970s for her body-orientated performances. In Unanaestheticized Climb (1971, Paris) she climbed, barefoot, a ladder with rungs studded with sharp metal protrusions. Her use, on this and other occasions, of self-inflicted injury was intended to bring real experience (through empathy with her discomfort) into the viewer’s appreciation of her art. Other early performances were conceived as complex visualizations of psychological states and conflicts; see The Conditioning, the Contraction and the Rejection, 1973. Sentimental Action, which she described as a ‘projection of an intra space’, dealt with the mother–child relationship, and other works investigated the individual’s response to other similarly complex relationships. The photographic documentation shows the artist dressed in white, her face hidden behind a bunch of roses, her outstretched arm bleeding from punctures inflicted by thorns (see Lippard, 1976...

Article

Bernice Murphy

(b Sydney, July 19, 1945).

Australian conceptual and performance artist, film maker and writer. He began writing poetry as a student at Queensland University (1965–6). Although he attended the National Art School at Darlinghurst, Sydney (1968), he was largely self-taught as an artist. He first became known for his conceptual works, filmed actions and performances and typescript pieces in 1971–2, when he ran Inhibodress, an alternative art space in Sydney, with artist Peter Kennedy (b 1945). In 1972 he travelled abroad for the first time for about a year, making Vienna his base (as he did again in 1977–8). In 1973 he carried out performances in Lausanne and Neuchâtel, Switzerland. These works (and the associated filmed record) were collectively entitled Performances, Actions, Video Systems and developed out of previous Sydney works: Word Situations (1971) and Idea Demonstrations (1971–2).

On returning to Australia Parr incorporated recent filmed records of performances into much larger, autobiographical film projects that occupied most of his artistic energy for ten years, producing three substantial, experimental films: ...

Article

Matthew Gale

[Giuseppe]

(b Bari, Oct 19, 1935; d Rome, Sept 11, 1968).

Italian sculptor, conceptual artist and stage designer. He was profoundly influenced by his childhood in occupied Tiranë, Albania (1940–41), and in coastal Polignano. After a period at the Liceo Artistico, Naples, he studied scenography at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Rome (1955–9), where he met Jannis Kounellis. After graduating Pascali supported himself as a graphic designer and television set designer (1960–64). This commercial work allowed him to experiment with large-scale projects while maintaining his contacts with Kounellis, Mario Schifano and others, although he refrained from exhibiting. Pascali’s first one-man show was at Galleria La Tartaruga, Rome (1965). While influenced by Enrico Castellani’s abstract works, such shaped and formed canvases as Red Lips, Homage to Billie Holiday (1964; Turin, Gal. Civ. A. Mod.) reflected the humour and concern with contemporary culture found in American Pop art, which had featured in the Venice Biennale of ...

Article

James Smalls

(b New York, Sept 20, 1948).

African American conceptual and performance artist. Piper graduated with an Associate of Arts degree in painting and sculpture from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1969. While continuing to produce and exhibit her artwork, she received a BA in Philosophy from the City College of New York in 1974. During 1977–8, Piper studied Kant and Hegel at the University of Heidelberg and earned a PhD in Philosophy from Harvard University in 1981. She taught philosophy at Georgetown, Harvard, the University of Michigan, Stanford, and the University of California, San Diego. Her principal publications have been in meta-ethics, Kantian metaphysics, and the history of ethics. These interests also influenced her art. In 1987 she became the first tenured African American woman professor in the field of philosophy at Wellesley College and, through numerous scholarly books and articles, began to present her ideas through performance art, photography, and video....

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Bari, June 14, 1938).

Italian sculptor, performance designer and conceptual artist. He abandoned architectural studies in Naples in the late 1950s to immerse himself in Rosicrucianism. In Rome, Pisani undertook conceptual analyses of the work of Robert Motherwell (1960–65) and of Marcel Duchamp (1965–70). The results were first seen in 1970 in the show Maschile, femminile e androgino: Incesto e cannibalismo in Marcel Duchamp (Rome, Gal. Salita), in which he presented such psychoanalytically informed objects as Chocolate Cast of Suzanne Duchamp (1965; see 1970 exh. cat., p. 19). Pisani won the Premio Pino Pascali (1970) and began to participate in Arte Povera and to collaborate with Michelangelo Pistoletto. He drew parallels between artistic and alchemical activity, placing himself alongside Duchamp, Yves Klein and Joseph Beuys; the latter was the subject of the repetitive performance piece The Rabbit Does Not Like Joseph Beuys (1975; Rome, Gal. Sperone). The symbolic cruciform structure of the performance ...

Article

Pandit Chanrochanakit

(b Chiang Mai, Feb 21, 1971).

Thai installation artist (see fig.). Rawanchaikul studied at Chiang Mai University and received his BA in 1993. He focused on the idea of bringing art to everyday life and gained recognition through his Navin Gallery Bangkok (1995-8; see 1999 exh. cat., pp. 232–65). He turned a cab into a mobile gallery and invited artists to exhibit their works in this private–public space (see fig.). The taxi gallery moved through Bangkok’s traffic thereby bringing art to busy Bangkok and questioning the lack of space for young artists in Thailand. Rawanchaikul also used public transport as a means to bridge a gap between non-art audiences and contemporary art projects. In Another Day In Sydney (1998; see 1999 exh. cat., pp. 219–31), he interviewed taxi drivers and made a comic based on their stories. The comic was then distributed to taxi passengers for free. In Cities on the Move...

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

(b Groningen, July 1, 1942).

Dutch conceptual artist, film maker and television actor. He started to experiment with different coloured smoke in 1957. From the 1960s he was active as a Fluxus composer. In 1961 with Ger van Elk and the photographer Bob Wesdorp he founded the Adynamische Groep, which primarily reacted against post-war Expressionism. In 1962 he was given an exhibition at the Fodor Museum, Amsterdam, for which he covered the floor of a room with a 100 mm layer of salt and another with a few tonnes of broken glass. In pursuit of performance art, in 1963 he instigated a happening: he emptied a bottle of lemonade in the sea outside Petten, an action broadcast by Dutch television. In the same year he made a television programme about contemporary art (e.g. Fluxus, Pop art, Zero). Also in 1963 the fire brigade banned the performance of his Economic Concert (1958), which consisted of one single explosion on stage. Two years later he displayed a 5 m high purple chair in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam and organized an exhibition called ...

Article

Christine Filippone

(b Fox Chase, PA, Oct 12, 1939; d New Paltz, NY, Mar 6, 2019).

American painter, filmmaker, video, performance and installation artist. Schneemann was born in Fox Chase, PA, and grew up in rural Illinois. She was awarded a full scholarship to Bard College where she studied with German philosopher and poet Heinrich Blucher, husband of political theorist Hannah Arendt. On leave from Bard, she studied painting at Columbia University, and while in New York City, she met her first husband, composer James Tenney, then at the Juilliard School. She also befriended avant-garde poets as well as the filmmaker Stan Brakhage, performing in his films Loving (with Tenney) and Cat’s Cradle. She earned her MFA from the University of Illinois and in 1962 she and Tenney returned to New York. Tenney, a composer of experimental music, had been offered a position at Bell Laboratories where he befriended physicist Billy Klüver, a founder of Experiments in Art and Technology . Through Klüver, Schneemann met artists Claes Oldenburg...

Article

Jordana Moore Saggese

(b Baltimore, MD, Nov 15, 1948).

African American sculptor, jeweller, printmaker, installation artist, performance artist, and poet . Daughter of the renowned quiltmaker Elizabeth Talford Scott (b 1914), she received a BFA in art education from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, in 1970 and her MFA from Institute Allende in Mexico in 1971. She also studied at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, ME. As a visual and performance artist, Scott is most noted for works that engage with both politics and popular culture. The signature of Scott’s visual work is the application of beads, which she frequently used in her sculptures, installations, and jewellery. Her predilection for a material typically associated with craft, rather than fine arts, was inspired in part by the handicraft traditions of African and African American cultures. Such traditions were very familiar to Scott as her maternal grandfather was a basket-maker and a blacksmith and her paternal grandfather was a woodworker; her mother and grandmother both made quilts as well. The use of beads also connects Scott to a broader history of art. For example, one can see the influence of Yoruba beadwork in her creation of objects that are both beautiful and functional. The work also extends beyond Africa to include many other cultures and communities—Native American, Czech, Mexican, and Russian—which all have beading traditions. Scott’s manipulation of so-called women’s arts (i.e. quilting, sewing, and beadwork) connects her to a longer tradition of black feminist artists including Betye Saar and Howardena Pindell. Even with these connections to personal, cultural, and artistic histories, however, Scott’s materials are unique in that the sparkling and seductive surfaces they create are integral to the artist’s desire to shock and to surprise her viewers....

Article

Linda Weintraub

(b New Bedford, MA, 1945).

American performance artist, sculptor, landscape architect, educator, and writer. Sherk received her BA from Rutgers University, Douglass College and her MA from San Francisco State University. She acquired certificates in Landscape Architecture and in Traditional Arts of Japan from the University of California Extension and the Oomoto School of Traditional Japanese Arts, respectively. In the early 1970s she devised the term “Environmental Performance Sculpture” to describe her work, which remained relevant to her later ventures. These works highlighted the significance of “environment,” which she manifested by integrating artistic interventions into cultural and physical conditions of a site. Three early examples include Portable Parks I–III (1970), a series that included the transformation of three urban “dead spaces” into multispecies habitats; Response (1971; University of California San Diego), a performance installation that presented concurrent responses to being in the university from the perspectives of psychology, biology, physics, still photography, and video; and the ...

Article

Sky art  

Astrid A. Hiemer

Term coined by Otto Piene in 1969 and described by him as: ‘The arbitrator between man-made feelings and emotions and yearnings evoked by earth and sky and their overwhelming size and power …. Technology helps to distribute and connect while we keep it from dulling the senses and numbing our imagination’ (see 1986 exh. cat.). By the 1980s sky art had become a movement centred around Piene and other artists at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA.

Piene’s early but most ambitious sky project was the Olympic Rainbow produced for the XX Olympiad in Munich, Germany (1972). In 1966 Christo had produced his 42,390 Cubic Feet Package at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, which was a precursor of sky art. In the same year as Piene’s Olympic Rainbow he constructed his Valley Curtain, Rifle, Colorado (see...

Article

Lelia Delgado

(b New York, March 1, 1940).

Venezuelan conceptual and performance artist. She studied psychology at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, and sat in on classes at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas Cristóbal Rojas (now the Escuela de Artes Visuales Cristóbal Rojas) in Caracas, at which she later taught (1983–94). In 1962–6 she studied art at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), graduating with a degree in Plastic Arts (1966). Sosa returned to Venezuela in 1966 and combined her work with investigations into the expressive possibilities of the body. She was a founder-member of the dance group Contradanza (1973–6) and performed in Las cosas que nos pasan in Caracas. From 1970 she was highly active as a teacher of expression through movement and the plastic arts. In her work (examples in Caracas, Mus. B.A. and Ciudad Bolívar, Mus.) she reflected upon the surface and space and on the body as an instrument for the comprehension of such space. Sosa also used the chair as a structure from which to ponder the world, space and the role of the spectator....

Article

Jenifer P. Borum

(b Pittsburgh, PA, 1958).

American painter and sculptor. Raised in the working-class East Liberty section of Pittsburgh, Stout was encouraged to make art by members of her family—her maternal uncle, a painter, and her grandfather, a blues musician. As a child, she took classes at the Carnegie Museum of Art, where she was introduced to African art, a significant formative experience for Stout, who would subsequently go on to engage the vernacular language of the African Diaspora in the Americas.

Stout earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 1980. After graduation, she worked in residency at the Afro-American Artists Residency at Northeastern University in Boston. After moving to Washington, DC, in 1985, she began the ongoing practice of mixed-media assemblage that was to become her mature work. By reclaiming objects and elements from urban diasporic material culture such as root medicines, spirit writing and healing oils, Stout created assemblages and environments that effectively transformed gallery and museum spaces into liminal sites that mapped cultural crossroads—contact points between Africa and the Americas, tradition and innovation, high art and vernacular culture....

Article

Midori Yoshimoto

(b Tokyo, April 5, 1967).

Japanese sculptor, installation and video artist . Torimitsu received a BFA in sculpture at Tama Art University (1994) and, soon after her university graduation, she completed Miyata Jiro, a life-size robot of a stereotypical Japanese businessman, and made it crawl on the pavements of various districts in Tokyo. Perhaps because of its candid critique of Japanese corporate culture, businessmen in Marunouchi district pretended not to look at the robot, while it attracted large crowds elsewhere. In order to study varying reactions to her robot in different social settings, Torimitsu moved to New York in 1996, to participate in the P.S.1 International Program. For the American premier of Miyata Jiro that year, on Wall Street and near the Rockefeller Center, Torimitsu dressed as a nurse to redirect the robot’s movement or recharge its battery. Her New York performances were so well received that Torimitsu subsequently acquired opportunities to do the same in Amsterdam, Graz, London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Sydney....

Article

Daniel Robbins

(b Angoûleme, April 4, 1885; d Paris, March 25, 1937).

French painter, collagist, draughtsman and stage designer. A few years younger than most of the Cubists with whom he became associated, he received a traditional art education at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1906 to 1910. He did not participate in any of the manifestations of Cubism that took place before World War I. His interest in the movement appears to have developed under the influence of Albert Gleizes, who painted his portrait while both served near the front in the 167th regiment at Toul in 1914–15. By 1916 Valmier was making small and very delicate collages markedly different from those of Picasso, Braque or Gris, composed of minutely fragmented surfaces.

In 1919 Valmier signed a contract with the dealer Léonce Rosenberg, for whose Bulletin de l’effort moderne he later designed a cover. Rosenberg gave him his first one-man exhibition at his Galerie de l’Effort Moderne, Paris, in ...

Article

Marita Sturken

Culture of images and visuality that creates meaning in our world today. This includes media forms such as photography, film, television, and digital media; art media such as painting, drawing, prints, and installations; architecture and design; comic books and graphic novels; fashion design, and other visual forms including the look of urban life itself. It also encompasses such social realms as art, news, popular culture, advertising and consumerism, politics, law, religion, and science and medicine. The term visual culture also refers to the interdisciplinary academic field of study that aims to study and understand the role that images and visuality play in our society; how images, gazes, and looks make meaning socially, culturally, and politically; how images are integrated with other media; and how visuality shapes power, meaning, and identity in contemporary global culture.

The emergence of the concept of visual culture as a means to think about the role of images in culture and as an academic field of study is a relatively recent phenomenon, emerging in the late 1980s and becoming established by the late 1990s. There were numerous factors that contributed to the idea that images should be understood and analysed across social arenas rather than as separate categories, including the impact of digital media on the circulation of images across social realms, the modern use of images from other social arenas (such as news and advertising) in art, and the cross-referencing of cultural forms displayed in popular culture and art. It was also influenced by the increasingly visible role played by images in political conflict and a general trend toward interdisciplinarity in academia....