[Fr.: ‘raw art’]. Term used from the mid-1940s to designate a type of art outside the fine art tradition. The commonest English-language equivalent for art brut is ‘Outsider art’. In North America, the same phenomenon tends to attract the label ‘Grass-roots art’. The French term was coined by Jean Dubuffet, who posited an inventive, non-conformist art that should be perfectly brut, unprocessed and spontaneous, and emphatically distinct from what he saw as the derivative stereotypes of official culture (see Cow with the Subtile Nose, 1954). In July 1945 Dubuffet initiated his searches for art brut, attracted particularly by the drawings of mental patients that he saw in Switzerland. In 1948 the non-profit-making Compagnie de l’Art Brut was founded, among whose partners were André Breton and the art critic Michel Tapié. The Collection de l’Art Brut was supported for a while by the company but was essentially a personal hobby horse of Dubuffet and remained for three decades an almost entirely private concern, inviting public attention only at exhibitions in ...
Descriptive term applied to a style of decorative arts that was widely disseminated in Europe and the USA during the 1920s and 1930s. Derived from the style made popular by the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925, the term has been used only since the late 1960s, when there was a revival of interest in the decorative arts of the early 20th century. Since then the term ‘Art Deco’ has been applied to a wide variety of works produced during the inter-war years, and even to those of the German Bauhaus. But Art Deco was essentially of French origin, and the term should, therefore, be applied only to French works and those from countries directly influenced by France.
The development of the Art Deco style, or the Style moderne as it was called at the time, closely paralleled the initiation of the 1925...
Term generally applied to architecture and design movements between 1925 and 1945. Derived from the title of the international exhibition of industrial and decorative arts held in Paris in 1925, ‘Art Deco’ was coined in 1968 by British historian Bevis Hillier to describe the architecture and design arts of the 1920s and 1930s, known at the time as Art Moderne. In actuality, Art Deco is a catchall term for different developments in the design arts and architecture between the World Wars. In some circles, Art Deco is considered an outgrowth of French Art Nouveau, the German Jugendstil and the Arts and Crafts Movement. Architectural historian David Gebhard distinguished three styles within Art Deco architecture in America: ‘Zigzag Moderne’, ‘Streamlined Moderne’ and the more classically retrained ‘PWA Moderne’ or ‘Federal Moderne’. These same three, Robert Craig labels ‘Art Deco’, ‘Streamlined Moderne’ and ‘Modern classic in American architecture’. Design historian Jeffrey L. Meikle refers to varying Art Deco styles as ‘exposition style’, ‘modernistic’ and ‘streamlined’, avoiding using the phrase ‘streamline[d] moderne’ as it suggests a strong connection with the French Moderne style....
Richard Guy Wilson
Richard Guy Wilson
Stylistic term applied to architecture and decorative arts of the 1920s and 1930s whose origin partially lies with the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris (see Art Deco). The term was invented in 1966 and initially applied just to French 1920s design but shortly thereafter grew to encompass a wide variety of modernist architecture and design that displayed decorative traits that stood in contrast to the more austere Modern style sometimes known as Functionalism, Bauhaus style, or International Style. Synonyms for Art Deco have included Style moderne, Art Moderne, Modernistic, Cubistic, Manhattan style, skyscraper style, setback style, zigzag style, streamlined, stripped Classicism, Greco Deco, and others.
The Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925 was a lavish spectacle of pavilions and exhibits that showcased the latest modern tendencies in French and foreign design. Originally scheduled for ...
Art journal published from 1934 to 1937. In 1934, the Artists’ Union joined with the Artists’ Committee of Action, which had been organized to protest against the destruction of Diego Rivera’s mural Man at the Crossroads in Rockefeller Center, New York, to publish Art Front, a journal of news and opinion for artists. The first issue appeared in November 1934 with an editorial committee consisting of eight members of the Artists’ Committee of Action (Hugo Gellert (1892–1985), Stuart Davis , Zoltan Hecht (1890–1968), Abraham Harriton (1893–1986), Rosa Pringle, Hilda Abel, Jennings Tofel (1891–1959) and Harold Baumbach (1903–2002)) and eight from the Artists’ Union (Ethel Olenikov, Boris Gorelick (1912–84), Robert Jonas (b 1907), Max Spivak (1906–81), Michael Loew (1907–85), Katherine Gridley (1898–1940), Herbert Kruckman (1904–98) and C. Mactarian)). Herman Baron served as the Managing Editor. The opening statement announced: ...
One of the oldest and largest artist-run schools of art instruction in the USA. The Arts Students League (ASL) was founded in 1875 by and for art students, many of whom were women. It opened largely in response to student dissatisfaction with the classes and conservative leadership at the National Academy of Design (NAD), then the predominant school of art instruction. The Academy had been founded in 1825 by artists including Samuel F(inley) B(reese) Morse, Asher B(rown) Durand, and Thomas Cole. Faced with financial difficulty, it was rumored that live figure drawing classes were to be canceled at the Academy, and therefore students and concerned teachers called for a meeting to initiate a new program of art instruction. The Art Students League was independently funded by tuition fees and vowed that life drawing would always be available. The mission of the ASL remains to emphasize the importance of artistic creativity, to maintain the greatest respect for artists who devote their lives to art and to educate students in the process of making art in an environment where anyone who wishes to pursue an art education can realize their full potential....
Set of financial methods, instruments, and business models that are used in the Art market. Important developments since the 1960s include the spreading availability and use of art price information and price indexes (see Art index), the emergence of loans collateralized by artworks, repeated efforts to create art investment structures, and a strong growth in art market advisory services provided by wealth managers and new entrepreneurs (see also Investment).
The first major development has been the spread of art price information and art price indexes over the last half-century. After a few difficult decades, art price levels and public interest in the art market were going up again in the 1950s and 1960s. A number of books on the history of the art market and on art investment that were published around that time—Le Vie Etrange des Objets (1959) by Maurice Rheims, Art as an Investment...
(b Dunedin, 1898; d Toronto, 1982).
Canadian teacher, writer and historian of New Zealand birth. He studied architecture in New Zealand, and after service in World War I, he went to the University of Liverpool in 1919 as the Lord Kitchener National Memorial Scholar. He then emigrated to Canada (1923) and began to teach at the University of Toronto, where he spent almost his entire professional life. Arthur was an ardent supporter of the Modern Movement but also promoted an awareness of Canada’s historic colonial buildings, which were derived from the English Georgian style: the simple lines and sparing ornament typical of such buildings dating from the late 18th century, as described in his book The Early Buildings of Ontario (1938), seemed to anticipate the goals of modern architecture. He was the architect for the restoration in 1937 of St Andrew’s Church, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and became a pioneer of the conservation movement in Ontario. His survey of Toronto architecture, ...
Ellen G. Landau
American non-profit organization formed to put the special training and technical skills of artists at the service of the US government during World War II. Emulating the Central Institute of Art and Design, which aided the British government with war-related projects, the National Art Council for Defense and Artists Societies for Defense were formed in New York in 1941. Complying with a federal request that there be only one such US organization, these merged in January 1942 to form Artists for Victory, Inc., with the intent “to render effective the talents and abilities of artists in the prosecution of World War II and the protection of this country.”
With their headquarters on Park Avenue, New York, by early 1943 Artists for Victory had a national individual membership of over 10,000 painters, sculptors, designers and printmakers. Taking as their symbol the Nike of Samothrace (c. 200
American exhibition space established by Irving Sandler and Trudie Grace in 1972–3 for the exhibition of “unaffiliated artists” in New York. It was founded under the auspices of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) to provide artists with a non-profit alternative to the commercial gallery system in New York. The stated mission of the space was to provide a venue for artists without gallery representation and to give them greater control over the exhibition of their work. In accordance with this mission, artists have frequently played a key role in administering the space and determining its exhibition schedule. A number of notable figures exhibited at Artists Space early in their careers, including Laurie Anderson, Robert Longo, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, and Laurie Simmons.
In 1972, Sandler was acting as a consultant to NYSCA, and Grace was the director of its Visual Arts Program, and they established the space to provide financial resources and exhibition opportunities for unaffiliated artists living in New York. In accordance with this mission, artists often curated their own exhibitions and those of other artists, and in the 1970s and 1980s, the space became a crucial site of artistic independence and experimentation. During its early years, a pattern was established in which well-known artists would select someone from the younger generation for exhibition, but when Helene Winer followed Grace as director between ...
American artists’ convention within the larger AIDS activist organization Visual AIDS. This group is best known for the famous Ribbon Project in 1991 in which artists and activists encouraged people to wear red ribbons to raise consciousness about the AIDS crisis within the broader population. Along with the efforts of such artist–activist groups as Gran Fury and Group Material, Visual AIDS represented an important aspect of the art world’s response to the AIDS crisis during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Artists’ Caucus comprised a diverse and changing group of artists that included Penny Arcade (b 1950), Allen Frame (b 1951), Michael Goff (b 1957), Nan Goldin (b 1953), Paul H-O, Frank Moore (1953–2002), Joe Rudy and Leslie Sharpe.
Visual AIDS was established in New York in 1989 by curators Gary Garrels, William Olander and Thomas Sokolowski and by the art critic Robert Atkins in order to mobilize art world institutions in the fight against AIDS and to increase public awareness of the crisis. Among their early interventions, the most important was the first annual “Day Without Art” in which museums and galleries were encouraged to memorialize AIDS deaths on ...
Organization created in 1934 to improve the economic conditions for artists during the Great Depression. In September 1933 a group of 25 artists, then working for the government’s Emergency Work Bureau in New York, met to discuss the pending discontinuance of the bureau. One of the artists was Bernarda Bryson, who had helped organize the Unemployed Councils for the Communist Party. Calling themselves the Emergency Work Bureau Artists Group, they changed their name to the Unemployed Artists Group. In December they petitioned the federal relief administrator Harry L. Hopkins to set up a jobs program for all unemployed artists, to include teaching, mural painting, easel painting and commercial and applied art jobs. In response the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) was set up, with Julianna Force, director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, administering the program in New York. Not satisfied with the limited number of artists being placed in PWAP roles, the Unemployed Artists Group protested; the group also renamed itself the Artists’ Union (AU) in ...
Informal movement in architecture and the decorative arts that championed the unity of the arts, the experience of the individual craftsman, and the qualities of materials and construction in the work itself.
The Arts and Crafts Movement developed in the second half of the 19th century and lasted well into the 20th, drawing its support from progressive artists, architects and designers, philanthropists, amateurs, and middle-class women seeking work in the home. They set up small workshops apart from the world of industry, revived old techniques, and revered the humble household objects of pre-industrial times. The movement was strongest in the industrializing countries of northern Europe and in the USA, and it can best be understood as an unfocused reaction against industrialization. Although quixotic in its anti-industrialism, it was not unique; indeed it was only one among several late 19th-century reform movements, such as the Garden City movement, vegetarianism, and folksong revivals, that set the Romantic values of nature and folk culture against the artificiality of modern life....
(b Washington, DC, Dec 26, 1924; d in Albany, NY, Feb 9, 2013).
American sculptor and painter . He studied art in 1949–50 under Amédée Ozenfant in New York. During the 1950s he designed and made furniture in New York, but after a fire that destroyed most of the contents of his shop in 1958 he turned again to art, initially painting abstract pictures derived from memories of the New Mexican landscape.
Artschwager continued to produce furniture and, after a commission to make altars for ships in 1960, had the idea of producing sculptures that mimicked actual objects while simultaneously betraying their identity as artistic illusions. At first these included objets trouvés made of wood, overpainted with acrylic in an exaggerated wood-grain pattern (e.g. Table and Chair, 1962–3; New York, Paula Cooper priv. col., see 1988–9 exh. cat., p. 49), but he soon developed more abstract or geometrical versions of such objects formed from a veneer of formica on wood (e.g. Table and Chair...
(b Norwalk, CA, Jan 24, 1926; d San Francisco, CA, Aug 5, 2013).
American sculptor, painter and draftsman. Asawa was born the fourth of seven children to Japanese immigrants and her childhood on a thriving truck farm formed her work ethic. During World War II, the Asawas were separated into different internment camps. At the Rohwer Relocation Center in Arkansas, Ruth was able to learn drawing from interned Japanese–American illustrators. In 1943 a scholarship allowed her to leave the camp to study at Milwaukee State Teachers College. However, when she realized that she could never find a teaching position in Wisconsin because of her Japanese ancestry, she headed to Black Mountain College in North Carolina in 1946. The Black Mountain College community, including illustrious teachers such as Albers family, §1 and R(ichard) Buckminster Fuller, nurtured Asawa’s artistic foundation and philosophy. There she started on looped-wire sculpture after discovering the basket crocheting technique in Mexico in 1947. Upon graduation, she married her classmate, the architect Albert Lanier (...
M. Sue Kendall
Term first used by Holger Cahill and Alfred H(amilton) Barr in Art in America (New York, 1934) and loosely applied to American urban realist painters. In particular it referred to those members of Eight, the who shortly after 1900 began to portray ordinary aspects of city life in their paintings, for example George Luks’s painting Closing the Café (1904; Utica, NY, Munson-Williams-Proctor Inst.). Robert Henri, John Sloan, William J(ames) Glackens, Everett Shinn and Luks were the core of an informal association of painters who, in reaction against the prevailing restrictive academic exhibition procedures, mounted a controversial independent exhibition at the Macbeth Galleries, New York (1908).
Sloan, Glackens, Shinn and Luks had all worked for the Philadelphia Press. It was in Philadelphia, where Henri had trained at the Academy of Fine Arts, that he convinced them to leave their careers as newspaper illustrators to take up painting as a serious profession. In an explicit challenge to the ‘art for art’s sake’ aesthetic of the late 19th century, Henri proposed an ‘art for life’, one that would abandon the polished techniques and polite subject-matter of the academicians; it would celebrate instead the vitality that the painter saw around him in everyday situations....
(b Morristown, NJ, Oct 29, 1955).
American sculptor. He studied Oriental and Middle Eastern cultures and languages before later graduating in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA 1993). Ashkin gained international recognition in the mid-1990s for his tabletop dioramas of inhospitable, often deserted, American landscapes. Influenced by Robert Smithson’s interest in the concept of entropy as well as more traditional landscape discourses such as Romanticism and the Sublime, Ashkin’s work has often suggested vast inhuman wastelands, although their real scale might only be a few square feet. His earliest works concentrated on semi-arid deserts, but soon the dominant motif switched to semi-stagnant marshes. No. 33 (1996; see exh. cat.), typical of the numerical nomination of his work, depicts a long, thin freeway in a swampy wilderness; a single truck drives along and telegraph wires line the road, suggesting vast distances. No. 15 (1996; see exh. cat.) is smaller in size, though again the tiny scale of the trucks that pass in convoy over a swampy, pock-marked landscape suggest great expanse. More recently Ashkin has expanded his practice into video and photography exploring the Sublime. ...
American multi-ethnic arts organization based in New York’s Chinatown. The Asian American Arts Centre (AAAC) and its predecessors, the Asian American Dance Theatre (1974–93) and the Asian Arts Institute (1981–8), emerged from the milieu of the Basement Workshop, the first working group of the Asian American Movement on the East Coast, whose mouthpiece was the journal Bridge (1970–81). After the closing of the Basement Workshop in 1987, the Dance Theatre and the Asian Arts Institute were consolidated as the AAAC.
Directed by Eleanor S. Yung, the Dance Theatre was at the core of the organization’s activities from the 1970s through the early 1990s, performing traditional dances from several Asian cultures alongside modern and postmodern forms. In the early 1980s, the Asian Arts Institute began to hold exhibitions and collect slides of artists’ work and documentation of their activities, working primarily with artists involved in the downtown art scene. Early programs included open studio events for artists working in Chinatown and exhibitions of the work of Arlan Huang (...
David M. Sokol
Group of artists founded in New York in 1911 with the aim of finding suitable exhibition space for young American artists. After preliminary meetings between the painters Jerome Myers (1867–1940), Elmer MacRae (1875–1955), Walt Kuhn (1877–1949) and others, a meeting was held at the Madison Gallery on 16 December 1911 for the purpose of founding a new artists’ organization. At a subsequent meeting on 2 January 1912 they elected officers and began to discuss exhibition plans. The president, Julian Alden Weir, who had been elected in absentia, resigned, however, and the leadership passed to Arthur B. Davies.
Davies, Walt Kuhn and Walter Pach soon took the lead and developed the plan for a major international exhibition, much to the disapproval of the American Realists associated with Robert Henri; the latter group was interested in gaining broader exposure to a public that knew only of the major figures associated with the National Academy of Design and saw no reason to include foreign modernists. Davies and his allies, contemptuous of their provincialism, ignored their wishes. The result of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors’ plans was the International Exhibition of Modern Art, known as the ...
Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom
(b. Istanbul, June 11, 1938).
American historian of Islamic art. Atıl earned her PhD at the University of Michigan, with a dissertation on an illustrated Ottoman Book of Festivals. In 1970 she was appointed Curator of Islamic Art at the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, a post that she held for 15 years. An extraordinarily energetic and prolific curator, she organized many notable exhibitions based on the Freer collection as well as traveling exhibitions of Mamluk art, the age of Süleyman the Magnificent, and of the Kuwait collection of Islamic art. Between 1985 and 1987, Dr. Atıl was Guest Curator at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. With the opening of the Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute in 1987, she was appointed Historian of Islamic Art at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, a position she held until her retirement in 1993.E. Atıl: 2500 Years of Persian Art (Washington, DC, 1971)E. Atıl...