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Aleca Le Blanc

(b São Paulo, Jun 20, 1914; d São Paulo, Dec 22, 2010).

Brazilian visual artist and designer. The formal training Barsotti received was in drawing and chemistry, and by the 1950s he had established a professional career in design, working in São Paulo during the postwar period. From 1954 to 1964 he ran a studio with Willys de Castro (1926–1988), a life-long collaborator and fellow artist, called Estúdio de Projetos Gráficos, where he created costume design, graphic design, and textile design, among other things. During this period he focused his artistic efforts exclusively on geometric abstraction, then the dominant style of the avant-garde in Brazil under the rubric of Concrete art. However, Barsotti did not immediately affiliate with any of the groups that promoted it, such as the dogmatic Grupo Ruptura in São Paulo. He was not, strictly speaking, a devotee of Concrete art, which required that the geometric composition be entirely preconceived, divorced from observed reality, and visually represent a mathematical formula. On this matter, de Castro applauded his friend in a ...

Article

Cecile Johnson

(Losch)

(b Long Beach, CA, March 14, 1941).

American installation artist, painter, printmaker and sculptor. Bartlett studied at Mills College, Oakland, CA (1960–63), and at the Yale School of Art and Architecture, New Haven, CT (1964–5). The progressive approach to modern art taught at Yale and the nearby thriving art scene of New York were instrumental in her early development (1963–early 1970s). Bartlett’s first one-person exhibition was in New York (1970) in the loft of the artist Alan Saret. Nine-point Pieces (1973–4), a later work, was shown at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York and was experimental both conceptually and materially. Her ambivalent use of systems to establish an order and to oppose it allowed her to explore the material and the conceptual process of making images and objects. Rhapsody (1975–6; priv. col., see exh. cat., p. 21), one of her best-known installations, consists of 988 steel plates covered with screenprint grids and hand-painted Testors enamel and hung on a wall (2.28×47.86 m). Each plate exists individually and in relation to its adjoining plate and may be read vertically or horizontally, creating a mesh of stylistic variability exploring both figurative and non-figurative motifs. Another work of the 1970s is ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Philadelphia, Dec 17, 1960).

American sculptor, active in England. He obtained a BFA from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA, and an MFA from Goldsmiths’ College, London, in 1988. Exploring his interest in the government of behaviour by social constraint, he first used clothes and hair as materials before turning to animal remains and casts of human organs for his increasingly unsettling work. His The Cat and the Dog (1995; London, Saatchi Gal., see 1996 exh. cat., p. 4) consists of two skinned animal hides with perfectly reconstructed heads and feet. Described by the artist as frozen smiles, the animal objects act as abstract surrogates for socially repressed bestial tendencies. Be Your Dog (1997; see 1998 exh. cat., p. 10), consisting of scalped dog ears mounted on a wall as an invitation to wear them, illustrates this theme even more forcefully. Other works by Baseman represent human body parts. Muscle (1997...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Dundee, July 17, 1955).

Scottish painter, sculptor and writer. He studied Fine Art at Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham (1975–8), then Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham (1978–80). In the early 1990s he began to make free-standing work characterized by a meeting of the ready-made with the monochrome, a preoccupation that he continued to pursue. His dedication to monochrome surfaces came about at first almost by accident when he began to apply more intense hues of paint to his sculptures, but it quickly became a consuming interest. While historically the form has been associated with the experience of colour, Batchelor realized that most monochrome paintings actually tended to be pale and lacking in intensity; his own paintings involved an attempt to inject more energy into them, and in that respect he sees them as semi-absurdist. His first solo exhibition (London, Curtain Road A.; Leeds Henry Moore Inst.;1995–6), at which he presented his ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Rheinsberg, 1944).

German sculptor and installation artist. He attended the Staatlichen Akademie für bildende Künste, Karlsruhe (1968) and the Staatlichen Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (1969–71), where he studied for a year under Joseph Beuys. Baumgarten is known for his sculptures with ecological themes, drawn primarily from his travels among Native North and South Americans. His anthropological investigations have also found expression in films, books, photographs and writings. In 1978 Baumgarten embarked on an extended stay with the Yanomami Indians in the Upper Orinoco region; his documentation of this time attempted to provide an unbiased view of Indian culture. His reflections on the historical problems associated with colonialism arguably found better expression in site-specific works using words, such as the wall painting Monument for the South American Indian Nations (1982), installed at Documenta 7, Kassel. In this he mounted the names of Native South Americans around the circular base of a skylight in the Museum Fredericianum in Kassel. This and other works drew attention to the inscription of colonial power through re-naming. This approach was given a different colonial context in ...

Article

Anne K. Swartz

(b Richmond, VA, June 25, 1931; d Oneonta, NY, Aug 29, 2013).

American painter. Beal studied at the College of William and Mary, Norfolk, VA, before going on to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago. In 1965, he began having solo exhibitions at the Allan Frumkin Gallery, later Frumkin/Adams Gallery and then George Adams Gallery, which had venues in New York City and Chicago, continuing to exhibit with them into the 21st century. Like many artists working in the 1960s, he repudiated the abstract, then so current in the art world, and favored instead the kind of “New Realism” being espoused by artists such as Philip Pearlstein, among others. His art focuses on the figure indoors, usually rendered up-close in a compact interior environment. The colors are usually vivid and the lines often dominant.

Beal is known primarily as a painter, but in addition to painting and prints, Beal produced two major public art monuments. The first was a series of four murals titled ...

Article

Janet Bishop

(b San Francisco, CA, May 14, 1932).

American painter. Native of the San Francisco Bay Area, known for careful observation and explicit use of snapshot-like photographic source material for paintings of family, cars, and residential neighborhoods. The artist rose to national and international prominence in early 1970s as part of the Photorealist movement (see Photorealism).

From the 1960s, Bechtle pursued a quiet realism based on the things he knew best, translating what seem to be ordinary scenes of middle-class American life into paintings. Following an early childhood in the Bay Area and Sacramento, his family settled in 1942 in Alameda, an island suburb adjacent to Oakland where his mother would occupy the same house for almost 60 years. The neighborhood appears in many of Bechtle’s paintings.

Bechtle earned both his BFA (1954) and his MFA (1958) at Oakland’s California College of Arts and Crafts, where he studied graphic design and then painting. During his student years and into the 1960s, Bechtle was influenced by Pop art’s precedent for the use of commercial subject matter and techniques. He was likewise interested in Bay Area figuration, especially the subjects and structure of paintings by ...

Article

Jorge Glusberg

(b Buenos Aires, Aug 7, 1947).

Argentine sculptor and architect. After studying architecture he began in 1967 to make multiple colour projections of shadows, continuing in 1968 to work with light apparatuses. He then travelled on a French Government scholarship to Paris, where he began to create multiple superimposed images using acrylic shapes laid on top of flat mirrors. He became involved with the Groupe d’Art Constructif et Mouvement and turned to spheres within cubes or other spheres. After this he experimented with inflatable sculptures and back projections of photographs, and later with Books (e.g. Summa geometrica, 1979, see Glusberg, p. 133) and Megacubes, which consist generally of ruins or landscapes rendered unfamiliar. As an architect he worked on the Recoleta Cultural Centre (1972–9; with Clorindo Testa and Luis Benedit) in Buenos Aires. He was a founder-member of Grupo CAYC.

J. Glusberg: Del Pop-art a la Nueva Imagen (Buenos Aires, 1985), pp. 133–8A. Tager...

Article

Ian McLean

(b Bedford Downs cattle station, Western Australia, c.1922; d Kununurra, Western Australia, July 14, 2007).

Australian Aboriginal painter (see fig.). A member of the Gija people from the East Kimberley region in north-western Australia. The transforming moment for Gija-speakers of his generation was the 1969 government legislation for equal pay on cattle stations. Bedford’s life as a stockman was suddenly terminated since stations would not pay their Aboriginal staff. Like many Gija at the time, he eventually settled at the former ration station of Turkey Creek (now Warmun). In the 1970s it became the hub for ceremonial revival and, by the end of the decade, the nascent Gija painting movement. Bedford, however, settled into the role of important ceremonial elder. While this included painting for pedagogical and ceremonial purposes, he only took up painting for exhibition in 1997 at the encouragement of Tony Oliver, the Artistic Director of the newly formed Jirrawun Arts. Soon Bedford became their most celebrated painter. By the time of his death he was being championed as the most acclaimed Aboriginal artist since ...

Article

J. Harwood

(b Havana, 1959).

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

Article

Wojciech Włodarczyk

(b Kraków, July 25, 1953).

Polish sculptor and poster designer. Between 1973 and 1978 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in the sculpture studio of Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz. From 1978 he exhibited and took part in sculptural symposia (on marble and granite) in Poland, Italy, France and Germany. Between 1976 and 1981 he designed posters for the Laboratory Theatre (Teatr Laboratorium) of Jerzy Grotowski.

Bednarski became one of the leading representatives in Poland of the ‘new sculpture’ of the 1980s. He produced individual sculptures (up to the early 1980s in small numbers) and later tended towards installations and performances. Several recurrent elements (e.g. the plaster head of Karl Marx in different arrangements and variants shown at exhibitions in 1978, 1986 and 1988) and repeated motifs are evident in his work. He often drew on literature (Herman Melville and Joseph Brodsky) and on the realities of Polish Communism, usually employing familiar signs and symbols. These equivocal and diverse sculptures and installations are primarily autobiographical. His most important installation, ...

Article

A. Krista Sykes

(b Oak Park, IL, Oct 12, 1941).

American architect and teacher. Born in Oak Park, IL (home of numerous early works by Frank Lloyd Wright), Beeby moved with his family to Philadelphia before they relocated to England, where he completed high school. Beeby returned to the USA to attend Cornell University, earning a Bachelor of Architecture in 1964. The following year he received his Master’s of Architecture from Yale University and took a position in the Chicago office of C. F. Murphy, leaving in 1971 to join James Wright Hammond (a former partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill) in creating Hammond Beeby & Associates, which would eventually become the modern-day firm of Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge. In 1973 Beeby began teaching at the Illinois Institute of Technology, serving as an associate professor from 1978 through 1980, when he assumed the directorship of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He left this post to become dean of the Yale University School of Architecture from ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Genoa, April 25, 1969).

Italian performance artist active in the USA. Beecroft’s work is largely performance-based, using a number of professional models in formation rather than the body of the artist herself. Originating in journals in which she had documented her anorexia, her performances deal with the contemporary striving for perfection in one’s body image. Her first performances featured almost identically dressed women in wigs, either standing, sitting or moving in slow formation, as in VB08 (exh. Long Island City, NY, P.S.1, see N. Bryson and others, p.113). Beecroft developed these performances into ‘tableaux vivants’, turning the female performers into something between an object and an image. Always taking place in a gallery setting, and taking full advantage of the voyeuristic possibilities, her performances are defined by an almost exclusive dependence on beautiful semi-clad female models arranged in a highly formal choreography. Over the years the amount of clothes worn by the models has steadily decreased until they have been left sporting only high-heel shoes. A spectacular and very public performance called ...

Article

Chinese auction house established in 2005. Before the foundation of Beijing Poly International Auction Company (Beijing Poly Auction), China Guardian was the largest auction business in China. Since taking over China Guardian in 2010, Beijing Poly Auction became the foremost auctioneer and the world’s third largest auction company in terms of auction sales turnover, after Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The rise of Beijing Poly Auction, as well as other auction houses in mainland China, above their Western competitors can be explained by the high tax rates applicable to foreign companies as well as government regulations in the antiques trade applied to foreign companies. Beijing Poly Auction specialized in fields benefiting from the boom in the Chinese art market since the turn of the 21st century: Chinese traditional paintings and calligraphy, Chinese modern and contemporary paintings, antiques and ceramics, rare books and manuscripts, jewellery, and wine. According to the 2014 Global Chinese Art Auction Market Report conducted by the China Association of Auctioneers and Artnet, Beijing Poly International Auction’s turnover accounted for 14 per cent in global market share, by value, of Chinese art and antiques....

Article

S. J. Turner

(b London, Feb 26, 1951).

English draughtsman. He studied at Teesside College of Art, Middlesbrough, and Leeds University, graduating in fine art in 1974. He became a freelance cartoonist in 1977, after a brief spell teaching in Birmingham, where his earliest strip ‘Maxwell the Mutant’ appeared in the alternative paper Broadside. His first paid work featured in the comic Whoopee!, and he went on to draw for many other publications, including New Society, Social Work Today, Leveller (‘Lord God Almighty’ strip) and the New Musical Express. The strip ‘Maggie’s Farm’ first appeared in London’s Time Out (1979–81) and was continued in City Limits (1982–6). Bell also contributed large colour cartoons for the New Statesman & Society. However, his work appeared most consistently in The Guardian (from 1981), to which he contributed editorial cartoons and the topical ‘If …’ strip. The latter features numerous animal characters, such as a family of penguins, a monkey and a cat called Socks. The British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was frequently depicted as the Iron Lady or slant-eyed psychopath, while her successor, John Major, was habitually drawn wearing aertex Y-front underpants on the outside of his trousers, a metaphor for his inadequacy. Bell, considered one of the foremost English cartoon satirists, chronicled the dramatic political events of the 1980s and 1990s. He has also made animation shorts for television. He was influenced by the underground comic artist Robert Crumb (...

Article

Charlotte Townsend-Gault

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

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

Article

Clair Joy

(b Lake Charles, LA, Oct 25, 1941).

American sculptor. She studied art and philosophy at McNeese College in Lake Charles (1959–63) before moving to New York and studying art at the Brooklyn Museum School of Art (1964–5). Benglis admired, and she was influenced by, the work of Abstract Expressionists, such as Franz Kline. Her first exhibitions were at the Bykert Gallery, New York (1968 and 1969), showing wax paintings and poured-latex sculptures (see fig.). In 1969 she began working with polyurethane foam and made Brünhilde, her first projecting foam piece, as a performance at the Galerie Müller, Cologne, in 1970. She began to collaborate with Robert Morris in 1971, which resulted in her video Mumble (1972) and Morris’s video Exchange (1973).

Benglis ran a controversial advertisement in an issue of Artforum (Nov 1974), in which she posed nude in an aggressively provocative pose with a dildo. This image was poised between showing an overt, active sexuality and other images showing nude women being objectified. This balance between multiple readings would continue to characterize her work. Also in ...

Article

Rex Butler

(b 1955, Monto, Queensland; d June 3, 2014).

Australian Aboriginal painter. Bennett came to art late, after working throughout most of his 20s as a linesman for Telecom, he began studying at the Queensland College of Art, Brisbane, in 1986. He came to critical attention while still at art school, and just three years after graduating won the prestigious Moët et Chandon Australian Art Fellowship in 1991 with The Nine Ricochets (Fall Down Black Fella Jump Up White Fella) (1990). This important and extensively discussed work was a riposte to Imants Tillers’s The Nine Shots (1985), which appropriated from the work of the Western Desert artist Michael Nelson Tjakamarra. Bennett responded to Tillers by appropriating not only elements of Tillers’s own culture but also his method of appropriation itself. Throughout the 1990s, Bennett pursued an ambitious project of what could be called ‘contemporary history painting’, taking as his subject a series of colonial images and colonizing techniques, such as exploring, mapping and classifying. His aim was to open up a re-reading of Australian history, both to include an Aboriginal perspective and to show how Aborigines are taught to regard themselves in Western terms. Bennett has thought through this difficulty of representing Aborigines from his first works at art college, such as ...

Article

Malcolm Gee

(b Berlin, Jan 6, 1914; d Paris, Feb 23, 2007).

German American art dealer and collector, active in France. Berggruen came from a middle-class Jewish family. He immigrated to the USA in 1937, and was granted American citizenship in 1941. He served in the army between 1942 and 1945. After a period working as a journalist in Munich and in the museum section of UNESCO, he set up as an art dealer in Paris in 1948, based from 1950 onwards in a modest gallery on the Rue de l’Université. The Berggruen Gallery specialized in modern graphic art, including Pablo Picasso, and was the principal source in Paris of the work of Paul Klee. Berggruen retired in 1980 and focused on his personal collection of classic modern art. In 1996 Berggruen was invited to put his collection on public display in Berlin in what was originally barracks for the Gardes du Corps, designed by Friedrich August Stüler, where it was known as the Berggruen Collection. In ...

Article

Simon Njami

(b Dire Dawa, Feb 15, 1951).

Ethiopian sculptor active in France. He attended the French-Ethiopian School, Addis Ababa, before moving to France in 1971. He first exhibited his papier mâché figures in France in 1985 and later in Brazil, South Africa and the USA. Although the motifs and themes that inspired him are not immediately recognizable, they have been described as totemic and based on Ethiopian sources, particularly Coptic paintings and the motif of the cross. His works have also been placed in the tradition of Jean Dubuffet and art brut, in part because of their simplified forms and highly expressive quality. His brightly coloured, non-naturalistic figures depict a variety of types – royalty, warriors, animals – and the saturated yellow, blue and fuchsia colours of the pieces seem at least as important as their playful forms. But it would be a mistake to classify Selassie's work as art brut. His intention is highly sophisticated, and the choice, for instance, of his medium, papier mâché is the result of a long quest and a decision to make a political statement about Africa in his use of rough materials that can found anywhere. In his view, European artistic canons, with their rules and habits, challenge Africans to find different ways to communicate their own souls. This view probably derived from his broad range of intellectual and spiritual interests, including chemistry and physics, anthropology, history, Zen and Yoga....