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Article

(b Montreal, May 1934; d Montreal, April 16, 2003).

Canadian painter and photographer. After studying briefly in Montreal, he moved to New York in 1956 and enrolled at the Parsons School of Design. He later studied painting at the New York School of Design (1957) and at New York University. He first exhibited in 1958 at the Galerie Artek in Montreal and the following year had his first one-man show there. He was in New York until 1960 and the paintings executed during this period clearly show the influence of Abstract Expressionism, for example Untitled (1956; see 1978 exh. cat., p. 128).

After returning to Montreal Gagnon made a series of collage works using newspaper and other printed matter, similar to those of Rauschenberg. These were followed in 1961 by a series of landscape paintings in which the paint was applied in a spontaneous, Expressionist manner, as in Landscape (1961; Ottawa, N.G.). During 1961–2 he worked on a number of shallow box constructions containing various objects and materials. In ...

Article

John Mraz

(b Mexico City, Aug 23, 1923; d Mexico City, June 2, 2012).

Mexican photographer. Born in one of Mexico City’s poorest barrios, he went to the USA as a bracero (manual labourer) during World War II. There began García’s interest in photography, and upon his return he studied with Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Gabriel Figueroa (1907–97) at the Instituto Cinematográfico Mexicano, Mexico City. In the 1950s García decided to dedicate himself to still photography, and he worked for periodicals that included Mañana, Siempre!, and Excélsior with a focus on Mexico City’s poor; he published the section ‘F 2.8’ in Excélsior from 1958 to 1960. One of his most devastating images was that of a ragged, barefooted young man squeezed into a foetal position in a wall niche, his home, to avoid the flooded streets. The French Minister of Culture, André Malraux, baptized the image ‘Boy sleeping in a concrete womb’, and described it as ‘One of our time’s cruellest testimonies’....

Article

Erika Billeter

(b Guanajuato, 1852; d Guanajuato, 1930).

Mexican photographer. In 1887 he opened a photographic studio, at a time when Guanajuato, a mining town, was experiencing an unprecedented economic boom that made it one of Mexico’s most important commercial centers. He became the town’s most popular society photographer, recording the aristocracy in their fashionable European clothes, as well as the priesthood, the agricultural laborers, and the miners.

Stylistically and technically traditional, García took all his photographs in the studio, always in front of the same props and in the same lighting conditions. He did not present detail, or suggest internal emotion. His subjects either stood or sat, and always appeared full-figure; they knew that they were appearing in a photograph, and looked appropriately static.

Canales, C. Romualdo García: Un fotografo, una ciudad, una época. Guanajuato, 1980.Billeter, E. Fotografie Lateinamerika. Zurich and Bern, 1981.Images of Mexico: The Contribution of Mexico to 20th Century Art. Edited by ...

Article

Makeda Best

(b Paisley, Scotland, Oct 17, 1821; d Washington, DC, Dec 11, 1882).

American photographer of Scottish birth. Following his father’s death around 1828, Gardner’s family relocated to Glasgow, where he assisted his mother in operating the family grocery business before beginning a jewellery apprenticeship. He worked briefly in banking, managing the Cyldesdale Joint Stock Agricultural and Commercial Company. At the time, the industrial revolution was transforming Glasgow, and civic leaders struggled to mitigate economic and social tensions. Gardner became interested in radical politics, and he and other Scots designed a cooperative community to be located in north-east Iowa. In 1850 he purchased and revived the struggling Socialist-leaning paper, The Glasgow Sentinel. His opinion pieces promoted the paper’s causes such as education and social reforms. Gardner probably planned to immigrate with his family to the United States and join the Iowa cooperative. However, the community dissolved soon after the first settlers arrived, most likely impacted by the emergence of cholera in the region around ...

Article

Isobel Whitelegg

(b Mexico City, 21 March, 1957).

Mexican photographer, also active in Switzerland. She studied visual arts at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (1975–8), where she was taught by Kati Horner, whose expressive photography Garduño cited as a formative influence. After graduation she worked in Horner’s studio (1978–9) before being appointed as darkroom assistant (1979–80) to one of the country’s most celebrated photographers, Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Printing portfolios using silver, platinum and palladium processes, this experience lent her particular expertise in the technical aspects of the medium.

In 1981 she travelled throughout Mexico with a team of photographers led by Marianna Yampolsky (1925–2002), another important figure in modern Mexican photography noted for her images of the country’s indigenous population and rural architecture. The two-year expedition was sponsored by the Instituto Nacional Indigenista and served to produce documentary images of everyday life in the country’s rural villages to be used in educational publications. In ...

Article

Cruz Barceló Cedeño

(b Gorizia, 1934).

Venezuelan photographer of Italian birth. He moved to Venezuela in 1954, working as a photographer of architecture. At the same time he depicted the landscape and the life of the Venezuelan countryside. He was invited to participate in the Fourth Photographic Show in Spilimbergo, Italy, where he won a silver medal. He settled for four years in Cuba, where he worked at the Consejo Nacional de Cultura. His work, based on neo-realism, was influenced by that of Paul Strand, and he was particularly interested in photographing aspects of the social structure. He returned to Venezuela in 1967 and took part in the Venezuelan Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal. He was a founder-member of the Consejo Latinoamericano de Fotografía. Examples of his photography are in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, NY, and in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris....

Article

Canadian partnership of conceptual artists working as performance artists, video artists, photographers and sculptors. It was formed in 1968 by A. A. Bronson [pseud. of Michael Tims] (b Vancouver, 1946), Felix Partz [pseud. of Ron Gabe] (b Winnipeg, 1945) and Jorge Zontal [pseud. of Jorge Saia] (b Parma, Italy, 1944; d Feb 1994). Influenced by semiotics and working in various media, they sought to examine and subvert social structures, taking particular interest in the products of mass culture. Their existence as a group, each with an assumed name, itself undermined the traditional notion of the solitary artist of genius. In 1972 they began publishing a quarterly journal, File, to publicize their current interests and work. In the 1970s they concentrated on beauty parades, starting in 1970 with the 1970 Miss General Idea Pageant, a performance at the Festival of Underground Theatre in Toronto that mocked the clichés surrounding the beauty parade, resulting in the nomination of Miss General Idea ...

Article

Reinhold Misselbeck

(b Berlin, Jan 8, 1869; d New Milford, CT, Aug 9, 1942).

American photographer of German birth. He studied philology at the universities of Berlin and Jena from 1888 to 1894 and spent a year at the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1896 he emigrated to the USA and opened a portrait studio in San Francisco in 1897. He first achieved wide publicity with his photographs of the earthquake of 1906. He won further acclaim with the publication of Pictures of Old Chinatown, a series of photographs taken with the aid of a concealed camera. He also photographed in Japan.

In 1911 Genthe moved to New York, where he established a studio on Fifth Avenue and worked as a freelance photographer for numerous magazines and newspapers, specializing in dance and theatre portraits, such as Isadora Duncan: 24 Studies. His later reputation was founded on his portraits of famous personalities. Among his subjects were Greta Garbo and prominent statesmen such as Fridtjof Nansen and Theodore Roosevelt. In his best works faces emerge mysteriously from the darkness, emphasizing atmosphere at the expense of detail. His autobiography ...

Article

Oldest and largest photography museum in the United States, located in Rochester, NY. Since it opened its doors to the public in November 1949, George Eastman House has played a pivotal role in shaping and expanding the field of American photography. George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company, never knew his home would become a museum; he bequeathed the mansion where he lived from 1905 until 1932 to the University of Rochester to serve as the residence of its president. In 1946 a board of trustees was formed to establish George Eastman House as an independent, non-profit museum, a memorial to Eastman and his advancements in photographic technology.

Working under director Oscar Solbert, a retired US Army general and former Kodak executive, was the museum’s first curator, Beaumont Newhall. Newhall transformed the museum from one primarily concerned with the technical applications of photography to one emphasizing its artistic development. The museum became an international centre of scholarship, and in ...

Article

(b Los Angeles, CA, Jan 16, 1939).

American photographer. In 1956 he joined the navy and in 1957 entered the Naval Training Center in Pensacola, FL, where he studied photography. After his discharge in 1960 he moved to San Francisco where, in the following year, he studied photography at the San Francisco Art Institute. After working as an assistant to Dorothea Lange (1961–2), in 1963 he moved to Los Angeles, where he began work as a freelance photographer. He moved to New York in 1966, and from 1967 to 1969 he assisted Robert Frank on the film Me and My Brother. His photographs of this early period were in a documentary style influenced by Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and William Klein. Starting with The Strip (Los Angeles, 1966), he began to publish his work in book form, though the reception of his first volumes was poor. In 1969 he established a studio in New York and in the same year founded the ...

Article

Martha A. Sandweiss

(b Colorado Springs, CO, April 20, 1891; d Santa Fe, NM, Nov 30, 1979).

American photographer. Although she accepted commercial assignments, such as portraiture and architectural work, she was committed to chronicling the people and land of the Southwest. After studying photography in New York between 1916 and 1918 under Clarence H. White, she returned to Colorado. Through most of the 1920s she followed the romantic soft-focus tradition of her teacher and the pictorialists. In 1931 she was introduced to the Navajo community at Red Rock, AZ, by her lifelong friend Elizabeth Forster. She began to make a lasting document of the land and people that she found around her. Her style changed, her photographs becoming increasingly hard-edged, recording the culture of the Navajo and their relationship to the land in a straightforward, empathetic manner. Two decades of this work culminated in the publication of The Enduring Navaho.

Gilpin distinguished herself from many of her contemporaries by continuing to use platinum printing paper, which gave her prints a rich tonal quality, and by her devotion to landscape photography, a genre pursued by few other women. Her other publications include ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Washington, DC, Sept 12, 1953).

American photographer. Goldin began taking photographs as a teenager in Boston, MA. Her earliest works, black-and-white images of drag queens, were celebrations of the subcultural lifestyle of the community to which she belonged. She has often said of her work that it documents an extended family, a statement testified by the informality and intimacy of her pictures. During a period of study at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, she began displaying her work in the format of a slide-show, a constantly evolving project that acquired the title (appropriated from The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht) The Ballad of Sexual Dependency in 1981. This collection of images had a loose thematic structure and was usually shown with an accompanying sound-track, first in the clubs where many of the images were taken and then within gallery spaces. She carried on with work on The Ballad...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

[González-Torres, Félix]

(b Guaimaro, Cuba, Nov 26, 1957; d New York, Jan 9, 1996).

American sculptor and photographer of Cuban birth. He moved in 1979 to New York, where he completed a BFA in photography at the Pratt Institute (1983) and an MFA at the International Center of Photography, New York University (1987), as well as enrolling in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. In 1987 he joined Group Material, a New York-based group of artists whose intention was to work collaboratively, adhering to principles of cultural activism and community education. His own engagement as a gay man with socio-political issues, as well as his exploration of the way in which politics can infiltrate personal life, forms the background to his work, centred around the interaction of public and private spheres. In 1989 he presented his first stacked-paper work, Untitled (Memorial Day Weekend) and Untitled (Veterans Day Sale), exhibited together as Untitled (Monuments) (L. and R. Plehn priv. col., see ...

Article

Mary Christian

(b Danville, WV, Dec 22, 1941).

American photographer. He was a student of fine arts at Richmond Professional Institute, VA, from 1961 to 1965 and at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he studied with Harry Callahan from 1965 to 1967. From the late 1960s he was also influenced by Frederick Sommer. Gowin’s deeply religious upbringing played an important role in his work. Most of his photographs from the mid-1960s until the early 1980s focus upon his wife and her family in Danville, VA, transforming them into universal symbols of ritual and family relationships. Many of these are deeply personal and almost religious in the powerful symbols they evoke; in Edith, Danville, Virginia, 1971 (see Gowin, 1976, p. 51) his wife is seen, as if clandestinely, in the privacy of a dark bedroom. His occasional use of a lens that vignettes the image into a circle also evoked ideas of a microcosm of the earth or of tourist photographs taken with an early Kodak camera....

Article

W. Iain Mackay

(b Bordeaux, Sept 13, 1907; d Lima, June 4, 1970).

Peruvian painter, teacher and photographer of French birth. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, Lima, under José Sabogal from 1920 before attending the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, in 1924. In 1925 he left to study under Fernand Léger, André Lhôte and Othon Friesz, among others, and he took part in various salons in Paris during the 1930s. His work at this time was influenced particularly by that of Cézanne, Matisse and Braque. In 1937 Grau returned to Peru, becoming one of the first representatives in Latin America of modern European painting, which stood in contrast with the Indigenist style then prevalent in Peru. Grau taught at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima (1942) and was Director of the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes from 1945 to 1949. During this period his palette brightened, and by the 1950s he was showing considerable interest in Surrealism and in the art of such Pre-Columbian cultures as the Nazca and Chimú and particularly the Vicús (of which he had a substantial collection of artefacts). He returned to abstract art in the 1960s, using colour as an independent means of expression. In ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant and Margaret Rose Vendryes

(b Cleveland, OH, 1959).

American printmaker, film maker, installation and conceptual artist and writer.

Green, of African descent, has worked primarily with film-based media, and has published criticism and designed installations that reveal her commitment to ongoing feminist and black empowerment movements. She earned her BA from Wesleyan University in 1981 and also spent some time at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1980, returning in the late 1980s to study in the Whitney Independent Study Program, graduating in 1990. At the age of 24 she began exhibiting her comparative compositions containing found objects, images, and texts that question recorded history.

Green’s work deals with issues of anthropology and travel. By undertaking projects via the methodology of the 19th-century explorer, she exposed the arbitrary and prejudiced nature of classification, as in Bequest (1991; see 1993 exh. cat.), an installation she made at the invitation of the Worcester Museum of Art to commemorate their 50th anniversary. Using the museum as a ready-made stage set, she installed works of art alongside 19th-century texts explaining stereotypes of whiteness and blackness. Green characteristically intervened in the history of her chosen site to produce a fiction that included her own responses as an African American woman to her findings. In ...

Article

Victor Manuel Muñoz Vega

(b Mexico City, Jul 25, 1940).

Mexican photographer, video artist, and filmmaker. She belongs to the first generation of visual artists that used multimedia. Grobet studied Art at the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, at the Cardiff College of Art and the Derby College for Higher Education in the UK, and also at the Multimedia Center of the Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico City. She studied under distinguished artists such as Mathias Goeritz, Gilberto Aceves Navarro, Kati Horna, and wrestler El Santo, el enmascarado de plata (The Silver-masked One).

Grobet used photography as an instrument for her artistic practice. She stated that kinetic art led her to photography, which she believed was best suited for the communicative needs of her time. Subsequently, Grobet developed experimental projects integrated with sensitive documentary record and community intervention strategies. She worked with artistic organizations for the production and dissemination of contemporary art such as Grupo Proceso Pentágono (1978–1990...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Plainfield, NJ, April 24, 1943; d Montpon-Ménestérol, France, Jan 1, 2012).

American photographer and painter. She trained as a painter at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, graduating with a BFA in 1965. She then studied for an MA in Art Education at Ohio State University, graduating in 1970. In the early 1970s she began to take photographs, publishing a book in 1973 that included triptychs taken from a fixed point, showing vehicles travelling across the landscape, for example Emerging Rock/Measure (1973; see 1973 publication, fig.). In the same year she moved to New York, where she continued to make photographic diptychs and triptychs of urban environments, emphasizing the formal composition. In 1976–7 she made a series of over 100 triptychs of the suburban landscape of New Jersey, where she had grown up. It was in the late 1970s that Groover achieved commercial success with her still-life compositions of kitchen objects. These images focused on the elegance of the objects, abstracting their functional quality and highlighting the interplay of shapes and light, in a similar way to Robert Mapplethorpe’s studies of flowers, as in ...

Article

Richard Lorenz

American group of photographers, active 1932–5. It was a loose association of San Francisco Bay Area photographers who articulated and promoted a modern movement in photographic aesthetics. The group was formed in August 1932 by photographers who shared an interest in pure and unmanipulated photography as a means of creative expression. It derived its name from the smallest possible aperture setting on a camera, the use of which resulted in the greatest and sharpest depth of field, producing an image with foreground and background clearly focused. The original membership consisted of Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, John Paul Edwards (1883–1958), Sonya Noskowiak (1900–75), Henry Swift (1891–1960), Willard Van Dyke (1906–86), and Edward Weston. The emphasis on clarity was partly a reaction against the lingering Pictorial photography in West Coast photography, exemplified by the work of William Mortensen (1897–1965) and Anne Brigman (...

Article

Richard Lorenz

(b Breslau, Silesia [now Wrocław, Poland], May 28, 1905; d San Francisco, CA, June 12, 1998).

American photographer and painter. He studied painting at the Staatliche Akademie für Kunst und Kunstgewerbe in Breslau during the mid-1920s with Otto Mueller and from 1927 to 1930 carried out graduate and post-graduate work in Berlin at Humboldt Universität and the Akademie der Künste. Between 1929 and 1932 he taught art at various schools in Berlin and Brandenburg. He began photographing in 1933 and was hired as a photojournalist by Presse-Foto in Berlin. That same year he travelled to San Francisco, which became his permanent home in 1937.

Gutmann viewed America with a fresh and sophisticated photojournalistic style that synthesized social and aesthetic concerns in daringly cropped compositions and juxtaposed forms. His painterly sensibilities drew him to visually stimulating subjects such as graffiti, quirkily painted signs, costumed Mardi Gras revellers and car-bonnet ornaments. He devoted much of his life to teaching at San Francisco State University, where he developed the graduate photography department in ...