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Article

Roy R. Behrens

(b Selyp, Oct 4, 1906; d Cambridge, MA, Dec 29, 2001).

Hungarian designer, painter, photographer, teacher and writer, active also in the USA. After secondary school, he studied painting at the Budapest Academy of Fine Arts (1925–8). Turning to design, photography and filmmaking, he worked in Budapest, then in Berlin, where in 1932 he designed the cover of the first German edition of Film als Kunst by Gestalt psychologist Rudolf Arnheim. He moved to London in 1936 where he joined the studio of fellow Hungarian and former Bauhaus master László Moholy-Nagy. That year he also met his wife, the artist Juliet Appleby (d 1999). In 1937 he followed Moholy-Nagy to Chicago, when the latter was appointed director of the New Bauhaus, which was later re-established as the Institute of Design. Kepes taught and directed the Light and Color Department there for six years. In 1946 he was hired as Professor of Visual Design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where 20 years later he founded the Center for Advanced Visual Studies. A life-long advocate of cross-disciplinary experimentation between the arts and sciences, his influence came about through the publication of a number of innovative books, the first of which, ...

Article

Sandra S. Phillips

[Andor ]

(b Budapest, July 2, 1894; d New York, NY, Sept 27, 1985).

American photographer of Hungarian birth. As a young man he used to wander around Budapest and visit the Ethnographic Museum. At this time Béla Bartók and Zóltan Kodály were rediscovering Hungarian folk music, and Hungarian poets and painters were looking at their ancient vernacular traditions for inspiration. Kertész, who started taking photographs at the age of 12, also tried to reflect these interests, both in his choice of countryside subjects and in the simplicity of his style. Self-taught, he often took his camera with him when he went to visit relatives in the small peasant towns of the Hungarian heartland, the puszta (see Kertész on Kertész, p. 15). He tried to go beyond the mere recording of holiday memories or of the idyllic relationship of the country people to nature; he rather sought out timeless and essential qualities in the ordinary day-to-day events that he saw around him.

From 1912 to 1914...

Article

(b New York, 1928).

American photographer and film maker. After studying for a degree in social sciences at the City College of New York from the age of 14, he joined the army in 1945, a year before graduation, and worked as a cartoonist for the Stars and Stripes newspaper. He moved to Paris in 1948, studying the history of art at the Sorbonne and also briefly studying painting under Fernand Léger. He began producing large geometric abstract paintings, some of which he exhibited in 1952 at the Galleria Il Milione in Milan. A commission to produce similar works mounted on rotating joints led him to photograph them in motion, resulting in a series of blurred abstract photographs (see Heilpern, p. 11). These essentially abstract images, some of which were used as covers for the magazine Domus, fired his interest in photography.

In 1954 Klein returned to the USA to photograph New York for eight months; the resulting book immediately established his reputation and won him the Prix Nadar. Klein’s pictures of the city were neither elegant nor obviously composed; instead he captured the dynamism, violence, and chaos of New York’s streets in grainy and often unusually framed images (...

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

David M. Sokol

(b Okayama, Sept 1, 1893; d Woodstock, NY, May 14, 1953).

American painter, photographer and printmaker of Japanese birth. He arrived in the USA in 1906 and studied at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design from 1907 to 1910. He then moved to New York, studying, in rapid succession, with Robert Henri at the National Academy of Design, at the Independent School of Art and from 1916 to 1920 with Kenneth Hayes Miller at the Art Students League. He supported himself through his later art studies and thereafter as an art photographer. He travelled to Europe in 1925 and again in 1928, settling in Paris, where he studied lithography at the Atelier Desjoubert. After a trip back to Japan in 1931 he worked on the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration during the Depression. Paintings such as Fisherman (1924; New York, MOMA) show both his interest in Surrealism and a blend of his two cultures. His massive forms of the late 1930s and early 1940s, as in ...

Article

Peter Buse

(b Bridgeport, CT, May 7, 1909; d Cambridge, MA, March 1, 1991).

American scientist, inventor, and businessman. It is often said that Edwin Land’s two greatest inventions were instant photography and the Polaroid Corporation. For his part, Land preferred his own coinage, ‘one-step photography’, to the more common ‘instant photography’, and expressed dismay that the accomplishments of the company he co-founded in 1937 were so often reduced to a single product. At first, the word ‘Polaroid’ had nothing to do with photography, but referred to the polarizers that were Land’s first invention. When Land dropped out of Harvard University in 1927, it was in order to set up a private laboratory to synthesize this material, which was applied to, among other things, sunglasses. He never received his college degree but was nonetheless regularly addressed as Dr Land, and held visiting posts at both Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, two institutions within a short walk of Polaroid Corporation at its headquarters in Cambridge, MA....

Article

(b Hoboken, NJ, May 26, 1895; d Marin County, CA, Oct 11, 1965).

American photographer. From 1914 to 1917 she attended the New York Training School for Teachers and there decided to become a photographer, partly influenced by visits to the photographer Arnold Genthe. From 1917 to 1918 she attended a photography course run by Clarence H. White at Columbia University, New York. Lange moved to San Francisco in 1918, and in 1919 she set up a successful portrait studio where she took works such as Clayburgh Children, San Francisco (1924; Oakland, CA, Mus.). In the late 1920s she became dissatisfied with studio work and experimented with landscape and plant photography, although she found the results unsatisfactory. With the Stock Market crash of 1929 Lange decided to look for subjects outside her studio. Turning to the effects of the economic decline she took photographs such as General Strike, San Francisco (1934; Oakland, CA, Mus.). She had her first solo show at the Brockhurst Studio of Willard Van Dyke in Oakland, CA (...

Article

Jack Woody

(b Lake Charles, LA, Aug 14, 1905; d New Orleans, LA, Jan 2, 1985).

American photographer. He spent his early childhood on a plantation in Louisiana before moving to New Orleans in 1910. A self-taught photographer, he began photographing in 1935, influenced by Baudelaire and French Symbolist poets. Initially imitating the objective photography of contemporaries Paul Strand and Edward Weston, he came to believe in the pursuit of his own visions and by 1939 considered his life’s work begun. Laughlin photographed what he came to describe as ‘the third world of photography’, concentrating on the remnants of the ‘Old South’; he produced images of crumbling plantations, graveyards and shadowy figures, visual parallels to novels by such writers as William Faulkner and Carson McCullers. He posed veiled women to represent spirits bearing the weight of history and often used double exposure and contrasts of light and shadow to invest inanimate objects with fearful possibilities, or to increase illusionistic possibilities—as in In the Cage (1940...

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

Samantha Roberts

(b Ottawa, IL, July 21, 1903; d Austin, TX, Aug 28, 1986).

American photographer. He studied chemical engineering at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, from 1917 to 1921. After marrying a painter, Doris Emrick, in 1927 he was inspired to enrol for a painting course at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco (1929–31). From 1931 to 1935 he attended classes run by John Sloan at the Art Students League, New York. He bought his first camera as an aid to his drawing but soon became more interested in the medium of photography. By 1935 he had sold some of his work to magazines.

Upon hearing about the project established by the Resettlement Administration (RA; later Farm Security Administration) to document the rural poverty caused by the Dust Bowl, Lee applied to join the photographic team and worked under Roy Stryker (1893–1975) from 1936 to 1942. He applied his frank, documentary approach in photographs such as Spiro, Oklahoma...

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

Sheryl Conkelton

(b New York, Aug 31, 1913; d New York, March 29, 2009).

American photographer. She studied at the Art Students League in New York. After seeing photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Levitt decided to become a photographer and, using a Leica, began to photograph poor sections of New York. She studied with Walker Evans in 1938–9, working with him in the subways, and through him getting to know Ben Shan and James Agee (1909–55). Levitt worked on several projects whose themes promoted humanist causes. She began to photograph children in the inner city in the 1940s, bringing to her black-and-white photographs a warm humanity. She showed at MOMA, New York, in 1941 and with the encouragement of James Agee began to make 16 mm films. They produced The Quiet One together in 1948 and, with their collaborator Janice Loeb, were nominated for Academy awards. Levitt supported herself as a film editor throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Her 1952 film In The Street...

Article

Anne Blecksmith

(b Kiev, Sept 4, 1919; d Miami, FL, Nov 19, 1999).

American painter, photographer and publishing executive of Ukrainian birth. Raised in England and France, he received a degree in philosophy and mathematics from the Sorbonne in 1930. Connected to the Russian exile community in Paris, he was introduced to artists Aleksandr Yakovlev and Marc Chagall. In 1931, he studied painting with André Lhote and enrolled at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture, where he was a student of Auguste Perret. Later that year, he transferred to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. While studying architecture, he was apprenticed to graphic artist Cassandre through whom he found work at the newsweekly Vu, where he created photomontage covers with Russian Constructivist sensibilities and later rose to art director. At Vu he worked with imagery by pioneers of 35 mm photography Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassaï and Erich Salomon. A prolific photographer since childhood, he enthusiastically identified with the candid documentary style of the 35 mm camera.

Arriving in New York in ...

Article

(b Brooklyn, NY, Dec 16, 1911; d South Salem, NY, Jan 30, 2001).

American photographer. He worked as an advertising and public relations photographer, but from 1955, spurred by his obsessive interest in steam trains, he devoted himself to photographing the trains and workers of the Norfolk and Western Railway, situated mostly in Virginia. He worked generally at night using vast banks of simultaneously triggered flash-bulbs, so allowing him to manipulate the images as desired. The Norfolk and Western was the last railway to change to diesel, and he thus recorded the last days of the steam era in America through a series of striking black-and-white photographs. They were first published in the 1980s.

Link, O. Winston America’s Last Steam Railroad: Steam, Steel and Stars, text by T. Hensley and T. H. Garver (New York, 1987) The Last Steam Railroad in America: From Tidewater to Whitetop, text by T. H. Garver (New York, 1995) Ghost Trains: Railroad Photographs of the 1950s by O. Winston Link...

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

Jack Woody

(b East Orange, NJ, April 15, 1907; d New York, Dec 6, 1955).

American photographer. After a visit to Paris in summer 1925 to meet Gertrude Stein and to pursue his interest in art and literature, he returned there for subsequent summers. He was a self-taught photographer and was inspired to take up photographic portraiture after being given a view-camera. His early subjects included André Gide (1982 exh. cat., no. 4) and Gertrude Stein. Influenced by Man Ray, Lynes began using less conventional methods of lighting and posing and of cropping images. In 1932 his friendship with Julien Levy, the New York art dealer specializing in Surrealist art, led to his first exhibition. Publication of his celebrity portraits in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar created enough interest in his work that in 1933 he was able to open a New York studio. Throughout the 1930s his commercial success in portraiture and as a fashion photographer continued and included a collaboration with George Balanchine’s ...