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Article

Judi Freeman

(b Argentan, Orne, Feb 4, 1881; d Gif-sur-Yvette, Seine-et-Oise, Aug 17, 1955).

French painter, draughtsman, illustrator, printmaker, stage designer, film maker, and ceramicist. Among the most prominent artists in Paris in the first half of the 20th century, he was prolific in many media and articulated a consistent position on the role of art in society in his many lectures and writings. His mature work underwent many changes, from a Cubist-derived abstraction in the 1910s to a distinctive realist imagery in the 1950s. Léger attracted numerous students to his various schools, and his ideas and philosophy were disseminated by modern artists throughout Europe and the Americas.

Born in rural Normandy, Léger often said that he was of ‘peasant stock’. Although his father was a cattle merchant, Léger was sent by his family to Caen in 1897 to be an apprentice in an architect’s office, where he remained until 1899. In 1900 he went to Paris and again worked in an architect’s office as a draughtsman. After compulsory military service in ...

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

Diana Nemiroff

(b Dublin, Oct 6, 1935).

Canadian sculptor and video maker of Irish birth. He studied art at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London before emigrating to Canada in 1958. In 1964 he moved permanently to New York. An important precursor of conceptual art and a self-styled ‘media sculptor’, he became known in the 1960s for his environments and for his ‘Disposables’: cheap, vacuum-formed plastic reliefs of commonplace objects produced in multiples. His most notable environment was Slipcover (1966), a silvery, reflective plastic slipcover for an entire gallery at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, which also incorporated delayed playback sound and a constantly changing play of light and images. Works like these, using the techniques and materials of modern technology, earned him the nickname ‘Plastic man’, but his concerns were more with processes than materials. His interest in communications and with the art world as a system led to ironic commentaries that took such varied forms as a consulting service for artists, an underground newspaper and a closed-circuit TV sculpture that recorded its viewers....

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Halifax, Yorks, 1964).

English video artist. She studied Fine Art at Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic (1984–7). Lloyd is most recognized for video art which blends the performative, the theatrical and the documentary, yet in her earliest work she brought these qualities to other media. She first worked with photo-collage, and in 1993 produced a purely text-based piece for the mail art project Imprint 93, entitled E1, which documented a series of random encounters she had had with strangers. Following this she began to produce the real-time video pieces for which she is best known. Picture This (1993) is typical of the ways in which the early video pieces documented bodily activity: here the focus is the torso of a woman dancing to a record. Her work in the late 1990s elaborated on this form, using non-actors to perform sometimes banal, sometimes theatrical activities for a static camera. Maddy and Kate...

Article

Daniel E. Mader

(b New York, Jan 7, 1953).

American painter, draughtsman, sculptor, video artist, and performance artist. He received his BFA (1975) from the State University College in Buffalo, NY, with a professed ambition to reach the largest possible audience. Living this prophetic statement throughout his more than 30-year career, Longo first achieved fame in the 1980s with a series of large-scale drawings in charcoal and graphite entitled Men in the Cities (New York, Metro Pictures). These images were life-size human figures in isolation or in groups, wherein the power struggles created a menacing atmosphere.

During the late 1980s he was increasingly involved with film, directing Arena Brains (30 minutes, 1988) and later Johnny Mnemonic with Keanu Reeves (98 minutes, 1995). A regular international exhibitor, often using both controversial and intimidating scale, he exhibited a 1993 drawing series Bodyhammers: The Cult of the Gun (New York, Metro Pictures; Salzburg, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac). He exhibited in the Venice Biennale (...

Article

Anne K. Swartz

(b Bucyrus, OH, 1944).

American video and installation artist. Raised in Ohio, Lucier focused on myths about America, looking at landscape as well as rodeos. She received a BA with honors in English and American Literature from Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, in 1965. She emerged first with sculpture, photography and performance, before focusing on video as her main medium. Her works are meditative with beautiful, elegant images. One of her major early works is Dawn Burn (1975), which shows seven consecutive sunrises in New York City over the East River on seven channels and shown on seven monitors, each one successively larger and encased in an ascending vertical structure. The installation shape recalls the sun rising, with the bottom frame of the image aligned with the horizon line. The light from the sun actually burned the tube in the recording camera, scarring the camera and the images. The intersection of technology and nature calls forth references about both through the relationship Lucier draws between them. Though she has worked in single-channel formats, she usually utilized multi-channel, multi-monitor forms....

Article

(b Berne, Feb 16, 1929).

Swiss sculptor, film maker and writer. Initially he worked in stone and wood but later turned to iron. His exhibits at the first Swiss open-air sculpture exhibition in Biel in 1954 earned him official selection for the Venice Biennale of 1956. His work then developed through series and such recurring themes as Aggression and Searchlights. His use of animal metaphor became established in Bulldogs (1963–4), Elephants (1964–6) and Giraffes (1968), which reflected the sense of humour also found in Sapperlot, his autobiography, which he executed (as he did his numerous films) in collaboration with the photographer Leonardo Bezzola (b 1929). In heavy industrial machinery Luginbühl discovered the ‘poetics’ of the scrap heap: he endowed giant blades and fins, components of turbines, massive girders and bolts with a slow but inexorable movement. Cyclops (1967; Hamburg, Ksthalle), Pegasus (1966–8), Atlas and ...

Article

Roger Horrocks

[Huai, Leonard Charles]

(b Christchurch, July 5, 1901; d New York, May 15, 1980).

American film maker, sculptor, and painter of New Zealand birth. He began work in New Zealand, then moved to Australia, Samoa, and England (where he settled in 1926). Tusalava (1929) was the first of his 24 films. He pioneered various methods of ‘direct’ film making, eliminating the camera by painting directly on to clear film (Colour Box, 1935), developing the ‘rayogram’ technique (Colour Cry, 1952) and scratching black film (Free Radicals, 1958). He experimented with colour processing in Rainbow Dance (1936) and Trade Tattoo (1937).

The batiks (e.g. Polynesian Connection, 1928) and oil paintings (e.g. Jam Session, 1936; both New Plymouth, NZ, Govett-Brewster A.G.) that Lye exhibited with the Seven and Five Society (1927–34) and in the International Surrealist Exhibition (1936) were influenced by his profound study of tribal art. In 1944...

Article

Sonia de Laforcade

(b Scalea, Cosenza, May 20, 1942).

Brazilian printmaker, draughtsman, installation artist, film maker, and sculptor of Italian birth. Maiolino moved to Brazil in April of 1960, after having spent six years in Caracas, Venezuela, where her family had emigrated from Italy. In 1961 she took a woodcut course with the prominent artist and teacher Ivan Serpa at the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro, before enrolling the next year at the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes, an important centre of woodcut art overseen by the printmaker Oswaldo Goeldi. There, Maiolino studied alongside Rubens Gerchman (1942–2008) and Antônio Dias, and together with these artists she was a key participant in the Brazilian New Figuration movement. Influenced by popular woodcuts from the north-east of Brazil, Maiolino’s woodcuts produced during the 1960s explored quotidian themes, often focusing on mass culture and the domestic sphere, as in Glu... Glu... Glu... (1967). In 1965 she began a parallel exploration of these themes in works made with found objects and upholstery. She contributed to two key exhibitions for Brazilian art in the 1960s, ...

Article

Jennie Carlisle

(b Colobane, Jan 1945; d Paris, July 23, 1998).

Senegalese film maker. Over the course of his brief career Mambety developed a body of work remarkable for its poetic sensibility and narrative complexities. His films register many of the same concerns as his West African film-making contemporaries Ousmane Sembene and Souleymane Cissé (b 1940), namely, the friction between tradition and modernity, the corruption and bad faith of neo-colonialism, and the inheritance of capitalist modernity by West African societies. Thus his films can similarly be understood in the critical context of Third Cinema. His work uniquely eschews a readily identifiable political perspective in favour of highlighting the ambiguities of life in Senegal. Mambety likened his role as a film maker to a griot: a storyteller and visionary actively shaping the future through imagination and wisdom. Essential to this role was a commitment to challenging the public through experimentation at the level of film form and content.

Raised by a Muslim cleric in the Lebou community of Colobane, Mambety turned his attention to film after acting as a teenager with the Théâtre national Daniel-Sorano in Dakar. Though self-taught, he began his career to critical acclaim with the short films ...

Article

Susan Snodgrass

(b Madrid, Spain, 1961).

Chicago-based American sculptor also working in photography, video and installation. He received a BA in art and art history and a BA in Latin American and Spanish literature from Williams College in 1983. In 1989 he earned a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Manglano-Ovalle’s hybrid practice emerged with Tele-vecindario: A Street-Level Video Block Party, a public art project created for Culture in Action, a community-based art program in Chicago in 1992–3. Working with Latino youth in Chicago’s West Town community, an area often challenged by substandard housing, drugs and gang violence, the artist facilitated a multimedia portrait of their lives in which these youth constructed their own images and concept of self. Issues of identity, community and migration, as they relate to both cultural and geographic borders, have been explored throughout his prestigious career that includes collaborative modes of working, as well as individual works sited within the museum or gallery. For Manglano-Ovalle, culture encompasses a broad network of systems—artistic, political, environmental, scientific—in constant dialogue, negotiated by both artist and viewer....

Article

Dennis Raverty

(b Birmingham, AL, Oct 17, 1955).

African American painter, writer, film production designer, and multimedia installation artist. Marshall’s works portray idealized subjects derived from African American experience in large-scale, multiple-figure paintings and installations that share many characteristics with European history painting in the “grand manner” of Peter Paul Rubens, Benjamin West, Jacques-Louis David, and the 19th-century academic tradition. This “high culture” Euro-American tradition is juxtaposed with elements of African American vernacular culture in order to reinsert African American subjects and aesthetics into the larger mainstream of America’s artistic and cultural history—a history from which, the artist believes, blacks have been largely excluded.

Marshall was born in Birmingham, AL, one of the most segregated cities in the United States at that time, and the site of civil rights demonstrations in the early 1960s. He moved with his parents in 1963 to Nickerson Gardens public housing project in Watts, CA, just a few years before the riots there. Consequently, the struggles of the civil rights movement profoundly affected him and are a major theme in his mature work....

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b London, Oct 9, 1969).

English film maker and video artist. McQueen became interested in film while a student at Goldsmiths’ College, London. On graduating in 1993 he spent a year studying film at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York, but was disenchanted by the lack of experimentation that it promoted. From his first major film, Bear (1993; see 1999 ICA exh. cat., p. 13), exhibited at the Royal College of Art in 1994, McQueen achieved swift success on an international stage with a body of formally very distinctive work. His black-and-white silent films, in which he often appears, are characterized by their visual economy and by the highly controlled environment in which they are projected. This minimalist and anti-narrative approach has been seen as an alienation technique, underlining McQueen’s exploration of formal film language as well as popular cinematic convention. He cites, among others, the influence of the French New Wave, as well as the films of Andy Warhol and the contemporary American film maker Sadie Benning. In ...

Article

Anis Farooqi

(b Kapadvanj, Gujarat, July 26, 1925; d Mumbai, July 2, 2009).

Indian painter, sculptor and film maker. He studied painting from 1947 to 1952 at the Sir Jamshetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art, Bombay, where he became acquainted with akbar Padamsee and was a close associate of the painters in the Progressive Artists’ Group. In 1954 he visited London and Paris for four months, then returned to India to devote himself to painting and sculpture. He took part in several group exhibitions and held his first solo exhibition of drawings, paintings and sculptures at the Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay, in 1959. From 1959 to 1965 he lived and worked in London, exhibiting his paintings at the Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford (1962), among other locations. From 1965 to 1968 he lived in Delhi and in 1968 visited New York on a fellowship from the J. D. Rockefeller III Fund. By that time he was an acknowledged figure in contemporary Indian art. His paintings of the 1970s include ...

Article

Susan S. Weininger

(b Havana, Nov 18, 1948; d New York, Sept 8, 1985).

American sculptor, performance artist, video artist, and painter of Cuban birth. From the age of 13, when she was sent to the USA from Cuba by her parents, she lived in orphanages and foster homes in Iowa. Her sense of exile and the separation from her family proved strong motivating forces on her later work. After completing an MA in painting at the University of Iowa in 1972, she entered the university’s new Multimedia and Video Art programme, in which she was free to experiment and develop a unique formal language, gaining an MFA in 1977.

In the 1970s Mendieta began to create ‘earth-body sculptures’ outdoors in Iowa, using the primal materials of blood, earth, fire, and water, having first executed performances that she documented in photographs or black-and-white films. In the Silueta series she traced or sculpted the image of her body on the ground, using ignited gunpowder, leaves, grass, mud, stones, other natural elements, or cloth; ...

Article

Monica Majoli

(b Shreveport, LA, 1948).

American painter, photographer, and video artist. Minter received her MFA from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, in 1972. She produced a series of paintings from the late 1970s that mined the banal quotidian in virtuosic, conceptually driven photorealistic oil paintings featuring affectless expanses of grey linoleum floor as a backdrop for plywood, aluminium foil, and coffee stains in nearly abstract compositions. By 1989 Minter began using her signature imagery of the female body severely cropped, often for erotic effect, either using hardcore pornography as source material or eliciting references to pornographic imagery as a subtext in self-staged photographic shoots. A master of surface and illusion, Minter’s enamel paintings on aluminum belie their photographic source material, created at first hand by Minter and reconfigured in Photoshop from as many as 20 or 30 darkroom negatives. Idiosyncratically, the final layer of sticky enamel paint is finessed by fingertip to obscure brush marks—the fingerprints are revealed on close observation. Insisting on the triumph of the body over its image in this overt indexical trace, Minter restated the tactile nature of painting itself just as she used photography to capture her subject and shock her spectator. The Baroque period is cited as a historical precursor of Minter’s oeuvre, revelling as it does in passion over rationality, shimmering, gilded excess, and monumental compositional undulations reminiscent of flesh itself and its urges. Like painters of the 17th century, Minter also employed a studio of artists who assisted her in creating all facets of her production, a system of making she employed from ...

Article

Matthias Ulrich

(b Lubin, Poland, Sept 11, 1967).

Polish draughtsman, sculptor, video, performance, and mixed media artist, active in the USA. She grew up in Sweden, where she studied Communications at Schillerska/Gothenburg University in Gothenburg from 1986 to 1987. After moving to New York, Mir earned her BFA for Media Arts at the School of Visual Arts in 1992, and from 1994 to 1996 she studied Cultural Anthropology at the New School for Social Research.

Mir’s practice as an artist refers to popular culture in general, focusing on images and ideas that influence and represent social reality, and investigating popular myths and technologies such as the cinematographic representation of images. The journey to the moon, for example, symbolizing the dominance of the United States during the Cold War, receives through Mir’s appropriation in First Woman on the Moon (1999) a critical reflection, taking into consideration patriarchal power structures as well as the apparent staging of reality through mass media. In her work ...

Article

(b New York, May 27, 1944).

American sculptor, draughtsman, film maker, and environmental artist. As a child she was taken by her father on many visits to early forts, Native American sites, and abandoned mines. In Stuttgart with her family she saw the remains of demolished buildings as well as medieval towns and castle ruins, which left a strong impression. She studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara (BA, 1966), and at the Rhine Art School of Sculpture, Maryland Art Institute, Baltimore (MFA, 1968). On a summer sculpture course at Colorado College, Colorado Springs (1963), she became aware of the work of John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, and Robert Morris, and of ideas initiated by contemporary Minimalist sculptors and land artists. Her early landscape works dealt primarily with the measurement of distances in relation to a specific location in a temporal work: for example, Untitled (wood, 12×6 ft [3.66×1.83 m] sections at 50 ft [15.25 m] intervals, ...

Article

Karen Kurczynski

(b Saugerties, NY, Jan 18, 1942).

American performance and video artist and spiritual practitioner. Montano was raised a Roman Catholic and briefly entered a convent as a teenager in 1960–62. She went on to practice a mixture of Catholicism, yoga and Zen Buddhism in direct relationship to her artistic works, which explore breaking down the boundary between art and everyday life through ritual. She earned an MA in sculpture from Villa Schifanoia, Florence, in 1966 and an MFA at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1969.

Montano is known for her endurance performances. Her early performances in the 1970s involved blindfolding herself for weeks at a time, handcuffing herself to other people, and performing as her alter-ego “Chicken Woman.” She began making video art as an extension of her performances. The video Mitchell’s Death (1977) was based on a performance, with live music by the composer Pauline Oliveros and musician Al Rossi, in which she relates the story of the sudden death of her husband, Mitchell Payne. The video features an extreme close-up of Montano chanting while she inserts acupuncture needles into her face. The ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

revised by Jennifer Way

(b Tokyo, Feb 21, 1967).

Japanese photographer, video artist, performance artist, sculptor, installation artist and painter. Mori studied fashion at the Bunka Fashion Institute in Tokyo from 1986 to 1988 and worked part-time as a model before moving to London to study at the Shaw School of Art (1988–9) and the Chelsea College of Art (1989–92), where she earned a BFA. In New York she participated in the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1992–3). In 1994 Mori returned to Tokyo and began making large digital photographs and videos in which she appears as a ‘shaman, mermaid, cyber-geisha and visitor from the future’ (Johnson, p. 56). Subsequently, she assembled teams of stylists, photographers, computer imagists, sound technicians and fabricators along with musicians and scientists to create immersive multimedia installations consisting of digital photography, music, video, cinematic spatial effects, abstract biomorphic sculptural forms, paintings and scent, engaging users and responding to data and environmental stimuli. She exhibited her art in biennale exhibitions throughout the world, for example, in Singapore, Venice, Shanghai, Sydney, Kwangju, Istanbul and Lyon. From ...