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Rochelle LeGrandsawyer

(b Newark, NJ, June 28, 1955).

African American performance and conceptual artist. Pope.L attended the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn (1973–5), Montclair College (BA 1978) and the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York (1977–8) before earning his MFA from Rutgers University (1981).

As the self-proclaimed “Friendliest Black Artist in America,” Pope.L approached the taboo and divisive subjects of race, sex and class as a comedic provocateur. Well-known Pope.L works, such as Eating the Wall Street Journal (2002) and Selling Mayonnaise for 100 Dollars a Dollop (1990–91), used humor and absurdity to engage socially-loaded subject matter. While Pope.L’s oeuvre spanned multiple media, much of his work took the form of public performance. For example, in The Great White Way: 22 miles, 5 years, 1 street (2002), Pope.L crawled, scooted and dragged himself—in segments over a five year period—through New York City on a 22-mile path from the Statue of Liberty to the Bronx, wearing a Superman costume and a skateboard strapped to his back....

Article

Francis Summers

(b Chicago Heights, IL, 1954).

American painter. She studied at the California Institute for Art and Design, Valencia, in 1972 and 1975–6 and at Cooper Union in New York in 1973. She established herself with paintings that combined text (by turns humorous and scathing) with an expressionistic style, as in Money is Congealed Energy (1989; see Artforum, xxviii, Sept 1989, p. 141). Her work expressed the belief that there was a wide spread hatred and violence towards women, operating on all levels of society, all mutely condoned. With works such as A Funny Thing Happened (1992; see Artforum, xxxi, Nov 1992, p. 72) Williams derided acts of violence with an acerbic nihilistic humour using a post-feminist and post-theoretical, rather than a positivist, discourse. Her painterly technique played on a very conscious formal degeneration and crafted hysteria that used incompetence and anger as an artistic strategy; this was in marked contrast to work produced by feminists before her, such as Judy Chicago or Mary Kelly. In the 1990s, Williams turned from a hard-edged literalism to a pornographic lyricism, as in ...

Article

Kevin Mulhearn

(b Lichfield, Staffordshire, Jan 22, 1941).

South African multimedia artist, art critic, and art historian of English birth. Williamson immigrated to South Africa in 1948. She studied at the Art Students League of New York from 1965 to 1968 and received an Advanced Diploma from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, in 1983. One of South Africa’s most distinguished artists, she has also served a critical role as an interpreter and disseminator of information about the country’s art scene.

Williamson’s work has consistently engaged with South Africa’s social and historical circumstances. In the 1980s she endeavoured to reveal through images the people and ideas that the apartheid regime worked to suppress. In the series A Few South Africans (1983–5), for example, she produced postcard-sized prints of women engaged in the anti-apartheid struggle, such as Winnie Mandela and Helen Joseph, which could circulate at a time when the women themselves were often prohibited from doing so. ...

Article

Camara Dia Holloway

(b Philadelphia, PA, Feb 5, 1948).

American photographer, curator and scholar. Willis was born in North Philadelphia to a hairdresser mother and a policeman father who was an amateur photographer. Within a familial and communal context, Willis learned that photographs could function as powerful statements of African American identity. These ideas were reinforced by reading her family’s copy of the publication The Sweet Flypaper of Life (1955) that featured the photographs of Roy DeCarava, a major African American photographer. She also attended the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition, Harlem on My Mind in 1969. Willis earned a BFA from the Philadelphia College of Art in 1975 and an MFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1979. Inspired by the quilting and storytelling traditions in her family, Willis developed a practice that combined her photographs, family photographs and other elements into autobiographical quilts. Her later works focused more on the female body.

From 1980 to 1992...

Article

Wilson  

Aurélie Verdier

English photographers, video and installation artists. Jane (b Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 6 Jan 1967) and her twin sister Louise initially studied separately, Jane completing her BFA at Newcastle Polytechnic, Louise at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art at Dundee in 1989. They both went on to Goldsmiths’ College in London, where they graduated in 1992. Their first collaborative works made reference to stereotypes associated with twins. Their early films, such as Normapaths (1995; 16 mm film transferred to video), also scrutinized the boundaries between the normal and the pathological. They focused on elements of repression and transgression through a sophisticated and careful composition. The Wilsons’ approach often entailed the production of works from the same elements: the video installation, related photographic stills and props appearing in the film presented as sculptures in their own right. In Normapaths, the setting of the charred kitchen of the video was recreated. Their sensitivity to the darker side of the psyche led them to choose historically charged buildings as settings. The video installation ...

Article

Geraldine Craig

(b Detroit, MI, April 16, 1949).

American sculptor, animation, performance, and installation artist. Wilson was a leading figure among artists who began working in the progressive contemporary craft movement of the 1970s and1980s and gained prominence in the art mainstream by the 1990s. Influenced by the alignment of textiles with feminist art that emerged in the 1970s, Wilson employed the cultural associations of diverse source materials (table linens, bed sheets, human hair, lace, thread, wire, glass) to interrogate how craft and context can define a feminist position in art by subverting the boundaries of middle-class propriety and social values.

An early favoured subject and material for Wilson was human hair. Her internet-based project hairinquiry (1996–9) solicited responses to the questions: ‘How does it feel to lose your hair?’ and ‘What does it mean to cut your hair?’, returned through e-mail, fax, and conventional mail. Her sculptural work Lost (1998) was made by embroidering black human hair onto a used white linen tablecloth that was draped over a chair – the discarded hair treated with transgressive care suggests a powerful residue of memory and life lost. With her installation ...

Article

Tracy Fitzpatrick

(b Bronx, NY, 1954).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual installation artist. Wilson was born in the Bronx, attended the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan, and received his BFA from Purchase College, The State University of New York in 1976.

While at Purchase College, Wilson studied performance art and dance and also served as a guard at the Neuberger Museum of Art. After college, he worked in various capacities at several New York City museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. In 1987, he became the director of the Longwood Arts Project, where he organized “Rooms With a View,” an exhibition for which he borrowed museum experiences, weaving together art objects, display space, and institutional labels to interrogate methods of museum display and the meanings generated therein. This strategy, an Institutional Critique that Wilson referred to as “tromp l’oeil curating,” has emerged as the focus of his artistic practice....

Article

Patricia Hills

(b Roxbury, MA, April 14, 1922).

American sculptor, painter, printmaker and teacher. Raised in Roxbury, a suburb of Boston, Wilson was the second of five children of Reginald and Violet Wilson, immigrants from British Guiana (now the Republic of Guyana). He attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with a full scholarship and received a diploma with highest honors in 1945; a BS degree in art education followed in 1947 from Tufts University. With a fellowship from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, he spent 1947–9 in Paris, where he studied with Fernand Léger. Returning to Boston he taught briefly at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, married Julie Kowitch and moved to Mexico City with a John Hay Whitney Fellowship. There he became friends with Elizabeth Catlett and her husband Francesco Mora, both active in the graphic workshop organized by leftist artists, the Taller de Gráfica Popular, where he worked. In Mexico he learned the techniques of true fresco, which had been popularized by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, and painted the mural, ...

Article

Anne K. Swartz

(b Philadelphia, PA, 1947).

American performance artist. Wilson graduated in 1969 from Wilmington College in Ohio, where she majored in English literature and minored in art. She completed her MA at Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, but left the program in 1971 prior to receiving her PhD and began teaching at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax. She started making language-based art about parents and children, as she explored her experiences as a woman and artist. She transitioned to using performance as a medium, focusing on identity formation beginning in 1972 with works such as Posturing: Drag where she made herself up in different appearances, documenting each in photographs. This work was the first of several in which the artist examined the fluid nature of gender and self, although her work was dismissed by the male-oriented art world. She began receiving recognition when her 1973 postcard image and text work Breast Forms Permutated...

Article

(b London, May 24, 1953).

English sculptor. He studied at the London College of Printing (1970–71) and the Hornsey College of Art (1971–4) and at Reading University (MFA, 1974–6). In 1983 Wilson joined with Paul Burwell and Anne Bean to form Bow Gamelan, an ensemble that staged sound and sculpture events in the UK and Europe. The use of free-form and percussion and spontaneous assemblage of found-objects influenced Wilson’s later ambitious projects. These included One Piece at a Time (1987), a Television South West arts project, in which 1200 car parts were suspended by cords in the north tower of the Tyne Bridge at Newcastle upon Tyne, which fell in sequence over five weeks as the cords were cut mechanically; the noise of the crashing pieces was recorded and played back cumulatively each day. In 1987 Wilson created 20:50 (installed Matt’s Gal., London, 1987; Saatchi Col., London, 1991...

Article

Patti Stuckler

(b Waco, TX, Oct 4, 1941).

American performance artist, writer, draughtsman, printmaker and stage designer. He studied painting in Paris under the American painter George McNeil (b 1908) in 1962, before completing a degree in interior design at the Pratt Institute in New York from 1962 to 1965. After serving an apprenticeship in architecture to Paolo Soleri in Phoenix, AZ, from 1965 to 1966, he returned to New York and began to work as a performance artist, creating a range of theatrical productions that combine music, text, dance and design. He earned his reputation with productions such as Deafman Glance (first staged in 1970 at the University Theater in Iowa City, IA) and A Letter to Queen Victoria (première at the Teatro Caio Melisso in Spoleto, Italy, and extensively toured in 1974); many of these were large-scale, marathon extravaganzas in which a series of images, formed from the conjunction of actors, dancers and set designs, unfolded to the accompaniment of music. Abandoning traditional theatrical elements such as ordered narrative content and the compression of real time, he favoured an avant-garde approach influenced by composers, choreographers and artists active in New York from the early 1960s....

Article

Francis Summers

(b London, 17th April 1963).

English sculptor and photographer. She studied in London at Central St Martins School of Art and Chelsea School of Art, completing her studies in 1987. Her work uses the photographic in a sculptural manner, in that the photograph becomes a kind of object. Her Seamen I (1991; see 1994 exh. cat.), for example, is a composite of floor sculpture and photography. Spreading across the floor in an ejaculative gesture, the work consists of a number of cropped photographs of erect penises taken from pornographic magazines, placed under glass. Having the effect of making each member solitary and isolated from its original body, these penises seem exposed, needing protection. Her Two Points of Speech in Sight (1993; see 1994 exh. cat.) continues her work in using photography to analyse the body and sexuality. Existing as two tiny photographs placed in elaborate poured plaster frames, the photographs resemble eyes, yet on closer examination turn out to be clenched mouths. Confusing vision with orality, Wiltshire metaphorically places the bodily drives in the act of seeing. Her ...

Article

Cecile Johnson

[ Jackie ; Jacque ]

(b St John’s, Nfld, Oct 20, 1941).

American sculptor and draughtswoman of Canadian birth. She studied at the Yale Summer School of Art and Music, New Haven, CT (1964) and at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston (1965), before attending Rutgers State University of New Jersey (MFA 1967). Winsor emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of an informal group of sculptors (including Eva Hesse and Bruce Nauman), whose work went under such labels as process art, ‘anti-form’, and ‘eccentric abstraction’. The unifying aspect of these individuals’ works lay in their development from the specific, object-based and non-referential works of Minimalist sculptors such as Donald Judd to include such reference sources as metaphor, allegory or simile. Winsor consistently used such geometric forms as the cube and sphere, and she interrelated process with appearance: Chunk Piece (1970; priv. col.), for example, consists of a rope (d. 915 mm) with frayed ends, wound from a linear form into a solid mass by the process of its making (see figs. ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b New York, June 1, 1949).

American painter. He studied at the Pratt Institute, New York, where he was awarded his BFA in 1971. Often grouped with Post-modern abstractionists, he retained a strong modernist sensibility. Although his first works were tonally restricted monochromes, Winters was always interested in the context surrounding the nature of painting: he conducted research into the origin of pigments and made botanical studies. His first mature works were those that addressed botanical subjects. An early example is Fungus (1982; London, Saatchi Gal.), in which the plants are painted as if they were elements of a loose chart or index. Rather than being a topographical study, the forms are rendered in a simple, almost crude manner, reminiscent of the late paintings of Philip Guston. Combining a hierarchy of forms with a concern for mark-making, Winters created a fusion of painterly tradition with a Post-modern practice of repetition and figuration.

In later paintings Winters drew on a range of sources, such as architectural renderings, medical photographs, and computer graphics, folding and layering the subject-matter in such a complex manner that the picture conveyed an abstract imaginary space. In pictures such as ...

Article

Sarah Lack

(b Glasgow, March 31, 1958).

Scottish painter, draughtsman and printmaker. He studied architecture and painting at the Glasgow School of Art (1979–83) and held his first solo exhibitions in Glasgow and London in 1984. His large-scale figurative paintings contextualized by neon, drawing, print, collage and wallpaper are dominated by self-parody and a reflective tone. Weeds in Landscape (oil on canvas, 1989), which depicts a standing male figure looking over the artist’s shoulder, represents the ever-present critic or critical faculty; the artist is never free from subjectivity. In 1990 he introduced the clear colour and unbroken line of neon to his paintings. Gentlemen’s Club (oil on canvas and neon, 1990) shows one man beating another with a club while the neon pun, ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ gleams in pure pink italics beside them. Like the neon, his draughtsmanship displays great clarity and economy of line. The work of Matisse has been a major inspiration to Wiszniewski; ...

Article

Mary M. Tinti

(b Warsaw, April 14, 1943).

Polish designer and installation artist, active also in the USA . Wodiczko received his MFA in Industrial Design from the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, in 1968. He came to the United States by way of Canada, and in 1991 joined the ranks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he became Director of the Center for Art, Culture, and Technology (formerly the Center for Advanced Visual Studies) and head of the Interrogative Design Group.

Concerned with the social and philosophical implications behind notions of democracy, memory, trauma, testimony, nomadism, immigration, alienation, and marginalization, Wodiczko’s body of work grew to include interactive instruments, site strategic slide and video projections, and monuments to shared histories and recollections. Through his art, Wodiczko literally and metaphorically gave voice to those who could not speak or, for certain political or personal reasons, could not be heard.

In 1980 he began his public projection series of large-scale images on real-world architectural backdrops (to which he added sound and movement in the mid-1990s). By overlaying his phantom images on the actual edifice of a public building, Wodiczko asked audiences to consider how public sites signify—or fail to convey—important contemporary truths. His projections became increasingly more collaborative, and by ...

Article

Temma Balducci

American journal found in 1980. Woman’s Art Journal was founded in 1980 in Knoxville, TN, by the art historian Elsa Honig Fine and has been published biannually in May and November since that time. The inspiration for the journal came in part because other journals devoted to women and women’s art that had been started in the 1970s, such as Feminist Art Journal and Womanart, had ceased publication for various reasons despite their important contributions to the feminist art movement.

In its first issue, Fine indicated Woman’s Art Journal’s dual focus on “recording a hidden heritage” and the “reinterpretation of art history from our new awareness as women.” The first several issues of the journal fully reflect these areas of concentration. For example, women artists and critics, some of whom were well known and others hardly at all, had essays devoted to their work: Josephine Hopper, Anna Jameson, Louise Nevelson, Anna Mary Robertson Moses, and Katarzyna Kobro. Essays on broader issues important to women and women artists in these early issues focused on themes such as sexuality and maternity in the late 19th century, the use of nature as image and metaphor, and domestic madness in American art and poetry. Neither did the journal avoid controversial topics, devoting part of its second issue to Judy Chicago’s ...

Article

[Feminist artistic collaboration]

Feminist artistic collaboration grew out of the consciousness-raising practices that began in the late 1960s and the feminist education processes initiated in the 1970s. Conceiving of art as creative social action, women artists and non-artists came together to organize protests, to enact performances, to plan and build visual arts monuments and to found institutions that embodied, and continue to embody, what New York painter Miriam Schapiro called ‘the gold of sisterhood’. Because so many of the feminist collaborations of the late 20th century have been grassroots-initiated projects, and because the both the art market and the dominant art historical discourse continue to favour individual male genius over group efforts, this essay is by force partial and fragmentary. Nonetheless even this partial account reveals the remarkably exciting and innovative nature of feminist artistic collaboration.

Feminist art was instrumental in the inception of Post-modernism. Indeed, American critic Craig Owens suggests that feminist practice may be one of the most significant developments leading to post-modern art. Citing J. F. Lyotard’s assertion that ‘Postmodern knowledge…refines our sensitivity to differences and increases our tolerance of incommensurability’, Owens argues that feminism first and most consistently critiqued the cultural constructions of difference. In addition, post-modern artists challenged both the modernist authority of the art object and the modernist separation of the aesthetic from the rest of life. Critic Lucy Lippard notes that by the end of the 1960s, many artists were ‘unfettered by object status.’ The dematerialization of art led to practices involving art as concept and art as action. Lippard writes: ‘With the public introduction of younger women artists in to Conceptual art, a number of new subjects and approaches appeared: narrative, role-playing, guise and disguise, body and beauty issues; a focus on fragmentation, interrelationships, autobiography, performance, daily life, and, of course, on feminist politics.’ She asserts that cooperative galleries, activist artists’ organizations and several of the collaborative groups discussed herein emerged at much the same time, as more and more artists were ‘freed from the tyranny of a commodity status and market-orientation.’ Art based on interrelationships, interactive performances and political engagement, art generated by co-operative groups, activist organizations—all of these are predicated on collaboration. Collaboration was central in the feminist art project, a project that continues to produce vital and important art today....

Article

Marsha Meskimmon

[Transnational feminism]

The concept of ‘transnational feminism’ is concerned with challenging the essentializing force of mainstream Western feminism and re-evaluating the significance of differences between women on a global scale. The term serves as a broad heading that includes much of the scholarly research and political activism that has occurred in the late 20th century and early 21st. Some of these challenges have been in the form of scathing critiques of liberal feminism’s ability to reinforce the power of white, middle-class, Western women over women of colour and women in the so-called ‘developing’ world, even though they speak the language of universal sisterhood. Other transnational feminist perspectives are more positive in their assessment of the possibility of coalitions emerging between women, even where these collectives will need to be founded across differential access to resources in a globalized world. In every case, transnational feminism asks searching questions concerning the relationships between gender, identity and the geopolitical field....

Article

Whitney Chadwick

The subject ‘women artists’ continues to pose art historical and methodological challenges. Linda Nochlin’s pioneering essay, ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ (1972), both illuminated the extent to which artistic ‘genius’ is a cultural rather than innate category and served as a cautionary tale for scholars in search of a new historical lineage. As Griselda Pollock and others would later argue, separating artists by sex in a history in which ‘artist’ has come to mean male unless qualified by the adjective ‘woman’, risks perpetuating the distinction that has often assigned women artists secondary status in an art historical narrative in which art was, with few exceptions, produced by men and the image of woman transformed into one of possession and consumption. While the category ‘woman artist’ remains an unstable one—its meanings largely fixed in relation to dominant masculine paradigms of art and femininity—women artists continue to challenge and renegotiate the categories produced and defined for them in hegemonic cultures. At the same, feminism itself continues to undergo revision becoming more inclusive and diversified in its approaches. Today a topical approach, even as it risks universalizing women artists as a category, may nevertheless be among the best ways of making available the results of new historical research and analyses that highlight the workings of gender in the career trajectories of male and female artists, in their access to institutions of training and patronage, and in the interpretation and understanding of visual culture in all its forms. New theorizations of female subjectivity demand new readings of women’s artistic practices and historical significance. There remains an ongoing need to document women’s unique contributions in areas of patronage, collaborative practice, photography and new media in a concise and widely available format. In addition, contemporary issues are reshaping our understanding of women’s roles in a larger culture reshaped by transnationalism, diaspora, cultural and sexual diversity, and a globalizing world. In the end, the advantages of expanding access to the history of women’s engagement in the processes through which visual culture is produced, evaluated and consumed appear to more than offset the potential pitfalls....