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Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Guildford, June 7, 1967).

British sculptor and conceptual artist. For his 1991 MFA show at the Royal College of Art in London, he showed a single work: a blue ceramic English Heritage plaque affixed to the wall of an otherwise empty studio and bearing the text ‘Borough of Kensington Gavin Turk Sculptor Worked Here 1989–91’. For this iconoclastic gesture he was denied his degree. Beginning his career paradoxically with his own demise and posthumous recognition set the tone for his subsequent work, which dealt with the cult of personality and the construction of artistic myth. A key aspect of this is his questioning of originality and artistic tradition. Robert Morris Untitled 1965–72 (1990; London, priv. col.), consisting of four mirror cubes each 0.76 m high, replicates a minimalist sculpture by the American artist Robert Morris. Turk’s version, however, introduces colouring and tarnishing to suggest ageing. By suggesting the effects of time, the formalist principles and quest for perfection of the original are criticized....

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Ulverston, Cumbria, Aug 23, 1969).

English installation artist and conceptual artist. He studied at Carlisle College of Art (1989–90) and University of Brighton (1990–93). In the mid-1990s he began exhibiting work that was notionally the product of proposals and specifications derived from what he called the Artmachine, a computerized system of rules and processes conceived of as a repository of all human knowledge. One such project, part of a series called Bastardised Artmachine Iterations, was called Pringle Portrait Pack for a Replenishable Totem Stack (1997; see 1999 exh. cat.): consisting of a makeshift totem pole bearing random portraits, it was described by Tyson as an approximation of the Artmachine’s proposal for something endless. As interested in science and technology as in art, Tyson produced art in a spirit of experimentation, devising systems and projects so grandiose that they become comical. This was most clearly exemplified in the series Studio Wall Drawings...

Article

Susan T. Goodman

(b Tel Aviv, 1939).

Israeli sculptor, painter, draughtsman, printmaker and conceptual artist. He studied at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem and in 1965 at Central School for Arts and Crafts in London. After painting abstract pictures in an expressionist technique he began to make etchings and (from the early 1970s) drawings. He also became involved in land art and conceptual art projects, some of them politically oriented, such as the Messer-Metzer Project in 1972, which involved an exchange of earth between an Arab village and an Israeli kibbutz. On some of these projects he collaborated with other artists, among them Moshe Gershuni and Avital Geva.

From 1978 Ullman evoked graves, archaeological excavations or trenches both in drawings and in sculptures in earth such as Lot’s Wife (1984), a six-foot deep pit dug in Har Sedom, Israel. As Israel’s representative at the Venice Biennale in 1980 he showed a large work, the ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Château-Arnoux-Saint-Anbon, 20 April, 1941).

French conceptual artist . With no formal art education, Venet began making his first serious work while doing military service, painting with his feet using materials such as tar and bodily fluids. Considering these works too expressive, Venet began to apply the tar to his surfaces in a much more systematic and objective fashion, as in his Gourdon (1963; see 1999 book, p. 33). Impressed by other artists working in the Nouveaux Réalisme style, Venet made works, such as Relief Carton (1964; Grenoble; Grenoble Mus.) that used discarded industrial material, such as flattened cardboard. Having visited New York and been influenced by the prevalent Minimalist style, Venet began using pre-fabricated materials in an unadulterated fashion as in Tubes (1966; see 1999 book, p. 90). Venet moved to New York in 1967, producing conceptual art that used systems, often based on ideas from science, such as his diagram work ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Ostend, Oct 3, 1948).

Belgian sculptor and photographer. He was a poet until 1974, when he began to work with black-and-white photography. His earliest images emerged from a conceptualist framework and addressed questions about representation which surfaced in relation to self-portraiture and the nude. Both these subjects continued to be important to him: in the series Portrait of the Artist by Himself (1984; see 1993 exh. cat., pp. 5–7) he posed in front of an abstract, geometric backdrop, gesticulating obscurely and carrying a makeshift mask in front of his face, as a way of continuing the paradoxical themes of absence that he had explored in his earlier self-portraits; in the series Lucretia (1983; see 1989 exh. cat., pp. 22–35) he presented a mythological subject through a series of photographs in which a nude describes elements of the narrative by means of gestures. Vercruysse is perhaps better known for his sculpture, in which he explored similar themes of absence and lack of meaning through the use of cultural archetypes, an approach which has led to comparisons with René Magritte. The series ...

Article

Adrian Locke

(b La Plata, 1927; d La Plata, 1997).

Argentine conceptualist artist.He studied at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes of the Universidad Nacional de la Plata before moving to Paris (1953–4), where he befriended the Venezuelan artist Jesús Soto. Until the end of the 1950s Vigo’s work centred around heterodox objects, graduating to the construction of his máquinas inútiles (‘useless objects’) by 1957. To this end Vigo has been seen as the precursor of visual poetry and concept art, especially with his Señalmientos (‘Designations’). Vigo was active in the founding and publication of various art journals, including W.C. (which produced five editions); D.R.K.W. 60 (three editions); Diagonal cero in 1964 (28 editions); and Hexágono (13 editions). In 1967 he published Baroque Mathematical Poems in Paris. In 1969 Vigo organized the Exposición Internacional de Novísima Poesía/69 at the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella of Buenos Aires, a multi-media show involving artists from around the world. In 1970...

Article

Eva Meyer-Hermann

(b Fulda, July 22, 1939).

German sculptor and conceptual artist. He studied at the Werkkunstschule, Offenbach (1957–9), and at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Frankfurt (1959–61). By the end of the 1950s he was already breaking away from a naturalistic style and creating works that emphasized process and materials over form, such as cross-hatched drawings and composite sculptures. From 1962 to 1964 he attended the Staatliche Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf, under Karl-Otto Götz, where he was influenced by Art informel. In the 58 works from his First Movement series of 1963–9 (versions in Bonn, Städt. Kstmus., and New York, Dia A. Found.), he defined a new concept wherein the artwork was no longer autonomous but was ‘completed’ by interaction with the viewer. The participant was invited to don variously shaped and stitched linen ‘instruments’ and place part or all of their physical selves within the perimeters of the object. Between 1967 and ...

Article

Ewa Mikina

(b Volhynia, Oct 10, 1938).

Polish performance artist and conceptual artist. He studied at the Faculty of Architecture at Kraków Technical University from 1956 to 1962 and at the Academy of Fine Arts, Kraków (1964–5). After 1969 he produced at intervals powerful linear semi-abstract paintings resembling three-dimensional projections on to a plane. His first performance, Poetic Quarter Hour with Piano and Record Player (1967; Kraków), based on an improvised poetic recitation, was transformed into verbal-jazz improvisations featuring Tomasz Stańko (1967–8). In the early 1970s Warpechowski produced a number of conceptual works bordering on performance art (e.g. a clock encased in a block of plaster of Paris, a blank tape-measure, a bookbinding press with an empty plate, darkness enclosed in the palms of hands). The performances of the 1970s, such as Liberation of Pure Usefulness (1974), were inspired by Daoist philosophy and dealt with ideas, reality and nothingness, whereas his understanding of the creative process stemmed from the European Romantic tradition. After ...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Holyoke, MA, Feb 12, 1943).

American photographer, video artist, conceptual artist, sculptor, draughtsman and painter . He studied painting at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA (BFA 1965), and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (MFA 1967). During these years he produced Minimalist sculptures and paintings. In the early 1970s he used video and photography, primarily as a means of documenting such conceptual works as Untied On Tied Off (1972), a photograph of the artist’s feet with one shoe on, untied, the other with the shoe tied to his ankle. These documents gave way to photographs that took on greater artistic qualities in terms of composition and technique, while he continued to use concepts and approaches seen in the earlier pieces (particularly irony, humour and satire on both popular culture and the high culture of contemporary art). He was most well known in the 1970s for his photographic and video works featuring his Weimaraner dog, Man Ray. By ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b New York, Feb 10, 1942).

American conceptual artist. Self-taught as an artist, he achieved international recognition for text-based works that arose from his sculptural and painterly experiments of the 1960s. In an early work of this decade, The Stone on the Table (destr.; see Alberro, p. 39), consisting of a limestone block placed on a simple wooden table, Weiner rejected the privilege attached to traditional artisan skills. Such a reappraisal of the relationship between artist and materials was paralleled by a challenge to traditionally privileged relationships between artist and audience. In 1968 he made the first of many books, Statements, which contained 24 terse typewritten descriptions of works only some of which had actually been produced, implying that their realization was entirely dependent on audience subjectivity. From this time Weiner concentrated on language as a material, presenting it as a sculptural object central to his practice. His varied and flexible methods of distribution demonstrate his concern to reach a wide audience, breaching cultural and social barriers. This dissemination has taken the form of posters, books, wall texts, graffiti, videotapes, LPs, compact discs, and (in ...

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Beijing, May 13, 1957; official birthdate Aug 28, 1957).

Chinese conceptual artist, curator and architect. Son of the poet Ai Qing (Jiang Haicheng) (1910–96). For 25 years Ai Weiwei was consistently one of the most innovative figures in China’s art world. He helped direct the course of Chinese art, not only through his own artistic production, but also through his curatorial, editorial and design projects, and his encouragement of younger artists.

In 1978 Ai Weiwei enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy. His public career as an artist began when he participated in the first Stars group show (1979), an unofficial exhibition hung prominently on a fence next to the National Art Gallery in Beijing. Because the exhibition—and the heavy-handed reaction of the police—drew the attention of foreign reporters, the Stars gained fame as China’s first well-known post-Cultural Revolution dissident artists.

In 1981 Ai Weiwei moved to the USA where he lived mostly in New York, returning to Beijing in 1993. While in New York he studied briefly at the Parsons School of Design and the Art Students League and was exposed to original works by artists who proved to be important influences: Jasper Johns, Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol. As a result he began experimenting with the concept of the ready-made, a process that continues throughout his subsequent work. Characteristic of his early works, ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b London, Aug 17, 1943).

English conceptual artist and sculptor. He studied at Ealing School of Art (1962–3), began editing and publishing Control Magazine in 1965 and in 1972–3 was Director of the Centre for Behavioural Art in London. Consistently interested in art as an intervention in social patterns and identities, Willats frequently grounded his work in research-based projects. His early art, however, was more object-based. Light Modulator No. 2 (1962; see 1979–80 exh. cat., p. 13), for example, was a project for an outdoor public sculpture made of moving vertical panels, perspex and painted wood, through which people would pass and interact. Willats soon developed these more phenomenological and behavioural concerns into sets of problems concerned with social interaction and cognition. Another early work, Meta Filter (1973; Lyon, Mus. St Pierre A. Contemp.), demonstrates this: a very large installation organized around a large computer, it invites two participants to seek agreement over the meanings of a set of images and statements. Throughout his career Willats continued to design similar interactive projects aimed at encapsulating problems of social conflict. Often his exhibitions evolved out of complex research-based initiatives and extensive collaboration with the public. ...

Article

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

Morgan Falconer

(b Fukuoka, 1959).

Japanese sculptor. He studied at Musashino Art University, Tokyo, and completed a fellowship in sculpture at Yale University, New Haven, CT, in 1990. Initially Yanagi was influenced by the Minimalist and Conceptualist orientation of the Japanese Monoha movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s; soon after he became known for a series of performances using coloured gas. He rose to international prominence in the 1990s following the success of a number of seminal installations that employed ants as metaphors for global migration. In the Wandering Position series (begun in 1989) Yanagi used chalk to trace out the path of an ant as it moved about a circumscribed area. The World Flag Ant Farm (1990; first exh. Venice Biennale, 1993; see 1996 exh. cat., p. 37) elaborated on his ideas through an installation that comprised a complex of wall-mounted plexiglass boxes filled with coloured sand depicting a number of national flags. He added ants to the boxes, allowing them to crawl around and move the sand from one box to another via transparent tubes, thus progressively destroying the integrity of the flags. Yanagi’s interest in the nation state developed throughout the 1990s to encompass other themes, including ideology, nationalism and the construction of cultural difference. In ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Andorno Micca, nr Biella, Piedmont, Sept 21, 1944).

Italian sculptor, performance artist and conceptual artist . He studied painting and sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Turin (1963–70) and held his first one-man show at the Galleria Sperone, Turin, in 1967. Use of such non-artistic materials as the scaffolding and foam of Chair (1967; New York, Sonnabend Gal.) ensured his inclusion in Arte Povera (1968; Bologna, Gal. de Foscherari) and performance at Arte Povera—azioni povere (1968; Amalfi, Arsenale). Zorio’s characteristic pieces rejected sculptural weight and solidity by use of cantilevers or suspension and reactions over time or with the environment. Several incorporated light; Phosphorescent Fist (1971; Paris, Pompidou) was lit and plunged into darkness, alternatively absorbing and emitting and absorbing energy, being lit and then unlit.

In common with his friend Giovanni Anselmo, Zorio raised linguistic problems, as in Odio (‘Hatred’), axed into a wall at Documenta 5, Kassel (1972), but his concern with energy led to experiments with both chemical and physical instability. He initiated gradual chemical reactions in his materials, which continued beyond the period of making, and used Olympic javelins to provide cantilevers; when combined with fragile, glass vessels or with the emblematic form of the five-pointed star (e.g. ...