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Article

Aileen June Wang

(b San Leandro, CA, Feb 3, 1972).

American performance and video artist of Chinese ancestry. Chang earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego in 1994. She showed her first solo exhibition at Jack Tilton Gallery, New York, in 1999. Her body of work focused on how people can be deceived, either through sight—what one sees is not necessarily true—or through mainstream assumptions about such topics as Asia, sexuality, and socially accepted behavior. Chang attributed her past stint in a cybersex company as the catalyst for exploring illusion as a theme. She realized that video flattened three-dimensional, live performances into a stream of two-dimensional images, enabling her to engage in visual deception.

Most of Chang’s early works investigated problems of gender and sexuality, using her own body and elements suggesting violence or transgression. The photograph Fountain (1999) depicted her inside a cubicle of a public lavatory, with a urinal visible on the far wall. Wearing a business suit, she knelt on hands and knees, seemingly kissing herself but actually slurping water off a mirror on the floor. The accompanying video focused on Chang’s face and her passionate interaction with her own reflection. While the photograph suggested female humiliation in a male world, the video complicated matters by implying that the act was motivated by narcissism....

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(Alva)

(b Milan, OH, Feb 11, 1847; d West Orange, NJ, Oct 18, 1931).

American inventor, entrepreneur, film producer and businessman. Edison invented numerous electrically based technologies. His father, Samuel Edison (1804–96), and mother, Nancy Matthews Elliot (1810–71), lived very modestly. Home schooled after he performed poorly in school, his formal educational experience lasted only three months. A shrewd businessman his instinctive abilities combined with his innovative inventions furthered his extensive research. He famously “invented” the first practical incandescent light bulb. Nicknamed the “Wizard of Menlo Park,” he established the first large American industrial research laboratory in Menlo Park, NJ.

Credited with developing predominant technical designs and electrically powered mechanisms for numerous devices, his inventions were instrumental toward the arts. Some principal imaginative, mechanical creations are the phonograph, electrically powered generators, individual home electricity, motion picture cameras and audio recordings. Edison patented his first motion picture camera, the “kinetograph,” and began his foray into film. In 1891 his kinetoscope, which allowed individuals to view short films through a peephole at the top of a cabinet, became highly lucrative. In ...

Article

Lee M. Edwards

(b Waal, Bavaria, May 26, 1849; d Budleigh Salterton, Devon, March 31, 1914).

English painter, illustrator, printmaker, stage designer, film maker, writer and teacher of German birth. He was the only child of Lorenz Herkomer (d 1887), a wood-carver, and Josephine (née Niggl), an accomplished pianist and music teacher. They left Bavaria for the USA in 1851 and lived briefly in Cleveland, OH, before settling in Southampton, England, in 1857.

Herkomer received his first art instruction from his father and from 1864 to 1865 he attended the Southampton School of Art. Later he often criticized the crippling academic methods to which he was exposed as a student. In 1865 he briefly attended the Munich Academy and spent the summer terms of 1866 and 1867 at the South Kensington Art School in London, where he found the teaching ‘aimless and undirected’. With the encouragement of his fellow student Luke Fildes, Herkomer took up black-and-white illustration; his first wood-engraving appeared in Good Words...

Article

Anne K. Swartz

(b Wasco, CA, 1945).

American installation, video and performance artist. The oldest of three children of a father from Tennessee and a mother with a Canadian–Scottish background, Lacy attended Bakersfield Junior College in 1963 and continued her studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. After receiving her BA in Zoology she joined Volunteers in Service Training to America (VISTA), administrated by the Maryland School of Social Design, becoming a community organizer in health care.

In Washington, DC, in 1969, she became radicalized as a feminist. She applied to graduate school at Fresno State University to study psychology. There she encountered Faith Wilding, a graduate student in English, and they began leading consciousness raising sessions. Soon after, artist Judy Chicago arrived from Los Angeles and started the Feminist Art Program; Lacy joined the program with Wilding and made the decision to become an artist (though she did continue to take classes in psychology at the same time). There, she learned to make art from her experience, including performances with other members of the program....

Article

Reena Jana

[Lee Seung-Hee]

(b Kye-Chang, Korea, 1970).

Korean photographer and filmmaker. Lee is known for her self-portraits, in which she presents herself in various ethnic and societal roles, from a middle-aged, low-income Hispanic party hostess to a young, wealthy Asian businesswoman. Lee received her BFA from the Chung-Ang University in South Korea in 1993, an AAS from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in 1996, and an MA in Photography, New York University, 1999. For her Projects series (1997–2001), Lee immersed herself in various American communities for extended time, from a clique of teenage skateboarders to executives who work in midtown Manhattan, informing group members of her status as an artist while assuming the wardrobe, hairstyle and mannerisms of a fictional character she sought to portray. She then asked members of these social groups to photograph her using everyday cameras and no enhanced lighting or backgrounds. The result is a series of snapshot-like images depicting the artist taking on a multitude of temporary personalities. When seen together, the photographs suggest a mosaic of American experiences....

Article

Jeffrey Martin

Medium utilizing oxidized metal particles carried on a flexible substrate, in order to record an electronic signal, most commonly in the form of audiotape or videotape. Magnetic tape is also used in computers for the storage of data, but this usage is unlikely to be encountered in an art conservation context.

Magnetic recording tape generally is made up of a plastic film base (most tapes, including all videotapes, have a base of polyester terephthalate (PET)), coated on one side with a binder system containing oxidized metal particles. Often, recording tape will also have what is known as a backcoating on the reverse side, which reduces friction, dissipates the buildup of static electricity, and allows for the tape to be more evenly wound. Some early audiotapes had paper backing, while others may also have a backing of acetate plastic, which is subject to the same deterioration factors as acetate photographic film, including so-called ‘vinegar syndrome’. The binder layer, the most critical component of the recording tape, usually consists of metal particles suspended in a binder of polyester and polyurethane, although it can contain numerous other chemicals. Different manufacturers have used different binder formulations, and changed them frequently over time. For this reason, some tapes may be more subject to deterioration than others of similar age and format. In the 1980s, manufacturers began to produce tapes with no binder polymer, but instead a very thin layer of metal alloy evaporated onto the tape base, known as ‘metal evaporated’ or ME tapes. The binder system may also contain lubricants designed to minimize friction as the tape passes through a recording or playback device....

Article

Virginie Bobin

(b New York, NY, Nov 20, 1942).

American composer, performer, choreographer, vocalist, filmmaker and visual artist. After graduating from a combined performing arts program at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY, in 1964, Monk joined the Judson Church group, which influenced her use of gestural movements in dance and her denial of the proscenium, already at stake in early pieces such as Juice: A Theater Cantata in 3 Installments (1969), which was performed in the spiraled ramp of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Minor Latham Playhouse at Barnard College and at her own New York loft. She founded her own company in 1968, the House, to explore an interdisciplinary approach to performance and quickly imposed her own style through pioneering site-specific works that established correspondences between dance, cinema, music and theater, and often explored cosmic themes such as spirituality, the quest of identity or the building of a community, as in Vessel, an Opera Epic...

Article

Jeffrey Martin

Medium on which a series of photographic images are recorded on a flexible plastic base in order to produce the illusion of movement when reproduced by projection through a lens or other means. Although ‘film’ has been used by the general public as a catch-all term for any moving image medium, it actually refers specifically to photochemical reproduction.

Three different types of film base have been used in motion picture production. The first, cellulose nitrate, was used from the time it was introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1889, through the early 1950s. Cellulose nitrate was durable, withstood repeated projection, and provided a high-quality image. It was also extremely flammable, requiring careful handling in shipping and storage, and the construction of special fireproof projection booths in theatres. It is always identified by the words ‘Nitrate film’ along one edge. Cellulose acetate film was first made available commercially in 1909, but was inferior in strength to nitrate film, and was not widely adopted for theatrical use. It was, however, used exclusively in smaller-gauge film for home and amateur use by the 1920s. In ...

Article

H. Alexander Rich

(b Honolulu, HI, 1966).

American video artist and sculptor. Pfeiffer exploited the latest in computer and video technology to examine the overwhelming power of mass media. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute (1987) and his Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College in New York (1994). He participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program (1997–8) and, among his many prizes and fellowships, was awarded the Whitney Museum’s Bucksbaum Award (2000).

Pfeiffer was born in Honolulu and grew up primarily in the Philippines but moved to the continental United States to pursue a career as an artist. Although he began producing his art in New York City in 1990, it was not until his breakthrough showing at the 2000 Whitney Museum Biennial that Pfeiffer was officially “discovered” by the art world. Even in his earliest works, he demonstrated a keen eye for the contradictions inherent in a world both dominated by celebrity culture and in which images define the ways people look at and interact with each other. Although photography, video and computers ostensibly connect people and transmit information as directly as possible, Pfeiffer dedicated his art to upturning these faulty assumptions about the veracity of what we see. Again and again, His work reveals his fascination with the ways in which the human image can be conveyed, distorted and fetishized through the mass media....

Article

Christine Filippone

(b Brooklyn, NY, July 29, 1943).

American photographer, video and performance artist, and critic. Rosler attended the Brooklyn Museum School and became involved in Civil Rights and anti-nuclear protests as a teenager. During this time, she saw a number of European films, notably filmmaker Sergey Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (1925) and films by Jean-Luc Godard, as well as productions at the Living Theatre including those by playwright Bertolt Brecht, all of which became important influences for her. She also became part of the avant-garde East Village scene, which included the poet David Antin and the artist Eleanor Antin; through Antin and the poet Jerome Rothenberg she was introduced to the work of Fluxus, including Yoko Ono, and the performances of Carolee Schneemann.

At Brooklyn College, City University of New York, Rosler studied with Jimmy Ernst and attended classes held by Ad(olph Dietrich Friedrich) Reinhardt; she received her BA in English in 1965. In 1968 she moved to San Diego, where she became part of the Southern California feminist movement. In ...

Article

Janet Marstine

(b Woodstown, NJ, Nov 6, 1876; d New York, May 1, 1953).

American painter, illustrator, designer, playwright, and film director. He studied industrial design at the Spring Garden School in Philadelphia from 1888 to 1890. In 1893 he became an illustrator at the Philadelphia Press. Simultaneously he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, where he met Robert Henri, John Sloan, William J. Glackens, and George Luks. Their style of urban realism prompted him to depict the bleak aspects of city life. In 1897 Shinn moved to New York and produced illustrations for several newspapers and magazines, for example Mark Twain (March 1900; see Perlman, p. 80), a frontispiece for The Critic. He also drew sketches for a novel by William Dean Howells on New York; although the novel was not published, Shinn’s drawings brought him national recognition.

Shinn’s work changed radically when, on a trip to Paris in 1901, he was inspired by the theatre scenes of Manet, Degas, and Jean-Louis Forain. He began to paint performers in action, from unusual vantage points, as in ...

Article

Marita Sturken

Culture of images and visuality that creates meaning in our world today. This includes media forms such as photography, film, television, and digital media; art media such as painting, drawing, prints, and installations; architecture and design; comic books and graphic novels; fashion design, and other visual forms including the look of urban life itself. It also encompasses such social realms as art, news, popular culture, advertising and consumerism, politics, law, religion, and science and medicine. The term visual culture also refers to the interdisciplinary academic field of study that aims to study and understand the role that images and visuality play in our society; how images, gazes, and looks make meaning socially, culturally, and politically; how images are integrated with other media; and how visuality shapes power, meaning, and identity in contemporary global culture.

The emergence of the concept of visual culture as a means to think about the role of images in culture and as an academic field of study is a relatively recent phenomenon, emerging in the late 1980s and becoming established by the late 1990s. There were numerous factors that contributed to the idea that images should be understood and analysed across social arenas rather than as separate categories, including the impact of digital media on the circulation of images across social realms, the modern use of images from other social arenas (such as news and advertising) in art, and the cross-referencing of cultural forms displayed in popular culture and art. It was also influenced by the increasingly visible role played by images in political conflict and a general trend toward interdisciplinarity in academia....

Article

Anne K. Swartz

Splinter group from the American, male-dominated Art Workers’ Coalition (AWC), which refused to expand its protests on behalf of minority artists to include women. The Art Workers’ Coalition was a loose collective of progressive artists, filmmakers, writers, critics and museum workers started in January 1969 in New York. They wanted art institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) to restructure, reform and become more politically involved. The artist Takis (b 1925) wanted a work removed from a MOMA exhibition because he didn’t feel it represented his current work. Several artists met to discuss the political and social role of the artists. These meetings evolved into political activism with protests, letters and demonstrations. However, women artists felt increasingly marginalized by the male-dominance of the group and splintered off to form their own collective as Women Artists in Revolutions (WAR). Many women artists had no gallery affiliation, which made museum exhibition more difficult. They were especially annoyed by the Whitney Museum of American Art’s ...