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Article

Carol Magee

(b Dec 8, 1956).

Ethiopian painter, installation artist, graphic designer, and writer, active in the USA. She grew up in Addis Ababa in a family of painters before moving to the USA. She graduated from Howard University, Washington, DC, with a BFA in painting (1975) and returned in 1994 for an MFA. Her early works, based on dreams or visions, have richly textured surfaces. In the 1980s she abandoned her early palette of reds, ochres, and greens for one of purples and blues. Later paintings depict an urban environment and frequently evoke the feeling of dislocation and nostalgia that comes from living in a country that is not one’s own. Her use of themes and motifs from myriad cultures (including those of Ethiopia and Latin America) comes out of her experiences as a diasporic subject as well as the lives of the women around her. Her pieces often tell their stories, as in the Dream Dancers series (...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Vila Nova de Gaia, Jan 17, 1923; d 2002).

Portuguese painter, graphic artist, critic and art administrator . In 1947 he was a founder-member of the Grupo Surrealista de Lisboa, with which he exhibited in 1949. By 1952 he was one of the few remaining members of the original group still involved in Surrealism. That year he held a large exhibition with two other artists, showing Occultations, photographs in which parts of the images were masked by overpainting. At the time he was more interested in the process of image-making, in the unconscious genesis of images and their internal rhythms, than in the result as an aesthetic object. From the mid-1950s, Azevedo’s paintings were almost entirely abstract and gestural, with greater overt affinities to lyrical abstraction than to automatism, for example Painting (1961; Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian). While in smaller works he often returned to the Surrealist use of collaged photographs introducing an element of shock or surprise, in his paintings there is an overriding interest in morphological dissolution and mutation, which remains lyrical rather than violent....

Article

(b Brooklyn, NY, Nov 4, 1940).

American graphic designer, installation artist and design educator. De Bretteville attended Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, NY, and was included in the school’s Art Squad by teacher and artist Leon Friend, who submitted his students’ work to national competitions. She received a prestigious Alex Award, named after the designer Alex Steinweiss, also a former member of the Art Squad. She received a BA in art history from Barnard College, New York in 1962 and received her MFA in the graphic design program at Yale University’s School of Art in 1964. She joined the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and founded the first design programme for women in 1970. In 1981 she founded the communication design programme at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles (now the Otis College of Art and Design), which was at the time affiliated with the Parsons School of Design in New York. In ...

Article

Cecilia Suárez

(b Quito, Sept 8, 1939).

Ecuadorean painter, graphic designer, sculptor, installation artist, architect and teacher. He studied architecture at the Universidad Nacional de Bogotá, Colombia. He worked for the Graham Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC, and received a grant to attend the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, where he worked with György Kepes. Later he became a professor at the arts faculty of the Universidad Central, Quito. Bueno worked first in graphic design before going on to experiment with the incorporation of technology into art, using laser beams, mechanical pumps, plastic, glass and such elements as water, fire and air, for example in 49 Tubes, exhibited at the Bienal de Arte Coltejer in Medellín in 1972. He also combined visual art with music in such works as Flame Orchards, with music by Paul Earls, which won joint first prize with Kepes in the same exhibition. Exploration into ecological and environmental art led him to experiment with the idea of an aerial view of the urban landscape incorporating military camouflage sheets....

Article

Horacio Safons

(b Buenos Aires, Jan 14, 1915; d Barcelona, Oct 14, 1965).

Argentine painter, sculptor, performance artist, conceptual artist, poet and illustrator. After studying in Buenos Aires at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes and with Cecilia Marcovich and Tomás Maldonado, he quickly established a reputation for his scandalous views, attracting extreme disapproval and equally strong support. After delivering a lecture at the Juan Cristóbal bookshop, Buenos Aires, entitled ‘Alberto Greco y los pájaros’ he was briefly imprisoned for his ‘Communism and subversive acts’. On his release in the same year he travelled to Paris on a French government grant, selling drawings and watercolours in the cafés and studying painting with Fernand Léger and printmaking with Johnny Friedlaender. Between 1956 and 1958 he lived in São Paulo, where he became aware of Art informel; he painted in this style in the late 1950s and early 1960s (Glusberg, pp. 284–5).

As early as 1959, when he had returned from São Paulo to Buenos Aires, Greco had expressed his corrosive vision of society through the form of his work. In his shows he exhibited tree trunks and rags for cleaning window gratings or floors. He moved again to Paris in ...

Article

M. N. Sokolov

(Iosifovich)

(b Dnepropetrovsk [now Dnipropetrivs’k], Sept 30, 1933).

Russian graphic, conceptual, and installation artist of Ukrainian birth. In 1957 he graduated from Surikov Art Institute in Moscow, where he specialized as an illustrator. Many years of producing artwork for children’s literature, for the Moscow Detskaya Literatura and Malysh publishing houses and the magazines Murzilka and Vesyolyye kartinki, partly shaped his slyly ironic graphic style; working as an illustrator was his only means of earning a living when avant-garde experimentation was officially banned. After experimenting with Abstract Expressionism and an absurd neo-Surrealist grotesque style, in 1970–78 he produced distinctive albums that, through a subtle interplay of visual and verbal elements, reveal disturbing existential contradictions. Best known is the album Okno (‘The window’), published in 1985 in Berne. Since 1978 Kabakov’s art has become more conceptual and he has created what he calls zhek picture displays (from the acronym ZhEK, referring to housing management), which parody wall newspapers and Soviet posters. These works are typical of ...

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

Isabelle Monod-Fontaine

(b Paris, Feb 18, 1885; d Paris, May 5, 1954).

French sculptor, collagist, printmaker and illustrator. He came from a family of coopers and c. 1899 joined the studio of a sculptor of building ornaments, practising direct carving on building sites and studying academic drawings in the evenings. In 1902 he settled in the Montmartre district of Paris, where in 1905 he met Marthe Duverger, whom he later married. His portrait of Marthe and other early works, most of which were later destroyed or lost, followed the example of Auguste Rodin. In spite of working in difficult and isolated conditions from 1905 to 1911, he managed to free himself from the influence of Rodin and other contemporary artists and began to study French Romanesque and Gothic sculpture, both from reproductions and by travelling around the Ile-de-France. After one of his legs was amputated in 1909, he lived briefly in the artists’ studio complex La Ruche in Montparnasse; on his return to Montmartre in ...

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

(b Newark, NJ, April 10, 1938).

American painter, printmaker, and conceptual artist. She wanted to become an artist from an early age. She studied graphic art at the Pratt Institute, New York (1956–8), and painting and comparative literature at Boston University (1958–60). Steir noted her teachers Richard Lindner and Philip Guston and her studies of Voltaire and Leibniz as highly influential on her work. Her wide visual vocabulary stems from her foundation in graphics and illustration at Pratt. In the early 1960s she worked as a freelance book-cover designer, and as art director at publishers Harper & Row, New York (1965–9), simultaneously pursuing her own painting. Her first mature works were exhibited in solo shows at the Graham Gallery and Paley & Lowe, New York (1972). They are characterized by grids, informalized colour or tonal charts and scales, painterly marks, letters, numbers, signs, and the rendering of such simple motifs as birds, shells, flowers, mountains, and clouds. In the late 1970s Steir was on the board of the feminist magazines ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Lakewood, Ohio, 1930; d Paris, May 7, 2014).

American painter, sculptor and conceptual artist. Although notoriously reluctant to reveal biographical details including her date or place of birth, she went on record as having studied at a remarkable number of institutions including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Students’ League in New York, the University of Iowa, the University of Zurich and Columbia University in New York. She quickly rose to notoriety in the late 1960s for her appropriation of famous images by contemporary Pop artists. Her choice of artistic models was carefully made, as the Pop artists had themselves mimicked the appearance of found objects and ready-made images from advertising, commercial art and photography. One of her first such works was a copy of Jasper Johns’s Flag exhibited at a group exhibition in 1965; in 1966 she held a solo exhibition consisting entirely of reproductions of screenprinted paintings from Andy Warhol’s ...

Article

Janet Koplos

(b Fuefuki, Yamanashi Prefecture, Jan 2, 1969).

Japanese sculptor and installation artist. A Tokyo-based graphic-design graduate of Tama Art University, Tokyo (1992), Suda briefly worked in the design field. Exposed to wood-carving in art school, he began to use both traditional Japanese techniques and those of his own devising and to present his work in unconventional installations.

Suda replicated and interpreted flowers and other plants in fine-grained magnolia wood through realistic, life-size carving and painting. The artist, raised in the countryside, came to this subject after moving to the mega-metropolis of Tokyo. He favoured familiar plants and also selected motifs according to the flora around museum venues. The magnolia – in the form of a blossom, bud, seed pod, twig, or leaf – was a frequent motif and was featured in exhibitions at D’Amelio Terras Gallery (2000) and the Asia Society (2010) in New York City and at the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu (...

Article

Karel Srp

(b Prague, Dec 13, 1900; d Prague, Oct 1, 1951).

Bohemian critic, theorist, collagist and typographer. He was one of the founders of Devětsil (1920–31) and was the spokesman and theorist of the Czechoslovak Surrealist group (1934–51), inviting André Breton and Paul Eluard to Prague in 1935. His early works were influenced by Cubism. During the 1920s and 1930s he was an enthusiastic typographer, while in the 1940s he devoted himself primarily to making Surrealist collages, concentrating in particular on the female nude. As a theorist he was active from 1920, becoming the spokesman of his generation and its main interpreter, editing the journals Disk (1923, 1925) and ReD (Revue Devětsilu; 1927–31). At first interested in utopian prototypes, he developed an interest in Constructivism after a visit to Paris in 1923. In the late 1920s he became an internationally acknowledged theorist of modern architecture. He delivered a cycle of lectures at the Bauhaus on the sociology of architecture (...

Article

Grischka Petri

(b Leverkusen, nr Cologne, Oct 14, 1932; d Berlin, April 3, 1998).

German painter, sculptor, décollagist, composer, video artist, and performance artist. He was one of the fathers of the European Happening movement. Vostell studied typography, lithography, and painting in Cologne, Wuppertal, Paris, and Düsseldorf (1950–58). In 1959 he married Mercedes Guardado Olivenza in Cáceres, Spain. Early in his career he discovered Décollage , a technique of cutting, tearing away or otherwise removing pieces of an image. His spelling of the term, dé-coll/age, underlined the term’s dialectical implications of destruction and creation. In the 1960s he worked with chemicals to transfer the process to photography, video, and film, turning it into an all-encompassing strategy of image deconstruction, often within the iconographic framework of violence and sexuality as communicated by mass media.

Vostell’s combined décollage with car parts and television sets, being one of the first artists using such a device as part of a sculpture in 1958. In 1962 he joined the ...