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Article

Margo Machida

(b New York, Aug 16, 1949).

American printmaker and installation artist. Born and raised in New York City, Arai, a third-generation Japanese American printmaker, mixed-media artist, public artist and cultural activist, studied art at the Philadelphia College of Art and The Printmaking Workshop in New York. Since the 1970s, her diverse projects have ranged from individual works to large-scale public commissions (see Public art in the 21st century). She has designed permanent public works, including an interior mural commemorating the African burial ground in lower Manhattan and an outdoor mural for Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Other works include Wall of Respect for Women (1974), a mural on New York’s Lower East Side, which was a collaboration between Arai and women from the local community. Her art has been exhibited in such venues as the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, International Center for Photography, P.S.1 Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, all New York and the Library of Congress, Washington, DC. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and Joan Mitchell Foundation....

Article

Bazaar  

Mohammad Gharipour

Bazaar, which is rooted in Middle Persian wāzār and Armenian vačaṟ, has acquired three different meanings: the market as a whole, a market day, and the marketplace. The bazaar as a place is an assemblage of workshops and stores where various goods and services are offered.

Primitive forms of shops and trade centres existed in early civilizations in the Near East, such as Sialk, Tepe in Kashan, Çatal Hüyük, Jerico, and Susa. After the 4th millennium BC, the population grew and villages gradually joined together to shape new cities, resulting in trade even with the remote areas as well as the acceleration of the population in towns. The advancement of trade and accumulation of wealth necessitated the creation of trade centres. Trade, and consequently marketplaces, worked as the main driving force in connecting separate civilizations, while fostering a division of labour, the diffusion of technological innovations, methods of intercultural communication, political and economic management, and techniques of farming and industrial production....

Article

Xu Bing  

Melissa Chiu

(b Chongqing, 1955).

Chinese installation artist . Xu Bing spent much of his childhood in Beijing where his parents were professors at Beijing University. He said that being surrounded by books during this formative period in his life gave him an intense interest in them. Xu studied printmaking at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (1987). One of Xu’s most memorable early works is Tian Shu ( A Book from the Sky , 1987–91), which was created during the 1985 New Wave Movement in China—a period of new-found freedom for artistic experimentation. Tian Shu consisted of reams of paper printed with Chinese characters, each one in some way incorrect, so that the cumulative effect is a library of nonsensical words. The labour needed to create this art work was substantial, taking the artist nearly four years to complete carving the individual characters into woodblocks. The reams of printed paper were exhibited in three different ways: as traditional hand-bound books, suspended large scrolls, and wall posters. ...

Article

Lee Bul  

Joan Kee

(b Yongwol, Kangwon Province, Jan 25, 1964).

Korean mixed media and performance artist. Lee studied sculpture at Hongik University in Seoul. Upon graduation Lee staged performance-based works in venues throughout Seoul and Tokyo during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Many of these performances concerned the subject of the human body and deployed the strategy of masquerade to parody and hyperbolize masculine representations of women. At this time Lee also began creating sculptural installations that marked the beginning of her long-standing use of such non-traditional materials as resin, sequins, foam, and rubber. Such materials were often used for their symbolic associations as well as their formal properties.

From around 1996, Lee moved towards an exploration of the imagined body. The references that Lee drew upon became increasingly abstract, although she consistently maintained her interest in exploring the role of formal qualities, such as colour, scale, and texture, in producing meaning. Lee moved from works such as I Need You/Hydra...

Article

Klaus Ottmann

(b Detroit, MI, May 10, 1932; d Cairo, Egypt, June 23, 1997).

American sculptor, performance artist, and installation artist. Byars spent his formative years in Japan (1958–68) where he learnt to appreciate the ephemeral as a valued quality in art and embrace the ceremonial as a continuing mode in his life and work. He adapted the highly sensual, abstract, and symbolic practices found in Japanese Noh theatre and Shinto rituals to Western science, art, and philosophy. One of his most important works of that period is Untitled Object (Runcible) (1962–4), also known as The Performable Square, a 46 cm cube consisting of 1000 sheets of white flax paper that unfold into a 15×15 m white plane divided by 32 parallel strips connected at the top with paper hinges. It was first exhibited, folded, in 1964 at the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, in the centre of the museum floor, placed on a sheet of glass, but not ‘performed’ (i.e. unfolded) until 14 years later, in ...

Article

Mary M. Tinti

(b Houston, TX, 1951).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual artist. His multimedia works investigate the pathology of contemporary culture. Mel Chin was born and raised in Houston, Texas to parents of Chinese birth and received his BA in 1975 from the Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. The works in Chin’s oeuvre are diverse in both medium and subject, but a consistent undercurrent of social, political, and environmental responsibility runs throughout. Whether a sculpture, film, video game, installation, public project or earthwork, Chin’s artworks consistently targeted a broad spectrum of pressing cultural and ecological interests and spread their message in subtle, if not viral ways.

In the 1980s, Chin produced a number of sculptures that set the stage for his ever-evocative artistic journey. The Extraction of Plenty from What Remains: 1823 (1988–9) is a frequently referenced piece from this period. It is a symbolic encapsulation of the effects of the Monroe Doctrine, referencing the complicated dealings between the US (represented by truncated replicas of White House columns) and Central America (represented by a cornucopia of mahogany branches, woven banana-tree fiber, and a surface layer of hardened blood, mud, and coffee grinds). From the 1990s, however, Chin moved away from strictly gallery-based installations and began creating works that directly engaged contemporary culture in a variety of physical and theoretical landscapes....

Article

Margo Machida

Asian American mixed-media and installation artist and cultural activist. Ken Chu came to the United States from Hong Kong in 1971, settling in California where he received a BFA in film studies from San Francisco Art Institute (1986). Relocating to New York City after graduation, his encounters with local Asian American artists, activists and cultural organizations supported his artistic efforts, in which he often drew upon subjects that emerged organically from personal experience in the US as a gay Asian man. Adopting popular cultural idioms from film and comics, while also drawing upon symbols and motifs from Chinese and other Asian cultures, his imagery from this pivotal period featured Asian men cast as prototypically American masculine figures, such as California surfers and cowboys, who populate colorful, imaginary scenarios of cross-cultural contact, mixing and desire. In Western societies, where the dominant norms are non-Asian and few viable role models for Asian men exist, Chu’s art strongly asserted their collective presence and place. His socially inspired work has since also engaged matters of anti-Asian violence, internalized racism, stereotyping, homophobia and the impact of AIDS on Asian diasporic communities....

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Beijing, Dec 6, 1966).

Chinese performance, video and installation artist . Song studied painting at Capital Normal University, Beijing (1985–9), after which he was a middle school art teacher, until his exhibition schedule grew too demanding. Like his wife Yin Xiuzhen , Song abandoned painting in favour of installation and performance art soon after graduating. In 1994 his first exhibition of works in these media was shut down after half an hour.

A consistent theme in Song’s oeuvre has been the fleeting nature of existence and the negligible trace an individual leaves in the world. As a metaphorical expression of this theme, from 1995 he wrote diary entries on a stone slab using a brush dipped in water as an ongoing performance, Writing Diary with Water. For Printing on Water (1996), he stamped the Lhasa River repeatedly with a stamp carved with the Chinese character for water. Neither action left a permanent mark, despite the energy invested in them. One of his best-known works, ...

Article

Alexandra Chang

Artists’ collective founded in 1982 by Bing Lee, Eric Chan (b 1975), Chung Kang Lok, Jerry Kwan (1934–2008), Ming Fay (b 1943) and Kwok, under the guiding principle of collaboration. Lee had also founded the Visual Arts Society in Hong Kong prior to Epoxy. While the original members had come to New York City’s downtown arts scene from Hong Kong, the collective ranged from four to eleven members and included artists from China, Canada and elsewhere, such as Zhang Hongtu (b 1943) and Andrew Culver (b 1953).

The group’s name originates from the epoxy resin gluing agent in which two different substances are blended to generate a third substance, which binds. The members felt that through collaboration, they could create projects that were singular to neither one nor the other member, and also suggest East and West cross-cultures. The group often worked with mixed-media, photocopied images, sound installation and projection, and dealt with topics concerning politics and religion....

Article

Melissa Chiu

(b Quanzhou, Dec 8, 1957).

Chinese installation artist. Cai studied at the Shanghai Theatre Academy, completing his degree in stage design in 1985. He is best known for ephemeral, large-scale explosion-works using gunpowder—a medium he began to experiment with in China and often explained as a childhood reference to witnessing skirmishes between China and Taiwan along what was known as the Fujian Front.

In the 1980s, he applied gunpowder to canvas, which he then lit to create bold, charred designs. When Cai emigrated to Japan in 1986, he began to use gunpowder for environmental installations. Since 1989 he called these works Projects for Extraterrestrials. Cai believed that most explosions visible from space have been related to war, and that his work sends a non-violent message. A good example is The Horizon from the Pan Pacific: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 14 (1994), executed off the coast of Iwaki, a small town in Japan, where Cai installed a 5000-metre trail of gunpowder in the ocean that illuminated the horizon. The work evoked the experience of living in this small fishing village, where the ocean is a central part of everyday life. Such a conceptually charged, yet rudimentary application of gunpowder, characterizes Cai’s works created in Japan....

Article

Yasuyoshi Saito

[Haireddo Senta]

Japanese group of installation artists founded in 1963 and active until 1964. The group’s name comprised a translation of the first part of each founder’s surname: ‘Taka’ from Jirō Takamatsu, ‘Aka’ from Genpei Akasegawa (1937–2014) and ‘Naka’ from Natsuyuki Nakanishi (b 1935). The group attempted to draw attention to their neo-Dadaist ideas through the staging of public installations and performances. In the Dairoku ji mikisa keikaku (‘The sixth blender plan’) exhibition at the Miyata Clinic, Shinbashi, Tokyo (1963), for example, Nakanishi covered himself in metal clothes-pegs. The Shieruta puran (‘Shelter plan’) event in the Teikoku Hotel, Tokyo (1964), involved the creation of personalized nuclear fall-out shelters by the group’s members. Hi-Red Center also produced a number of pamphlets in addition to their other activities.

Tokuhō! Tsūshin eisei wa nanimono ni tsukawareteiru ka! [News flash! Can anyone use the information satellite!] (Tokyo, 1964)...

Article

Rachel K. Ward

(b Gifu, 1966).

Japanese electronic composer and sound artist, active also in France. He is best known for composing reductionist sounds of extreme frequencies, employing sine waves, electronic sounds, and white noise; these are often presented as ambient soundscapes in immersive installations made of light and/or projected visualizations of data. Ikeda originally trained in Japan as an economist. He began composing music in the 1990s, focusing on Minimalism with a curiosity for the duality of mathematics, specifically the binary patterns of 0s and 1s of digital software. His compositions continued the investigations of John Cage and Morton Feldman in exploring the potential differences between tones. Ikeda’s initial albums were +/- (1996) and 0°C (1998), which resonated with the glitch electronic scene emerging at that time. In 2000 Ikeda’s album Matrix, on the Touch label, attracted considerable attention as an interactive electronic work. Ikeda presented ten 5-minute long tones affected by the listener’s proximity. These were followed by a second series of tones made from orchestral instruments to produce overlapping sounds. The album explored time and tone and generated a wider discussion in the music industry about the relationship between sound and new media formats. Ikeda later produced the albums ...

Article

Akira Tatehata

(b Kariya, Aichi Prefect., Jan 2, 1933; d New York, June 2014).

Japanese painter, draughtsman, and conceptual artist, active in the USA. After graduating from Kariya High School in 1951, he moved to Tokyo, exhibiting at the Yomiuri Independent Exhibitions. His sensibility for a cold materialism became apparent in his series of drawings Bathroom, of dismembered grotesque nude bodies (1953–4; Tokyo, N. Mus. Mod. A.). Kawara went to Mexico in 1959 and travelled through Europe. He settled in New York in 1965. His renowned series of Date Paintings (from 1965), made in various cities on his travels, juxtapose a detail from a local newspaper with a simple record of the date in typographical letters and numbers on monochrome canvases using acrylic. The paintings’ principal meaning was that the artist and viewer shared the numbers that signified a date they both had lived. In the series of telegrams in the 1970s, which sent the message ‘I am still alive’ to his friends, he used the verification of his own existence as a statement in a medium whose abstraction, regardless of the artist’s hand, paradoxically gave his work a tense reality. His other work in book form, ...

Article

Joan Kee

[Kim Sooja; Kim Soo-ja; Kim Soo Ja]

(b Daegu, April 24, 1957).

Korean mixed-media artist, active also in the USA. Kim studied painting at Hongik University, Seoul, graduating in 1984. That same year she received a scholarship to study art at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. During the mid-1980s Kim became interested in employing commonly used Korean textiles in her work. Distinctively patterned and coloured, the textiles offered different formal possibilities, and early works featured various swathes cut and sewn together to form large, continuous surfaces. In 1992 Kim was awarded a residency as part of the International Studio Program at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York. Inspired by the objects collected in her studio, Kim began to use the figure of the bottari, wrapped bundles used in Korea for the easy transport of goods, in installations such as Deductive Object (1994). She also began to experiment with performance and interactive works. In Sewing Into Walking...

Article

Midori Yamamura

(b Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefect., March 22, 1929).

Japanese painter, sculptor, poet, writer, printmaker, installation, and performance artist, active also in the USA.

Growing up under Japan’s World War II totalitarian regime, Kusama believed art could help her nurture a more humane worldview. She began taking private art lessons at the age of 13. Between 1952 and 1955, she had six solo exhibitions. In 1955 Kusama wrote to artists Kenneth Callahan and Georgia O’Keeffe in the United States and Callahan helped organize her first United States solo exhibition in Seattle (1957).

After Seattle, Kusama moved to New York in 1958, where she launched her career alongside the second generation Abstract Expressionists. In 1959 she developed a series of paintings called Infinity Nets; large horizontal works featuring obsessively repeated small arcs. At solo exhibitions in New York (1959, Brata Gallery; 1961, Stephen Radich Gallery), she only showed white, wall-sized works from the series. Appearing void from a distance, her huge paintings forced viewers to come closer, disallowing their objectification, while permitting each viewer an intimate experience. These works made a strong impression on the New York scene, with Frank Stella and a future Minimalist Donald Judd buying her works....

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Minervié, Corisca, April 19, 1952).

French installation artist. He studied Fine Art at the Sorbonne, Paris (1972–6), and had residencies at the Villa Medici, Rome (1981–3), and the Villa Kujoyama, Japan (1992). In 1985 Leccia had his first major exhibition, at the Tokyo Palais, Paris. The installation Séance (1985; Paris, Gal. Montenay-Giroux), consisted of rows of chairs, set out as if for a lecture, on which were placed film projectors, each casting an indistinct image onto the back of the chair in front. The diffuse electronic light given off by this work formed a link with other works in the exhibition. Le baiser (1985; Paris, Gal. Montenay-Giroux) showed two theatre spotlights up against each other, giving an emotional significance to the combined light sources. The use of objects in a kissing motif runs throughout the work. The outdoor sculpture Arrangement (1987; Paris, Gal. Montenay-Giroux) showed two football goalmouths placed up against each other, creating an enclosed, neutralized game space. A similar leitmotif from this time was the arrangement of electronic goods and the boxes in which they were sold: four stereos, for example would be placed on the floor in a square around a tower created from four boxes. Leccia began making video installations in the late 1980s. For the exhibition ...

Article

Yulin Lee

[Ming Hong]

(b Tokyo, Nov 6, 1964).

Taiwanese conceptual artist, active also in the USA. Lin studied at the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles in 1990 and then the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena in 1993. Although Lin was born in Japan, he spent his early childhood in Taiwan and then moved to the USA. These transcultural experiences complicated the task of positioning himself as an artist after his return in 1993 to Taiwan, where contemporary art largely focused on locating a definitive identity.

Lin’s interest in creating art expressive of his fluid experience was already present in his first solo exhibition, Meander (1994). Lin hung monochromatic, acrylic-lacquered steel plates perpendicular to a white wall. While these highly finished works reflected an aesthetic close to that of Donald Judd’s industrially manufactured cubes, they also indicated Lin’s own West Coast background—the fetishism of the enamelled surface being rooted in southern California’s automobile culture....

Article

Wu Mali  

Yulin Lee

(b Taipei, June 14, 1957).

Taiwanese conceptual artist ( see fig. ). After graduating in 1979 from Tamkang University in Taipei with a degree in German language and culture, Wu left for Germany to study sculpture at the National Art Academy, Düsseldorf (1985). After graduating from Düsseldorf, she returned to Taiwan, where the lifting of martial law triggered vital socio-political and economic changes. As society swiftly shifted from the staleness of authoritarianism to effervescent pluralism and decentralization, Wu took a strong interest in the emerging social, political and historical hierarchies. Informed by her literary background, Wu’s early installation works Newspaper I Read (1989) and Gnawing Texts, Reaming Words (1993) involved putting the pages of a newspaper or texts through a shredder, then re-arranging the shreds into an installation.

This deconstructive work culminated in The Library (1995; see 2002 exh. cat., p. 26), a site-specific installation in the 46th Venice Biennale. The work consisted of a library of bookshelves that displayed immaculate acrylic cases in the form of books. In each bookcase Wu replaced world-renowned texts or tomes, such as the Bible, Thames & Hudson’s World Art series and Chinese classics with the paper fragments shredded from that text’s actual pages. By annulling the communicative function of the text, Wu transformed the texts from something with content or meaning into a non-verbal, visual material. Wu therefore made the audience aware of the artificiality of hierarchy inherent in many canonic writings by transforming objects with specific socio-cultural messages into what she describes as ‘art with eternal value’....

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Beijing, Jan 9, 1966).

Chinese installation artist, painter and computer artist. He completed middle school in 1985 at the Beijing School of Arts and Crafts, and received his BA in 1991 from the printmaking department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. He is considered China’s first and most important computer artist. He is a guest teacher at the Central Academy’s Photography and Digital Media Studio.

Beginning in 1983 or 1984, Feng became fascinated by computer gaming. He made use of the look and techniques of computer games and explored the implications of computer gaming through his work. Several early 1990s painting series reproduce the look of computer games of the time, with two-dimensional fighting depicted in front of simple backgrounds rendered in flat colours. Game Over: Long March (1994; set of 42 paintings), for example, deploys such popular culture heroes as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in battle along with Tyrannosaurus rexes, People’s Liberation Army soldiers and Mao Zedong. As a result of these painting series, Feng was considered a Political Pop artist, Political Pop being a late 1980s–early 1990s painting trend that defused Cultural Revolution (...

Article

Celia Stahr

(b Bugok, South Korea, April 29, 1953).

American photographer and installation artist of Korean birth. Min came to the USA when she was seven and went on to study art at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving her BA in 1975, her MA in 1977 and her MFA in 1979. She has described herself as a child of Cold War politics and a member of the 1.5 generation who are Korean-born Americans. She occupies a liminal space, something that is often explored in her art. In Make Me (1989; see Cahan and Kocur, p. 85), she placed various texts, such as ‘Model Minority’, over four different bisected photographs of her face. These cut photographs with text force the viewer to confront common stereotypical images of Asian Americans.

In much of Min’s art, personal issues are tied to international power struggles, deCOLONIZATION (1991; see Neumaier, pp. 134–7), for example is a mixed-media installation that examines the social and psychological impact of colonialism on Korean women. In the centre of the installation a traditional Korean dress, on which there are handwritten excerpts in Korean and English from Won Ko’s poem ...