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Article

Xiao Situ

(b Tuscaloosa, AL, Nov 5, 1936).

American painter, photographer, and sculptor. Born and raised in Tuscaloosa, AL, Christenberry received his bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1958 and his master’s degree in painting in 1959, both from the University of Alabama. He began his artistic career by painting in an Abstract Expressionist style, but soon turned his attention to the landscape of his native Alabama as the primary subject of his art. His photographs, paintings, and sculptures focus on the vernacular architecture, rural roads, commercial signs, and decorative gravesites that characterize the region. As an entirety, his works address themes such as the personal attachment to place and culture, the effects of the passage of time, and the simultaneous fragility and endurance of memory.

After teaching art for six years at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis), Christenberry moved to Washington, DC, in 1968 to accept a professorship at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. He continued making annual summer pilgrimages to Alabama to photograph local sites and structures such as ...

Article

Klaus Ottmann

(b New York, Sept 24, 1955).

American sculptor, installation artist, draughtsman, photographer, and writer. Horn studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and at the Yale University School of Art. From 1975 she began to travel frequently to Iceland, whose primordial, unstable landscape influenced her artistic practice.

Always intent to maintain the integrity of her chosen materials, be it solid glass, literature, or the volcanic topography of Iceland, Horn created complex relationships between the viewer and her work. She was less interested in the meaning of the work (the ‘why’ and ‘what’) and more in the interaction of action and being the ‘how’, ultimately creating art that unites both.

Her series of aluminium sculptures, which feature fragments from the writings of Franz Kafka and Emily Dickinson, such as Kafka’s Palindrome (1991–4) or Keys and Cues (1994), are reminiscent of the Minimalist sculptures of Donald Judd and Michael Fried’s famous definition of Minimalist art as ‘literal art’. However, Horn’s ‘literal’ transfer of words onto matter changes the meaning of both the original words and the materials used: taken out of context, the meaning of the original words becomes amalgamated with the meaning embedded in the material. By adding literacy to matter, the sculpture becomes nonliteral, but not devoid of content....

Article

Susan Snodgrass

(b Madrid, Spain, 1961).

Chicago-based American sculptor also working in photography, video and installation. He received a BA in art and art history and a BA in Latin American and Spanish literature from Williams College in 1983. In 1989 he earned a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Manglano-Ovalle’s hybrid practice emerged with Tele-vecindario: A Street-Level Video Block Party, a public art project created for Culture in Action, a community-based art program in Chicago in 1992–3. Working with Latino youth in Chicago’s West Town community, an area often challenged by substandard housing, drugs and gang violence, the artist facilitated a multimedia portrait of their lives in which these youth constructed their own images and concept of self. Issues of identity, community and migration, as they relate to both cultural and geographic borders, have been explored throughout his prestigious career that includes collaborative modes of working, as well as individual works sited within the museum or gallery. For Manglano-Ovalle, culture encompasses a broad network of systems—artistic, political, environmental, scientific—in constant dialogue, negotiated by both artist and viewer....

Article

Lee Fontanella

(b New York, Nov 4, 1946; d Boston, March 9, 1989).

American photographer, sculptor and collagist. In the early 1970s, after studying at the Pratt Institute of Art in Brooklyn (1963–70), he produced a number of assemblages and collages from magazine photographs often altered by spray painting. In one such work, Julius of California (1971; Charles Cowles priv. col., see Marshall, p. 21), he drew a circle around the male figure’s genitals as a subversion of the usual practice of censorship. He soon began to take his own black-and-white photographs with a Polaroid camera, incorporating them into collages (e.g. Self-portrait, 1971; Charles Cowles priv. col., see Marshall, p. 17) or arranging them in sequences, as in Patti Smith (Don’t Touch here) (1973; artist’s col., see Marshall, p. 27), a portrait of the poet and singer who was one of his favourite models. Within a year of showing his Polaroids in his first solo show (New York, Light Gal., ...

Article

Deborah A. Middleton

(b Fort Wayne, IN, Dec 6, 1941).

American conceptual artist. Recognized as one of the most influential, innovative, and provocative 20th century American artists, Nauman extended the media of sculpture, film, video, photography, and sound with performance and spatial explorations. Nauman attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1960 to 1964, with early studies in mathematics and physics, which broadened to the study of art under Italo Scanga (1932–2001). He received a master’s degree in Fine Art from the University of California, Davis in 1966 under William T. Wiley, Robert Arneson, Frank Owen (b 1939), and Stephen Kaltenbach (b 1940) and honorary degrees from the San Francisco Art Institute (1989) and California Institute of Art (2000). In 1966 he began to teach at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Nauman’s interactive artworks and performances explore the syntactical nuances of language, text, and figurative gesture to create material culture and in-between places, which often result in a heightened sense of physical and emotional awareness. Nauman’s artistic explorations of spatial perception, bodily consciousness, physical and mental activity, and linguistic manipulation were demonstrated in interactive spatial compositions that accentuated various relationships between the human body and built environments. Early works included body castings and holographic self-images with subsequent works situating the viewer within their own mental and bodily perceptions. In ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Quincy, MA, Sept 11, 1946).

American photographer, sculptor, and installation artist. She studied at Smith College, Northampton, MA, between 1964 and 1968, spending time in Paris where she studied art history in 1966–7. Between 1969 and 1972 she studied at the University of Iowa, graduating with an MFA. Her works in the early 1970s were conceptual pieces, for example Crumpled and Copied (1973; see 1998 exh. cat., p. 22), in which she repeatedly crumpled and photocopied a piece of paper. In the mid-1970s Skoglund began to take photographs of food presented in geometric and brightly coloured surroundings so that the food becomes an integral part to the overall patterning, as in Cubed Carrots and Kernels of Corn (1978; see 1992 exh. cat.). Her use of brightly coloured interiors expanded into photographs of whole room installations, in which she would use domestic objects repeatedly, flattening out the photographed space. In the early 1980s Skoglund began to sculpt the repeated elements in her installations, as in ...

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 ...