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Article

Reena Jana

(b Cologne, Germany, 1969).

American mixed-media artist of German birth and Asian descent. Ezawa studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf (1990–94) before moving to San Francisco in 1994. He received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute (1995) and an MFA from Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA (2003). Ezawa is not a photographer, but his work centers around photography; he has used a variety of media, from digital animations to paper collages and aquatint prints, to revisit some of the world’s most familiar, infamous and historically significant news photographs, television broadcasts and motion-picture stills (see The Simpson Verdict). All of Ezawa’s work utilizes the artist’s signature style of flat, simple renderings that are cartoonlike and also suggest the streamlined and colorful style of Pop artist Katz, Alex.

Ezawa’s project, The History of Photography Remix (2004–6), exemplifies his approach to exploring the power of photographs as a mirror of reality and yet also a force that can manipulate memories of events and people. The project consists of images appropriated from art history textbooks, such as American photographer Cindy Sherman’s ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant and Margaret Rose Vendryes

(b Cleveland, OH, 1959).

American printmaker, film maker, installation and conceptual artist and writer.

Green, of African descent, has worked primarily with film-based media, and has published criticism and designed installations that reveal her commitment to ongoing feminist and black empowerment movements. She earned her BA from Wesleyan University in 1981 and also spent some time at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1980, returning in the late 1980s to study in the Whitney Independent Study Program, graduating in 1990. At the age of 24 she began exhibiting her comparative compositions containing found objects, images, and texts that question recorded history.

Green’s work deals with issues of anthropology and travel. By undertaking projects via the methodology of the 19th-century explorer, she exposed the arbitrary and prejudiced nature of classification, as in Bequest (1991; see 1993 exh. cat.), an installation she made at the invitation of the Worcester Museum of Art to commemorate their 50th anniversary. Using the museum as a ready-made stage set, she installed works of art alongside 19th-century texts explaining stereotypes of whiteness and blackness. Green characteristically intervened in the history of her chosen site to produce a fiction that included her own responses as an African American woman to her findings. In ...

Article

Klaus Ottmann

(b Lima, OH, June 22, 1956).

American installation artist, photographer, and video artist. Hamilton is known for creating complexly structured, highly sensual, site-specific environments that investigate visual and aural relationships with the human body. Hamilton studied textile design at the University of Kansas in Lawrence and sculpture at Yale University School of Art in New Haven. Using a wide range of metaphorical and associative materials, her installations function in the chasm between immediate experience and memory and frequently address the antinomy of creation and destruction in art.

In Privations & Excesses (1989; San Francisco, CA, Capp Street Project), Hamilton sat in a room whose floor was covered with 750,000 pennies, while obsessively wringing her hands in a hat filled with honey and, in an barred space behind her, several sheep grazed. In topos (1993; New York, Dia Center for the Arts), a figure seated in the midst of an expansive sea of interwoven horsehair, fastidiously erased printed letters from a book with a heating coil. In ...

Article

Sarah Urist Green

revised by Julia Detchon

(b Santiago, Chile, Feb 5, 1956).

Chilean architect, public interventionist, installation artist, photographer, and filmmaker, active in the USA. He first studied architecture at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, then filmmaking at the Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano de Cultura, Santiago, concluding in 1981. Throughout his career, Jaar’s works have taken many forms in order to address global themes of injustice and illuminate structures of power. In over fifty projects he termed “public interventions,” Jaar conducted extensive research around the world to create site-specific works that reflect political and social realities near and far from his sites of exhibition. He created works—in gallery spaces and in public, often engaging spectator involvement—that present images critically and confront the social and political interests they serve.

Jaar’s first public intervention was Studies on Happiness (1979–1981), a three-year series of performances and exhibitions in which he asked the question, “Are you happy?” of people in the streets of Santiago. Inspired by ...

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

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

Celia Stahr

(b Phoenix, AZ, Aug 26, 1954).

Native American (Seminole–Muskogee–Diné (Navajo)) photographer, video and installation artist . While living on a Navajo reservation in the 1960s, Tsinhnahjinnie was prompted to think about the power of images after looking at A House of Human Bondage, which showed the poor living conditions that black South Africans were subjected to under the apartheid system, photographs that reminded her of the bleak existence of Native Americans. This led her to attend the Institute of American Indian Art from 1975 to 1978. She received a BFA from the California College of the Arts (1981) and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine (2002). She went on to teach at the University of California, Davis.

Realizing that Native Americans had been defined by photographs taken by non-Natives, Tsinhnahjinnie wanted to create photographs of Native Americans from an insider’s perspective; to reclaim her own culture, history and identity. In 1988...

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

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 ...