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Article

Francis Summers

revised by Jessica Santone

(b Belgrade, Nov 30, 1946).

Serbian performance artist, video artist and installation artist. She attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade (1965–70) before completing her post-diploma studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb, in 1972. Her early works included sound recordings installed on bridges, paintings of truck crashes, and experiments with conceptual photography (see Widrich, pp. 80–97). In her first significant performance, Rhythm 10 (1973), she repeatedly and rapidly stabbed the spaces between her fingers with various knives. Later, in Rhythm 0 (1974; see Ward, pp. 114–30), she invited gallery visitors to choose from 72 available objects to use on her body, as she stood unresponsive for 6 hours. Her infamous performance Thomas’ Lips (1975; see M. Abramović and others, pp. 98–105), in which she cut, flagellated, and froze herself, established her practice as one that dramatically explored the physical limits of the human body, as seen in the work of Gena Pane or Chris Burden (...

Article

Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy

American installation artists, active also in Puerto Rico. Jennifer Allora (b Philadelphia, Mar 20, 1974) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Richmond, Virginia (1996), and Guillermo Calzadilla (b Havana, Cuba, Jan 10, 1971) graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Escuela de Artes Plastica in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1996). Allora and Calzadilla met in Italy in 1995 during a study abroad program in Florence. They then lived together in San Juan for a year before moving to New York City where they started working collaboratively while each participated in different residency and study programs. In 1998–1999, Allora participated in the year-long Whitney Independent Study Program, while Calzadilla participated in the P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center National Studio Program.

Allora & Calzadilla’s first important international exhibition was the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo in 1998 curated by Paulo Herkenhoff, which investigated the idea of cultural cannibalism known in Brazilian literature as ...

Article

Daniel Montero

(b Mexico City, 1970).

Mexican installation artist, video artist, and performance artist. Amorales studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, after attending Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (1996–1997), both in Amsterdam. He worked with images and signs of different types that when modified, combined, and recoded produce new images and meanings in turn. Based on pre-existing information and images he found on the Internet, Amorales created a particular way of working, more closely resembling that of a design studio than a traditional artist’s atelier. In his workspace and with a team of assistants, he proposed different ways of understanding the forms in which signs circulate and are appropriated, inquiring into notions of authorship, communication, and artistic media. From 1998 Amorales collected images from the Internet and converterted them into black, white, and red vectors. This collection is now known as the Liquid Archive. With these images, he produced several artworks in which multiplicity, repetition, and juxtaposition are constant. For example, in the video ...

Article

Susanna Temkin

(b Barquisimeto, 1969).

Venezuelan photographer, filmmaker, and installation artist. He studied photography with Ricardo Armas (b 1952) from 1987 to 1988, and art history at the Universidad Central de Venezuela Caracas from 1987 to 1990. His art reveals the contradictions and fallacies of modernism, often explored through themes related to architecture and urban planning, as well as gender and identity. Much of Apostól’s work focused on his native Venezuela, and more particularly, on the city of Caracas and its citizens. However, the artist also produced works related to the cities of Bogotá, Los Angeles, and Madrid, where he was long based. Significantly, although his art conveys local particularities, it also bears wider implications about the legacy of modernism across the globe.

Much of Apóstol’s photographic practice involved the use of digital technology. By erasing, altering, or enhancing a photograph, he exposed the failures of modernism as embedded within Venezuelan architecture. Turning to the vernacular buildings of Caracas, his series ...

Article

Agung Hujatnikajennong

(b Bandung, May 21, 1961).

Indonesian installation, video and performance artist and writer. Arahmaiani graduated from the Fine Art Department of Bandung Institute of Technology in 1983 and then continued her studies at the Paddington Art School, Sydney (1985–6) before attending the Akademie voor Beeldende Kunst & Vormgeving (AKI), Enschede (1991–2). During the 1980s she was also part of a rebellious young artists’ movement in Indonesia.

Arahmaiani is known for her specific point of view in responding to the domination of academicism in the Indonesian art world, which became her departure point in developing Happenings and performance art during the early 1980s; a boom era of painting and commercialization that occurred as a result of the economic boosting under the Indonesian New Order regime. One of her most important works, Newspaper Man (1981), in which she wrapped her body in newspaper advertisements and walked through the streets and shopping malls of Bandung, stimulated a more vibrant practice and discourse on the use of human body as an art medium in Indonesian art. ...

Article

Michael Jay McClure

(b Istanbul, 1961).

Turkish video and installation artist, active also in England and Pakistan. He was educated at Mimar Sinan University, the Sorbonne, Paris, Los Angeles Santa Monica College, and the University of California, Los Angeles (MFA, 1988). Ataman holds a prominent place among artists exploring identity, sexuality, documentation, and the cultural politics of the Middle East and its diasporas; his work echoes that of Shirin Neshat, Omer Fast, Mona Hatoum, and the more commercial filmmaker Fatih Akin, among others.

Producing multi-channel ‘video sculptures’, Ataman explores states of psychological, cultural, and social displacement, often employing massive amounts of footage in a quasi-documentary style. An early piece, Women Who Wear Wigs (1999; see images tab for additional illustration), is a representative example. On a four-channel display, four Turkish women reveal their reasons for donning wigs: a reporter who recently lost her hair due to chemotherapy, a transsexual prostitute forced to shave her head by the police, a targeted terrorist who disguises herself, and a student banned from wearing a traditional headscarf in school. The wig, which conceals and connects these women, parallels how Ataman uses video: as a medium that both reveals and obfuscates its subjects. A spectator must negotiate not only the truth of the stories but also their syncopated broadcasts distributed over the space of the exhibition. Indeed, Ataman often uses the situation of the screens to disorienting sculptural effect. In ...

Article

Frazer Ward

(b San Francisco, CA, 1967).

American sculptor, installation artist, filmmaker, and video artist. Barney emerged in the early 1990s to considerable fanfare, based on the reputation of works made while still an undergraduate at Yale University (he graduated with a BA in 1989), and early exhibitions in New York galleries. Exhibitions such as Field Dressing (1989; New Haven, CT, Yale, U., Payne Whitney Athletic Complex), and early works in the series Drawing Restraint (begun in 1987), established characteristics of Barney’s work: striking imagery drawn from an idiosyncratic range of sources (sport-oriented in the earliest works), sculptural objects in signature materials (e.g. petroleum jelly, ‘self-lubricating plastic’), and athletic performances by the artist, in the service of arcane personal mythology (see fig.). These characteristics are most fully expressed in the Cremaster cycle of five films (1994–2003, released out of order, beginning with Cremaster 4 (1992)). Elaborate and expensive productions featuring lush imagery, drawing on both marginal and mainstream histories (performance art and Hollywood cinema), Celtic and Masonic lore, popular cultural references (Harry Houdini, Gary Gilmore), and anatomical metaphors (the Cremaster is the muscle by which the testicles are raised and lowered), the ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Columbus, OH, 1949).

American installation artist and video artist. She graduated from the University of Florida in 1972, having studied finance, architecture and art; in 1986 she received an MA in Communication Arts from New York Institute of Technology. Barry’s work was consistently guided by an interest in the ways in which lived social relations are translated into built form in architecture and public space. Casual Shopper (1980–81; see 1988 exh. cat., p. 14) is typical of her early video pieces in examining these issues through a narrative about a couple in a Californian shopping mall; in it, Barry shows how the realms of private fantasy blend into the fantastical confections of the mall’s architecture. The slide and film installation In the Shadow of the City...Vamp r y... (1982–5) points to her related interests in subject formation, states of mind, and the way in which power is exercised through the gaze: bringing together a series of domestic and urban spaces, the images show a number of figures looking out of a window and a woman watching a man sleep. ...

Article

Courtney Gerber

(b New York, Oct 29, 1946).

American video and installation artist. Birnbaum received her BA in architecture from Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, PA in 1969 and a BFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1973. She first engaged with video at the New School of Social Research in New York and in 1976 she received a certificate in Video/Electronic Editing from the New School’s Video Study Center of Global Village. Considered a second-generation video artist, her production critically responds to and expands upon the theory and practice of first-generation video artists such as Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman and Dan Graham (see Video art). The work of Birnbaum and her contemporaries was especially informed by their predecessors’ experimentation with the Kodak PortaPak (c. 1967) and the types of video art that emerged from the first generation’s exploration of the media in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Of these types, two of the most prevalent were videos rooted in performance art, which focused on the self and the body, and work that assessed the actual media of television by attempting to create less commercial, alternative forms of it such as public access cable television (...

Article

Susan Best

(b Sydney, Aug 8, 1919; d Sydney, April 19, 2005).

Australian sculptor, video, installation artist, and sound artist. Brassil received her initial art training at Sydney Teachers College, East Sydney Technical College, and Newcastle Technical College (1937–9). She taught art for 20 years at Campbelltown High School before commencing her exhibiting career in the early 1970s.

Brassil’s first recorded work is Trilogy: Twentieth Century Perception (1969–74; Sydney, U. W. Sydney). Trilogy is composed of three components: Sound Beyond Hearing (900×900×150 mm), Light Beyond Seeing (900×600×150 mm) and Memory Beyond Recall (1050×1050×150 mm). Unlike Brassil’s later works, these three components can be wall mounted. They are beautiful, highly finished, shallow black boxes, and two out of the three are electronic. Memory Beyond Recall has glowing lights veiled behind layers of paper that appear and then dim down and disappear. Light Beyond Seeing has a central lit portion that uses mirrors to suggest an infinitely deep space. The main themes of Brassil’s career—perception, sound, memory, and the transcendental realm—are all signalled in this early work....

Article

Naomi Beckwith

(b Fulton, MO, Feb 4, 1959).

American sculptor and multimedia artist working in fibre, installation, video, and performance. The youngest of seven sons born into a central Missouri family, Cave demonstrated an early acumen with hand-made objects and throughout his career has created works out of texturally rich materials imbued with cultural meaning. Cave received his BFA (1982) from the Kansas City Art Institute, developing an interest in textiles and, after some graduate-level work at North Texas State University, received his MFA (1989) from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, renowned for their textile, fibre art, and design programmes. While working toward his art degrees, Cave simultaneously studied with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, a company known for introducing African American folk traditions into the modern dance vocabulary. Cave moved to Chicago where he became chair of the Department of Fashion Design at the School of the Art Institute in 1980.

Working across the disciplines of sculpture, textile, dance, and cultural performance, Cave’s oeuvre is based on the human figure; he has produced wearable art as sculptures, arrangements of human and animal figurines as installations, and performance works. Cave’s signature works, the multi-sensory ‘...

Article

Francis Summers

(b McPherson, KS, Nov 18, 1933; d San Francisco, July 7, 2008).

American sculptor, collagist, draughtsman and film maker. Conner attended the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, finishing his studies in 1955. Soon after he moved to San Francisco, where he immersed himself in its prevalent Beat culture. His early work was principally a form of Collage or Assemblage, as in Spider House Lady (1959; Oakland, CA, Mus.) in which he gathered together decayed print and other fetid matter, wrapped in string nylon, an effect that gave his work a mummified, funereal pallor. Conner also made films reflecting his practice of recycling images from America’s media culture. Using film stock from movies intended to be projected at home, Conner created a collage of various Hollywood stereotypes in A Movie (1958; see 1999 exh. cat., p. 189), a work that established him as an important underground film-maker. Conner also made strange, disquieting sculpture that paid homage to (Henri-Robert-)Marcel Duchamp, such as The Bride...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Cardiff, Jan 25, 1964).

Welsh installation artist and film maker. She studied for her BFA at South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education between 1983 and 1986, and then for her MFA at the Slade School of Art in London between 1986 and 1988. It was at her post-graduate exhibition that her work gained notice with an installation that had water seeping and dripping through the air vents of lockers in a corridor of the Slade. This use of water was translated on a smaller scale in the piece 12 Filing Cabinets, 12 Rolled Carpets and Water (1990; see 1998 exh. cat., p. 19). Here soaking rolls of carpet were revealed in the bottom drawers of the filing cabinets. Counsell’s interventions in the space and with the objects seem to be at first rather slight, but gain in impact as the strangeness of the presence of the water is felt. In 1993, at the Coronet Cinema in Mile End in London, Counsell installed a black-and-white film (see ...

Article

Gregory Sholette

American artists’ collective founded in 1987, still active. Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) is known for its carefully researched installations, performances, videos and publications that explore the intersections of multiple disciplines including art and science, while simultaneously engaging in a sophisticated political critique of state and corporate power. As a form of ethical cultural practice the collective’s approach is grounded in the belief that the common person or amateur should be the true nexus of knowledge in a plural, democratic society. The artistic approach of CAE takes advantage of the shift away from object making established by the Conceptual artists of the 1960s and 1970s. The group’s aesthetic vocabulary has been influenced by the interventionist approach of such collectives as the Situationists (see Situationism), the Yippies, Guerrilla Art Action Group, Royal Chicano Art Front and Gran Fury. Like these groups, CAE’s aim is to imaginatively disrupt everyday life. In addition the Ensemble has published six books with the Brooklyn-based Autonomedia Press that document the group’s critical investigations; the books have been translated into some eighteen languages....

Article

Daniel R. Quiles

(b Buenos Aires, Sept 29, 1936; d New York, Aug 27, 2016).

Argentine painter, installation artist, conceptual artist, and video artist, active also in the USA. He is best known as experimental producer of early public-access cable programming. In 1946, at the age of 14, he began an apprenticeship with the artist Simón Feldman, an exponent of the teachings of André Lhote, an original member of the Section d’Or group in Paris who saw Cubism’s precepts as repeatable and teachable. Davidovich’s earliest exhibited paintings, c. 1950, demonstrate Lhotean figuration, but after seeing Mark Rothko and other abstract expressionists at the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio in 1956, he quickly transitioned to gestural abstraction, the first in a career-long series of shifts in search of the most avant-garde styles or media. In 1960 Davidovich was recruited by the Arturo Frondizi government in Argentina to teach advanced art in Bahía Blanca, although he continued to exhibit regularly in Buenos Aires with the Arte Nuevo avant-gardes. In this period, he studied painting at the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires in ...

Article

Lauren O’Neill-Butler

(b Boston, MA, 1966).

American photographer and installation artist. Deschenes studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, where she was awarded a BFA in photography in 1988. Beginning in the 1990s, she exhibited widely across various continents. With a focus on materiality and site-specificity, her work examines light, perception, architecture, and photography. Yet often she worked without a camera, adopting a post-conceptual and post-minimal stance that walks a fine line between abstraction and representation. Instead of making straightforward photographs that depict a given past event or a vision of the world, Deschenes posed real-time questions about the philosophical potentials of the medium, stripping its apparatus bare while pushing at its traditional definitions and emphasizing the constantly changing nature of photography. For her Green Screen series (2001), Deschenes took a green screen—typically used as a special effects tool in film-making and television—as her subject, photographing and scanning these large-scale monochrome backdrops. In her ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Derry, March 26, 1959).

Irish photographer, video artist and installation artist. He studied Fine Art at Ulster Polytechnic (1978–81). Influenced by the work of Hamish Fulton, Barbara Kruger, Richard Long and Jenny Holzer, Doherty’s work in the late 1980s often combined black-and-white topographical images overlaid with words and phrases or juxtaposed with texts. These first demonstrated his interest in the ambiguous and contradictory meanings that images can suggest; this has been fed by his sustained engagement with the political conflicts in Northern Ireland and focused by a specific interest in his home town of Derry. The diptych Stone Upon Stone (1986; see 1998 exh. cat., pp. 10–11) suggested a politicized parody of land art in its depiction of a river in Derry which divided opposing sides. Against the background of increasing controversy over media coverage of the troubles in the late 1980s, Doherty began to use images from television and newspapers, and in the early 1990s he began to use video, slide projections and sound. The slide installation ...

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

Agung Hujatnikajennong

(b Jakarta, June 12, 1960).

Indonesian painter, installation, video and performance artist. Dono studied art at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts (ISI), Yogyakarta (1980–87) while also studying traditional Javanese shadow-puppetry (wayang kulit) under the puppeteer (dalang) Sukasman. He became known for producing works inspired by shadow-puppetry (e.g. the painting The Legend Puppet, 1988); adapting the two-dimensional imagery, the gamelan music and narration of wayang kulit to recreate metaphors of modern civilization. Dono’s work encompassed painting, sculpture, installation and performances, often employing low-tech multimedia and self-assembled electronic devices that generate music, moving images, light projection, producing a low-tech kinetic environment (e.g. Flying Angels, 1996).

Dono’s works create a meticulous connection between traditional puppetry and modern animation, as he viewed both types of moving images as lively worlds of absurdity where narratives often do not make any sense, yet seem enjoyable for people of all ages. Dono’s socio-political background—the repression of artistic freedom during the Indonesian New Order regime—drove him to choose a kind of foolish, impolite, stupid, naive, ridiculous and teasing expression in his works. Metaphors and criticism deeply imbued with jokes were the safest ways to avoid suppression and censorship by the regime. In creating criticism through ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(Karima)

(b London, July 3, 1963).

English sculptor, painter, draughtsman, video artist and installation artist. She studied at Maidstone College of Art (1983–6), and at the Royal College of Art in London (1987–9). In January 1993 she embarked on a six-month collaborative project with the artist Sarah Lucas, The Shop, in the Bethnal Green district of London, selling art objects in the style of bric-a-brac. Her first solo exhibition, My Major Retrospective, (London, White Cube Gal., 1993), provided the public platform for her subsequent success. Emin’s aptitude for self-promotion was demonstrated by the opening, in 1995, of the Tracey Emin Museum in South London, which she ran as a showcase for her work until 1998. She was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1999.

Emin achieved notoriety both in the art world and in the popular press as the enfant terrible of British art, a result not only of her outlandish behaviour but also of her starkly confessional work, based on an unorthodox upbringing and turbulent private life. In ...