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Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Oakland, CA, 1893; d. Shiraz, Iran, 25 Jan. 1977).

American historian of Iranian art. While studying mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, Ackerman met and eventually married Arthur Upham Pope, with whom she had taken courses in philosophy and aesthetics. In 1926 she and Pope organized the first ever exhibition of Persian art at the Pennsylvania Museum and helped create the First International Congress of Oriental Art. In 1930 Ackerman was stricken with polio but taught herself to walk again. They were instrumental in preparing the 1931 Persian Art Exhibition at Burlington House, London, and the Second International Congress of Iranian Art and Archaeology, as well as the Third Congress in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1935 and the exhibition of Iranian art at the Iranian Institute in New York in 1940. She visited Iran for the first time in 1964, when the shah of Iran invited Pope to revive the Asia Institute; it was associated with Pahlavi University in Shiraz until ...

Article

Virginie Bobin

Exhibition space that is not run by an institution or commercial organization is often described as an alternative space. The phenomenon of alternative spaces in the United States is usually associated with the blooming of numerous not-for-profit artist-run spaces in the 1970s, although important precedents can be found as far as in 1862, when the Art Building Gallery in Chicago was founded to provide free exhibition space to artists. Providing fees and decision-power to artists, promoting conceptual and video, installation or action art, collective practices and social and political commitment, alternative spaces radically contributed to redefine the position of the artist and the form of the exhibition in the United States. Since then, the acceptance of the term has shifted to a more general opposition to mainstream institutions, such as museums and commercial galleries.

Generally considered the first small nonprofit organizations initiated by and for visual artists, 98 Greene Street, Apple, and 112 Workshop (now White Columns) opened in New York in ...

Article

Matico Josephson

American multi-ethnic arts organization based in New York’s Chinatown. The Asian American Arts Centre (AAAC) and its predecessors, the Asian American Dance Theatre (1974–93) and the Asian Arts Institute (1981–8), emerged from the milieu of the Basement Workshop, the first working group of the Asian American Movement on the East Coast, whose mouthpiece was the journal Bridge (1970–81). After the closing of the Basement Workshop in 1987, the Dance Theatre and the Asian Arts Institute were consolidated as the AAAC.

Directed by Eleanor S. Yung, the Dance Theatre was at the core of the organization’s activities from the 1970s through the early 1990s, performing traditional dances from several Asian cultures alongside modern and postmodern forms. In the early 1980s, the Asian Arts Institute began to hold exhibitions and collect slides of artists’ work and documentation of their activities, working primarily with artists involved in the downtown art scene. Early programs included open studio events for artists working in Chinatown and exhibitions of the work of Arlan Huang (...

Article

Alexandra Chang

American community-based arts and activist group in New York that flourished from 1971 to 1986. Basement Workshop (Inc.) evolved during the Asian American art movement, inspired by the Black Power and the Third World Liberation movements of the late 1960s. The group of artists, writers, performers, and social activists initially met in a leaky basement at 54 Elizabeth Street located in New York’s Chinatown. Basement moved successively to 22 Catherine Street, 199 Lafayette Street, expanded to include spaces at 7 Eldridge Street and 32 East Broadway, and finally returned to 22 Catherine Street during the collective’s existence from 1971 to 1986.

Basement was co-founded by Danny Yung (b 1943), Eleanor Yung, Peter Pan, Frank Ching (b 1943), and Rocky Chin. Its activities grew from the “Chinatown Report of 1969,” which was headed by Danny Yung and funded by the Ford Foundation. Basement was formally incorporated in ...

Article

Elizabeth Bonython

[pseud. Summerly, Felix]

(b Bath, July 15, 1808; d London, April 18, 1882).

English art administrator, industrial designer and museum director. His art education began at the age of 15, when he learnt watercolour technique from David Cox and perspective drawing from Charles Wild (1781–1835). In 1826 Cole met the philosopher John Stuart Mill, under whose influence he became a lifelong Benthamite; Cole’s reform of English design was determined by his commitment to Utilitarianism.

In 1823 Cole began working for the Public Record Office. His complaints about its inefficiency led to the reform of the Record Commission, of which he became Assistant Keeper in 1838. In the same year he was involved in the introduction of the Penny Post. In 1843 he commissioned John Callcott Horsley to design the first commercial Christmas card. He also wrote children’s books and tourist guides under the name Felix Summerly, a pseudonym he had already used for articles and pamphlets.

In 1846 Cole designed the Felix Summerly Tea Service, produced by ...

Article

American contemporary art museum in Miami, FL. The de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space was built and funded by Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz to house their collection of art. Born in Cuba, Rosa and Carlos moved to the USA in 1960. Carlos subsequently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and by 1975 they had moved to Miami. The couple began to collect art for their home; initially focusing on Latin American artists, they broadened their scope to include all contemporary art. Eventually they amassed a collection of over 700 pieces that form an important collection of global contemporary art.

The de la Cruzes regularly opened their Key Biscayne home to the public, and in 2009 they opened the de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space—a three-storey, 30,000 sq. ft multi-purpose facility in Miami’s Design District, designed by the architect John Marquette. While this public art space houses approximately one-third of the de la Cruz collection, annual exhibitions continue to be held at the couple’s home and at other satellite locations open to the public....

Article

Patricia Johnston

Society founded in 1799 in Salem, MA, which organized one of the earliest museums in America and became a patron for commissioning art. Marine societies founded in port cities during the colonial and federal periods usually provided charitable assistance to indigent seamen or widows and orphans. The East India Marine Society (EIMS) had further ambitions. British colonial navigation laws had restricted legal American trade to the Atlantic basin; after the Revolution, opening global trade became a primary goal of American commerce. The EIMS recognized those Salem mariners who embarked on global trade, since membership was restricted to “Masters or Commanders of Vessels” or supercargoes (head traders) who rounded Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope to engage in Pacific or Asian trade.

The East India Marine Society engaged in diverse collecting activities. Some items were valuable for navigation, such as nautical charts and journals of voyages (some of which contained drawings). The Society’s library offered for circulation among members a selection of published sea chronicles, particularly expensive engraved volumes, as for example, illustrated voyages of Captain Cook, La Pérouse, and Vancouver. In these ways the EIMS became an important center for the circulation of global knowledge and visual imagery of distant lands....

Article

Karen Kurczynski

Alternative art space founded by Stefan Eins (b 1943) at 2803 Third Avenue near 147th Street in the South Bronx, New York, from 1978 to 1993. Eins arrived in New York from Austria in 1967. He referred to Fashion Moda as a museum of “Science, Art, Technology, Invention, and Fantasy,” the title of its inaugural exhibition in 1979. He had previously run a downtown storefront art space called the Mercer Street Store at 3 Mercer Street from 1971 to 1978. Black downtown artist, poet and musician Joe Lewis served as Co-Director of the space with Eins, and William Scott, then a teenager from the neighborhood, served as Junior Director. Their collaborative ventures attempted to connect the street culture of the South Bronx, by then a neighborhood in the midst of massive economic decline, to an international cultural scene.

From its opening in 1978, annually funded with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council of the Arts and other sources, Fashion Moda held auctions, performances, seminars and other events. Joe Lewis described it as “an outlet for the disenfranchised, a Salon des Réfusés that cut across the uptown/downtown dichotomy, across the black/white/Hispanic isolation.” Although its glass storefront was located in a neighborhood far from the Soho gallery district, its impact has been measured largely by its effect on the more mainstream art world of the 1980s and early 1990s. It introduced and exhibited a number of artists including Charles Ahearn, John Ahearn (...

Article

Nancy E. Green

[Tei shin; Kanō Yeitan Masanobu]

(b Salem, MA, Feb 18, 1853; d London, Sept 21, 1908).

American curator, scholar, collector, and educator. Fenollosa played a unique role in enhancing the appreciation of Japanese art in both its native country and within the USA. Educated at Harvard, after graduation he studied philosophy and divinity at Cambridge University, followed by a year at the newly founded art school at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He also formed important friendships with the collectors Edward Sylvester Morse, Charles Goddard Weld (1857–1911), and William Sturgis Bigelow (1850–1926).

In 1878, with an introduction from Morse, Fenollosa travelled to Japan for the first time, accompanied by his new wife, Lizzie Goodhue Millett, to teach political economy and philosophy at Tokyo’s Imperial University. Embracing Japanese art and culture, he became an active advocate for preserving the country’s art treasures and, with the Japanese artists Kanō Hōgai (see Kanō family §(16)) and Hashimoto Gahō, helped to revive the ...

Article

Thomas P. McNulty

(b Cleveland, OH, Aug 13, 1938).

American patron and collector. Born the second of six children to wealthy parents in Cleveland, Gund was exposed to the arts—and to art collecting in particular—by her father, George Gund (1888–1966), a banking and investment professional. Gund received a BA in art history from Connecticut College, New London, in 1960, and an MA, also in art history, from Harvard University in 1980. The mother of four children with her first husband, Albrecht Saalfield, she is perhaps best known for her work in museum administration and governance. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, since 1976, as the Board’s President from 1991 to 2002, and subsequently as a Member Emerita. As President of the MOMA board, she built upon the progress made by her predecessor Donald Marron (an executive at Paine Webber). She also served as Chairwoman of the Board of Directors at MOMA PS1—an affiliation that began in ...

Article

Shearer West

(b Kilbride, Western Isles, May 23, 1718; d London, March 30, 1783).

Scottish physician, patron, collector and museum founder. His father intended him for the Church, but Hunter’s desire to practise medicine took him in 1741 to London, where he was assistant to Dr James Douglas. From 1746 he gave public lectures on anatomy. He obtained his licence from the Royal College of Physicians in 1756 and became an FRS in 1768, when he was also appointed the first Professor of Anatomy at the Royal Academy. Johann Zoffany’s painting of Dr William Hunter Lecturing at the Royal Academy of Arts (c. 1773; London, Royal Coll. Physicians) reveals Hunter’s method of lecturing before écorché casts modelled from the corpses of criminals executed at Tyburn. Hunter’s interest in natural history combined with that in anatomy and dissection induced him to stress the minute study of nature—an emphasis that contrasted with Joshua Reynolds’s insistence on the generalized presentation of forms.

Hunter was an avid collector of paintings, books and manuscripts, as well as geological, ethnographic, zoological and anatomical objects. He began collecting at the sale of ...

Article

Judith Delfiner

(Virginia)

(b Cleveland, OH, Feb 14, 1914; d Houston, TX, Feb 18, 1964).

American curator, museum director, and art professor. MacAgy broke with conventional 19th-century manners of displaying art and built exhibitions from an ahistorical, formalist, and highly subjective approach. Her exhibitions mingled different types of arts and artefacts—handmade and mass produced, modern and ancient—garnered from around the world. She studied art history at Radcliffe College, Cambridge, MA, where she was awarded a BA in 1935. After returning to Cleveland, she attended Western Reserve University, receiving an MA in 1938 and a PhD in 1939 with a dissertation on the folk art of Ohio’s Western Reserve. She began her career as an instructor in the education department of the Cleveland Museum of Art to which Douglas MacAgy was attached. She and MacAgy married in 1941 and moved to San Francisco where she joined the curatorial staff of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. There she mounted her first exhibition in 1942...

Article

Gary Schwartz

[Jean-Michel]

(b Paris, Oct 3, 1928; d Branford, CT, July 26, 2005).

French art historian and economist, active in the USA. Montias was a specialist in Eastern European command economies who in mid-career changed fields and became a historian of Dutch painting. His interest in the subject was threefold. Before he began writing on Dutch art, he collected it, with the advice of a leading specialist in the field, Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann, a fellow professor at Yale University. This led him to pursue knowledge concerning the minor masters he could afford, which brought him closer to the basics of the Dutch art world. It was an approach diametrically opposed to how most students learn about this material, which is from the iconic masterworks down. His second focus of interest was economic. Three-quarters of a century after the appearance of the last, largely anecdotal survey of the economics of Dutch art, by Hanns Floerke, Montias applied the techniques of neo-classical economics to the field in a way that was accessible to art historians. Entirely on his own, he opened up new perspectives that inspired art historians, economists, and economic historians alike to revisit the subject of Dutch art. Thirdly, Montias was entranced by the ...

Article

Deborah Cullen

[MoMA] (New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 by patrons Lillie P(lummer) Bliss, Cornelius J. Sullivan and Rockefeller family §(1) to establish an institution devoted to modern art. Over the next ten years the Museum moved three times and in 1939 settled in the Early Modern style building (1938–9) designed by Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone that it still occupies at 11 West 53 Street. Subsequent renovations and expansions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s by Philip Johnson, in 1984 by Cesar Pelli and in 2002–4 by Yoshirō Taniguchi (b 1937). MoMA QNS, the temporary headquarters during this project, was subsequently used to provide art storage. In 2000, MoMA and the contemporary art space, P.S.1, Long Island City, Queens, announced their affiliation. Recent projects are shown at P.S.1 in Queens in a renovated public school building.

According to founding director, Alfred H(amilton) Barr...

Article

Tracy Fitzpatrick

Artists’ association, art school and exhibition space. The National Academy of Design (NAD; now known as the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts) was one of the earliest organizations in the USA devoted to the development of the fine arts. It was established in 1825 as an honorary association and art school with a permanent collection and an annual exhibition program. The earliest institution of its kind in the USA, it was modeled after the Royal Academy in England as an artist-run organization founded to “promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition.” As the 19th century progressed the NAD developed a reputation for conservatism.

The NAD emerged as an itinerant institution with locations in sites around New York City. It opened its first permanent space, a Venetian Gothic-revival building designed by Peter B(onnett) Wight, in 1865. In 1942, it moved to its current location, a Beaux-Arts building donated by Archer Milton Huntington and Anna Hyatt Huntington, who was a member of the Academy. Its permanent homes have allowed it to house its meeting space, collection, school and exhibitions under the same roof....

Article

Museum and school of fine arts founded in Philadelphia in 1805. The driving force in the creation of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was Peale family, §1 who, a few years earlier, had led the formation of Philadelphia’s first art organization, the short-lived Columbianum Academy. The Pennsylvania Academy’s 71 founders, mostly lawyers and businessmen, decreed that its purpose was to provide opportunities for art instruction and to mount exhibitions in order “to promote the cultivation of the Fine Arts, in the United States of America …” Although the mission of the Academy did not change, the founders neither envisioned nor planned for the highly organized curriculum and the large permanent collection that emerged by the end of the 19th century.

The Academy opened its first building in April 1806. The initial educational approach, based on that of the English Royal Academy, relied on copying from plaster casts of antique sculpture and from paintings on display, many of which were European. While formal classes were decades away, opportunities to draw from a model were often available, and critiques from Academy artists such as ...

Article

David Mannings

(b Plympton, Devon, July 16, 1723; d London, Feb 23, 1792).

English painter, collector and writer. The foremost portrait painter in England in the 18th century, he transformed early Georgian portraiture by greatly enlarging its range. His poses, frequently based on the Old Masters or antique sculpture, were intended to invoke classical values and to enhance the dignity of his sitters. His rich colour, strong lighting and free handling of paint greatly influenced the generation of Thomas Lawrence and Henry Raeburn. His history and fancy pictures explored dramatic and emotional themes that became increasingly popular with both artists and collectors in the Romantic period. As first president of the Royal Academy in London, he did more than anyone to raise the status of art and artists in Britain. His Discourses on Art, delivered to the students and members of the Academy between 1769 and 1790, are the most eloquent and widely respected body of art criticism by any English writer.

Although Reynolds’s father, a fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, and master of Plympton Grammar School, had intended that his son train as an apothecary, Joshua chose instead to seek fame as a painter. In ...

Article

Ethan Robey

Fund-raising events organized by Sanitary Commissions in various cities from 1863 to 1865 in aid of the Union army. The fairs included some of the most influential public displays of the fine arts in America up to that point and were an impetus for the establishment of major art museums in American cities. The US Sanitary Commission, formed in early 1861 at the urging of private citizens, purchased supplies for Union soldiers, worked to improve military hospitals and coordinated the activities of the many local aid agencies involved in similar work.

The fairs grew out of the efforts, mostly of women, working at the Commission’s local branches. The Northwest Branch of the Sanitary Commission was the first to host a fair, organizing a public exhibition in Chicago in the fall of 1863. Such exhibitions soon became a chief source of fund-raising for the Commission. Sanitary fairs were eclectic displays, including exhibits of commercial goods, fine arts, machinery and domestic crafts. The form was similar to the displays of goods at Mechanics’ Institute fairs, yet, unlike those events, where education through object lessons was paramount, sanitary fairs, as primarily fund-raising enterprises, tended more toward spectacle, with an emphasis on patriotic themes. Lavish floral displays were common, as were exhibits of war trophies and relics and contests to award ornate mementos to favored Union generals and admirals. Admission fees were relatively high, around $2 in some cities, at a time when other shows or spectacles were often 25¢ or less....

Article

Ilaria Bignamini

(b London, 1715; d Maidstone, Dec 28, 1803).

English drawing-master. The son of a stationer, he began his career as a painter and drawing-master at Northampton. He developed his ideas for art premiums in part from similar awards introduced at the time at local horse fairs and races; eventually this led to Shipley’s publication of two pamphlets, the Proposal for Raising by Subscription a Fund to be Distributed in Premiums for the Promoting of Improvements in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, Manufactures, etc and the Scheme for Putting the Proposals in Execution (1753). These provided the foundation stones of the new Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. The Society was established in London in 1754, shortly after Shipley had moved there and set up (1753) a private drawing school—Shipley’s Academy—in the Strand. This school played an influential role in art instruction during the later 1750s and 1760s; its students included the landscape watercolour painter ...

Article

Michelle Yun

[ Huei-Zu ]

(b Taipei, Taiwan, 1961; d New York, NY, Feb 8, 1997).

Taiwanese curator and art historian. Yang immigrated to the United States at age 15. She received a BA in Art History from Yale University in 1984 that included a six-month sabbatical to Jinan University in Guangzhou to study Chinese in 1982. Yang was exposed to art from a young age through her mother, Suhwa Chou Yang, who ran the Hunglin Art Gallery in Taipei in the 1970s. Upon graduation Yang held internships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art , both in New York, before accepting a position as Assistant Curator at the New Museum, New York, in 1988. Notable exhibitions she curated during her time at the New Museum include 1+1+1: Works by Alfredo Jaar (1992); Skin Deep (1993); and The Final Frontier (1993). She left the New Museum in 1993 to work as an independent curator and critic while studying to earn a PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. In early ...