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Aileen June Wang

(b San Leandro, CA, Feb 3, 1972).

American performance and video artist of Chinese ancestry. Chang earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego in 1994. She showed her first solo exhibition at Jack Tilton Gallery, New York, in 1999. Her body of work focused on how people can be deceived, either through sight—what one sees is not necessarily true—or through mainstream assumptions about such topics as Asia, sexuality, and socially accepted behavior. Chang attributed her past stint in a cybersex company as the catalyst for exploring illusion as a theme. She realized that video flattened three-dimensional, live performances into a stream of two-dimensional images, enabling her to engage in visual deception.

Most of Chang’s early works investigated problems of gender and sexuality, using her own body and elements suggesting violence or transgression. The photograph Fountain (1999) depicted her inside a cubicle of a public lavatory, with a urinal visible on the far wall. Wearing a business suit, she knelt on hands and knees, seemingly kissing herself but actually slurping water off a mirror on the floor. The accompanying video focused on Chang’s face and her passionate interaction with her own reflection. While the photograph suggested female humiliation in a male world, the video complicated matters by implying that the act was motivated by narcissism....

Article

Anne K. Swartz

(b Wasco, CA, 1945).

American installation, video and performance artist. The oldest of three children of a father from Tennessee and a mother with a Canadian–Scottish background, Lacy attended Bakersfield Junior College in 1963 and continued her studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. After receiving her BA in Zoology she joined Volunteers in Service Training to America (VISTA), administrated by the Maryland School of Social Design, becoming a community organizer in health care.

In Washington, DC, in 1969, she became radicalized as a feminist. She applied to graduate school at Fresno State University to study psychology. There she encountered Faith Wilding, a graduate student in English, and they began leading consciousness raising sessions. Soon after, artist Judy Chicago arrived from Los Angeles and started the Feminist Art Program; Lacy joined the program with Wilding and made the decision to become an artist (though she did continue to take classes in psychology at the same time). There, she learned to make art from her experience, including performances with other members of the program....

Article

Virginie Bobin

(b New York, NY, Nov 20, 1942).

American composer, performer, choreographer, vocalist, filmmaker and visual artist. After graduating from a combined performing arts program at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY, in 1964, Monk joined the Judson Church group, which influenced her use of gestural movements in dance and her denial of the proscenium, already at stake in early pieces such as Juice: A Theater Cantata in 3 Installments (1969), which was performed in the spiraled ramp of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Minor Latham Playhouse at Barnard College and at her own New York loft. She founded her own company in 1968, the House, to explore an interdisciplinary approach to performance and quickly imposed her own style through pioneering site-specific works that established correspondences between dance, cinema, music and theater, and often explored cosmic themes such as spirituality, the quest of identity or the building of a community, as in Vessel, an Opera Epic...

Article

Christine Filippone

(b Brooklyn, NY, July 29, 1943).

American photographer, video and performance artist, and critic. Rosler attended the Brooklyn Museum School and became involved in Civil Rights and anti-nuclear protests as a teenager. During this time, she saw a number of European films, notably filmmaker Sergey Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (1925) and films by Jean-Luc Godard, as well as productions at the Living Theatre including those by playwright Bertolt Brecht, all of which became important influences for her. She also became part of the avant-garde East Village scene, which included the poet David Antin and the artist Eleanor Antin; through Antin and the poet Jerome Rothenberg she was introduced to the work of Fluxus, including Yoko Ono, and the performances of Carolee Schneemann.

At Brooklyn College, City University of New York, Rosler studied with Jimmy Ernst and attended classes held by Ad(olph Dietrich Friedrich) Reinhardt; she received her BA in English in 1965. In 1968 she moved to San Diego, where she became part of the Southern California feminist movement. In ...