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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

Andrew Weiner

(b Beirut, 1925).

Lebanese painter and writer active in the USA. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Adnan was educated in Lebanon before going on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and the University of California, Berkeley. For many years she taught aesthetics at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA; she also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities. During the 1970s Adnan regularly contributed editorials, essays, and cultural criticism to the Beirut-based publications Al-Safa and L’Orient-Le Jour. In 1978 she published the novel Sitt Marie Rose, which won considerable acclaim for its critical portrayal of cultural and social politics during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War. Adnan published numerous books of poetry, originating in her opposition to the American war in Vietnam and proceeding to encompass topics as diverse as the landscape of Northern California and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Her poetry served as the basis for numerous works of theater and contemporary classical music....

Article

Chika Okeke-Agulu

(b Cairo, May 22, 1963).

American painter, sculptor, fibre and installation artist of Egyptian birth. Amer, one of the few young artists of African origin to gain prominence in the late 1990s international art scene, studied painting in France at the Villa Arson EPIAR, Nice (MFA, 1989), and the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Art Plastique, Paris (1991). She subsequently moved to New York. She is best known for her canvases in which paint and embroidery are combined to explore themes of love, desire, sexuality, and women’s identity in a patriarchal world. Amer’s use of Embroidery, historically regarded as a genteel female craft, to create images of women fulfilling their sexual desires without inhibition, recalls the provocations and strategies of 1970s Western feminist art. However, her work also reflects her alarm at the incremental curbing of women’s social and political freedoms in her native Egypt following the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, especially after the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser ended in ...

Article

Dennis Raverty

(b Tehran, Jul 10, 1939).

American sculptor of Iranian birth. Armajani studied in Iran at the University of Tehran before immigrating to the USA in 1960 to complete his studies in philosophy at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, where he settled permanently. He became a naturalized US citizen in 1967. Armajani used the language of vernacular architecture in his sculpture to create spaces into which the viewer moves, sometimes being literally surrounded by the sculpture. Cellar doors, back stairways, loading docks, benches, bridges, porches, gazebos, and other such homely architectural elements are the inspiration for his sculptures and installations. Early in Armajani’s career he was on the faculty of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where he lectured on philosophy and conceptual art, but he left teaching in 1975 to concentrate exclusively on his sculpture.

Armajani stated repeatedly that his intention was to create a “neighborly” space, that is, a space that brings people together. His public sculpture is perhaps best thought of as social sculpture, in the sense meant by postwar German artist Joseph Beuys: a community-seeking, politically progressive, public art. Armajani’s many commissions include the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge in Minneapolis (...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Morristown, NJ, Oct 29, 1955).

American sculptor. He studied Oriental and Middle Eastern cultures and languages before later graduating in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA 1993). Ashkin gained international recognition in the mid-1990s for his tabletop dioramas of inhospitable, often deserted, American landscapes. Influenced by Robert Smithson’s interest in the concept of entropy as well as more traditional landscape discourses such as Romanticism and the Sublime, Ashkin’s work has often suggested vast inhuman wastelands, although their real scale might only be a few square feet. His earliest works concentrated on semi-arid deserts, but soon the dominant motif switched to semi-stagnant marshes. No. 33 (1996; see exh. cat.), typical of the numerical nomination of his work, depicts a long, thin freeway in a swampy wilderness; a single truck drives along and telegraph wires line the road, suggesting vast distances. No. 15 (1996; see exh. cat.) is smaller in size, though again the tiny scale of the trucks that pass in convoy over a swampy, pock-marked landscape suggest great expanse. More recently Ashkin has expanded his practice into video and photography exploring the Sublime. ...

Article

(b Seattle, WA, Aug 7, 1929).

American painter. Baer was educated at the University of Washington, Seattle. She worked during the spring and summer of 1950 on a kibbutz in Israel before moving to New York City, where she studied with the Graduate Faculty at the New School for Social Research from 1950 to 1953. In 1953, she married television writer Robert Baer and moved to Los Angeles, CA. Her son Joshua was born in 1955. By the late 1950s, she was working in an abstract painting style inspired by Abstract Expressionism, which she later rejected, and was peripherally associated with the activities of the avant-garde Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles.

In 1959, she began living with the artist John Wesley, whom she married in 1960 before moving back to New York City with him; they divorced in 1969. By 1960, her painting became more hard-edged and reductive. Two years later, she met Donald Judd and ...

Article

Briony Llewellyn

(b London, March 26, 1809; d at sea, off Malta, Sept 13, 1854).

English draughtsman , active also in the Near East, Continental Europe and North America. He was a prolific artist and an intrepid traveller. His work became widely known through numerous engravings after his drawings published in his own and other writers’ topographical books. His primary concern was to extract the picturesque aspects of a place and by means of established pictorial conventions to render ‘lively impressions of actual sights’, as he wrote in the preface to The Nile Boat (London, 1849).

During his apprenticeship to John Britton between 1822 and 1829, Bartlett travelled widely in Great Britain and contributed illustrations to several of his master’s antiquarian works. The popularity of travel books in the 1830s and early 1840s provided Bartlett with several commissions. He illustrated John Carne’s Syria, the Holy Land, Asia Minor &c (London, 1836–8), William Beattie’s Switzerland Illustrated (London, 1836) and The Waldenses (London, 1838), Julia Pardoe’s ...

Article

Linda Mowat

Artefacts of more or less rigid construction produced by the interlacing of linear materials. Basketwork is of considerable antiquity (dating from at least 8000 bc in Egypt and Peru) and in one form or other has been practised almost everywhere in the world.

Basketry materials vary according to the environment of the basketmaker: the wood, bark, roots, shoots, stems, leaves and fibre of hundreds of trees and plants can be used. With few exceptions, these materials take time to find, select, gather and prepare. Many require pounding, stripping, splitting, gauging, drying, dyeing, bleaching or soaking before they can be used. The acquisition and preparation of materials often takes longer than the actual making of the basket.

Many of the baskets of northern and western Europe are made from rods of osier or basket willow. In North America splint baskets are made from split ash, oak, maple and hickory in the east; ...

Article

Martha Schwendener

[Ben Youseph Nathan, Esther Zeghdda]

(b London, Nov 21, 1869; d Brooklyn, NY, Nov 27, 1933).

American photographer. Born Esther Zeghdda Ben Youseph Nathan to a German mother and an Algerian father, she immigrated to the United States in 1895. She worked as a milliner in New York before opening a photographic portrait studio in 1897. Her ‘gallery of illustrious Americans’ featured actresses, politicians, and fashionable socialites, including President Theodore Roosevelt, author Edith Wharton, artist William Merritt Chase, and actress Julia Marlowe. Ben-Yusuf also created Pictorialist-inspired artwork like The Odor of Pomegranates (1899; see fig.), an allegory informed by the myth of Persephone and the idea of the pomegranate as a tantalizing but odourless fruit. Ben-Yusuf was included in an exhibition organized by the Linked Ring, Brotherhood of the in London in 1896 and continued to exhibit in the group’s annual exhibitions until 1902. Her photographs were exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1898 and at the Camera Club of New York in ...

Article

Konjit Seyoum

[Eskender, Alexander]

(b Addis Ababa, July 22, 1937; d Washington, DC May 4, 2003).

Ethiopian painter of Armenian descent, active in the USA. Boghossian studied at St Martin’s School of Art and the Central School in London from 1955 to 1957. He then moved to Paris to study at the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. During his Paris years, Boghossian embraced Pan-Africanist ideals and participated in the Negritude movement. Skunder returned to Ethiopia in 1966 and taught at the Fine Arts School in Addis Ababa, where he exerted considerable influence on young Ethiopian artists, until 1969. In 1967 he was awarded the Haile Selassie I Award for Fine Arts. He migrated to the United States in 1970 and became active in the Black Power movement. He joined Howard University in 1972 where he taught until 2001. During his tenure at Howard he inspired many Ethiopian diaspora and African American artists. Skunder drew on African mythology and Ethiopian Orthodox Church art to create mystical universes populated with masks, creatures, magical forms, and symbols. In works such as ...

Article

James D. Kornwolf

revised by Margaret Barlow

(b Buffalo, NY, May 9, 1909; d New York, Aug 6, 1990).

American architect. He graduated in architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (BArch, 1933; MArch, 1935). In the years 1935–7 he was in Europe and North Africa on the Rotch Traveling Scholarship. Following his return to New York in 1937 he joined the firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). In 1938, with Robert A. Green (b 1910), he submitted a design in the well-known Wheaton College Art Center (Illinois) competition, which aimed at bringing modernism to the American campus. The scheme, which won an Honorable Mention, derived from Impington Village College (1936–9) by Walter Gropius and E. Maxwell Fry in Cambridgeshire, England, and the Bunshaft and Green design confirmed their acceptance of the International Style idiom. Bunshaft was thus among the first American architects to embrace European Modernism, but unlike others, such as Edward Durrell Stone, Philip Johnson, and Eero Saarinen, he never rejected its machine-age imperatives. More pragmatic and vernacular in his approach, he never entered the arena of architectural theory, history, or criticism....

Article

(Ivan)

(b Groznyy, Azerbaijan, Oct 8, 1900; d Wellfleet, MA, May 8, 1996).

British–American architect of Russian birth. Chermayeff was educated in Moscow before immigrating to England in 1910 and completing his education at Harrow. In 1917 he served briefly as an interpreter to General Maynard in Murmansk and from 1918 to 1923 worked as a journalist for Amalgamated Press in London, where, because of his taste for jazz and ballroom dancing, he obtained the editorship of Dancing World magazine. Chermayeff studied art and architecture at various schools in Europe (1922–5), and in 1924 he became chief designer for the decorators E. Williams Ltd, doing ‘period’ rooms.

In 1928 Chermayeff was naturalized as a British citizen and became director of the Modern Art Department of Waring & Gillow, where he collaborated with the French designer Paul Follot; here he organized the first exhibition of modern furnishings in England, Modern Art in French and English Furniture and Decoration. From 1930 to 1932...

Article

Francis Summers

American photographers and conceptual artists of Irish and Israeli birth. Collaborating under a corporate-sounding name, Michael Clegg (b Dublin, 1957) and Martin Guttman (b Jerusalem, 1957) began making photographs together in 1980. Using corporate group portraits as their resource material, they made constructed photographs in the manner of 17th-century Dutch paintings. A Group Portrait of the Executives of a World Wide Company (1980; see 1989 exh. cat., p. 33) shows five suited men seated in a brooding darkness, their heads and hands illuminated in a chiaroscuro effect. The reference to historical paintings is made particularly explicit in The Art Consultants (1986; see 1989 exh. cat., p. 37): the figures are posed directly in front of a canvas so as to mirror the painted figures, illustrating Clegg & Guttman’s proposition that within the hierarchies of power, the essential nature of pose, emblems and dress have remained relatively unchanged for centuries. Pushing these images to the point of indetermination, Clegg & Guttman also occasionally carried out actual commissions (although not always successfully), as well as creating collaged and altered portraits such as ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Ehden, Lebanon, Sept 14, 1912; d 1994).

American painter and stained-glass artist, of Lebanese birth. After an apprenticeship with the Lebanese painter Habib Srour (1860–1938) in Beirut, he studied from 1932 to 1936 at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris. In 1934 he received the top award for drawing at the school and later exhibited his work at the Salon des Artistes Français. After graduating in 1936, he returned to Lebanon, opening a studio in Beirut, and becoming well known in the early 1940s for his frescoes in the Maronite church at Diman. At the same time his paintings of Lebanese life and the countryside came to public notice when he exhibited at the gallery of the Hotel St–Georges, Beirut, though by the late 1940s he had begun to simplify the style of his work. In 1950 he moved to New York, where his paintings became increasingly abstract, consisting of flat forms of brilliant colour with hard straight edges. Although he was influenced by the artistic life around him, and by his acquaintance with Rothko, Hans Hofmann and Ad Reinhardt, he did not join any group or movement. He became an American citizen in ...

Article

Emerald  

Gordon Campbell

Green variety of Beryl, mined in Upper Egypt and India from antiquity and in Colombia both before and after the Spanish Conquest. Nero is said to have watched gladiatorial contests through an emerald. The two best-known emeralds are the Devonshire Emerald (London, Nat. Hist. Mus.) and the Patricia Emerald (New York, Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist.). The most famous historical emeralds are the 453 emeralds (totalling ...

Article

Etowah  

David S. Brose

Site in north-west Georgia, USA, where a densely occupied, haphazardly planned agricultural village flourished in the Mississippian period (c. ad 1000–c. 1600). It covers 21 ha at the junction of the southern Appalachian Mountains and the piedmont, at the major fork of the Coosa River. The site was surrounded by palisades with outworks. Within the village area were three large mounds arranged around an open plaza. Mound A, the largest, has a ramp. Both it and Mound B are flat-topped pyramidal structures, presumably built to support temple buildings. Excavations in Mound C (intermittent since 1884) reveal it to have been built in at least three stages, during the construction of which over 300 burials were interred.

In the last stage, after c. ad 1400, only a few socially élite burials (including rather impoverished retainers) were placed in a tomb dug below the floor of a temple on Mound C’s final summit. Large carved stone cult statues marked the entrance to the burial chamber. The élite individuals were fully dressed in ritual costumes and were accompanied by ...

Article

Robert J. Belton

(b Jassy [now Iaşi], Romania, Aug 29, 1933).

Canadian sculptor, film maker, costume designer, playwright and poet of Romanian birth. His formal art training began in 1945 but in 1950 he emigrated to Israel. From 1953 he studied at the Institute of Painting and Sculpture in Tel Aviv. Etrog’s first one-man exhibition took place in 1958 and consisted of Painted Constructions, wood and canvas objects blurring the distinctions between painting and low relief (see Heinrich). In these works he tried to embody uncertainties that stemmed from his experience of Nazi aggression as a boy. The results were loosely expressionistic versions of geometric abstraction, derived in part from the work of Paul Klee.

Assisted by the painter Marcel Janco, Etrog went on a scholarship to New York, where he was inspired by Oceanic and African artefacts he saw in the collections there. This led to a preoccupation with organic abstractions, flowing totemic forms, and metaphors of growth and movement, seen in ...

Article

George Bankes

Pre-Columbian culture and art style that flourished in northern coastal Peru during the Early Intermediate period, between c. 300 bc and c. ad 200. It was named after the site of Gallinazo (Sp. ‘turkey buzzard’) in the Virú valley, which was excavated by the American archaeologist Wendell Bennett in 1936. The Gallinazo culture has been shown to have succeeded that of Salinar in the Virú, Moche and Chicama valleys. Gallinazo architecture in the Virú valley was characterized by a honeycomb dwelling pattern. Some of the walls of the buildings were decorated with cut-out designs in tapia (puddled clay) and adobe mosaics, such as the frieze at El Carmelo. The Gallinazo culture as represented in the Virú valley was subdivided by Bennett into three phases, on the basis of changes in building methods and pottery styles. Gallinazo i is characterized by incised and punch-decorated pottery with some use of negative-painted decoration, which involved covering the design areas in a heat-resistant substance and then firing it. The substance was removed after firing, leaving the negative design. In Gallinazo ...

Article

Gensler  

Sara Stevens

American architectural firm started by Arthur Gensler Drue Gensler, and Jim Follett in 1965 in San Francisco, CA. M. Arthur Gensler jr (b Brooklyn, New York, 1935) attended Cornell University to study architecture (BArch, 1957). The firm began doing build-outs for retail stores and corporate offices, and initially established itself in the unglamorous area of interior architecture. Thirty years later and without mergers or acquisitions, it had grown to become one of the largest architecture firms in the world, having pioneered the global consultancy firm specializing in coordinated rollouts of multi-site building programmes. By 2012 the firm had over 3000 employees in over 40 offices. From the beginning, Art Gensler conceived of a global firm with multiple offices serving corporate clients whose businesses were becoming more international. Instead of the ‘starchitect’ model of his contemporaries such as I. M. Pei or Paul Rudolph, Gensler wanted an ego-free office that existed to serve client needs, not pursue a designer’s aesthetic agenda at the client’s expense. By adopting new web-based computing technologies and integrated design software in the early 1990s, the firm stayed well connected across their many offices and were more able than their competitors to manage large multi-site projects. Expanding from the services a traditional architecture firm offers, the company pushed into new areas well suited to their information technology and interiors expertise, such as organizational design, project management, and strategic facilities planning....

Article

Despina Stratigakos

(b Riga, Latvia, March 12, 1901; d Washington, DC, April 19, 1978).

American architect of Latvian birth, active also in Palestine. Gidoni was a Berlin-based architect who was among those who fled Nazi persecution and helped to bring European modernism to Palestine and the USA. She attended the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg in Russia and received further training at the Berlin Technical University, but did not graduate with a degree. In 1928 she opened an office for interior design in Berlin. When Adolf Hitler seized power in 1933, her Jewish background put her at peril. Hearing that people with technical skills were needed for the construction of new cities in Palestine, she resettled in Tel Aviv, where she maintained her own architecture office from 1933 to 1938. Both her design skills and the vision of a modern architecture that she had brought with her from Berlin were in demand. Tel Aviv was not only growing rapidly, but also developing a new style....