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Mark Allen Svede

(b Liepāja, April 14, 1939; d West Berlin, Feb 14, 1984).

Latvian performance artist. He arrived in Germany at the age of five as a refugee and later triumphed over geopolitical circumstances to help revitalize artistic culture in his occupied homeland. While pursuing architectural studies at the Technische Hochschule in Aachen (1961–71), he grew interested in the interplay of progressive politics and innovative art forms, which prompted early collaborations with Wolf Vostell and Joseph Beuys, such as their performance 20 July ’64. In 1966 Āboliņš and Gerd Vorhoff founded the Neue Galerie in Aachen, where they organized happenings and performances by Beuys, Jörg Immendorff, Nam June Paik, Tomas Schmit and other key members of Fluxus, the movement instigated by another exiled Balt, the composer George Maciunas (1931–78). At the same time, inspired by the New Left, Āboliņš combated artistic provincialism within the conservative Latvian émigré community by proposing a cultural rapprochement with Soviet Latvia. Advocating an international—rather than a narrowly nationalist—Latvian identity, Āboliņš helped to organize in ...

Article

(b Geneva, June 24, 1948).

Swiss draughtsman, performance artist, painter, and sculptor. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Geneva (1966–7) and at the Glamorgan Summer School, Britain (1969). Armleder is known primarily for his involvement with Fluxus during the 1960s and 1970s, which included performances, installations, and collective activities. He was a member of the Groupe Luc Bois, based in Geneva in 1963. In 1969, with Patrick Lucchini and Claude Rychner, he was a founder-member of the Groupe Ecart, Geneva, from which stemmed the Galerie Ecart (1973) and its associated performance group (1974) and publications. Armleder’s first exhibition was at the Galerie Ecart in 1973, followed in the same year by one at the Palais de l’Athénée, Geneva. The anti-establishment and anti-formalist philosophy of the Fluxus groups continued in Armleder’s mixed-media works of later years, which include the Furniture Sculpture of the 1980s. In works that couple objects (second-hand or new) with abstract paintings executed by Armleder himself, and which often refer ironically to earlier modernist abstract examples, he questioned the context in which art is placed and the notion of authenticity in art. Such concerns continued to appear in his work. Armleder’s ...

Article

[It.: ‘impoverished art’]

Term coined by the Genoese critic Germano Celant in 1967 for a group of Italian artists who, from the late 1960s, attempted to break down the ‘dichotomy between art and life’ (Celant: Flash Art, 1967), mainly through the creation of happenings and sculptures made from everyday materials. Such an attitude was opposed to the conventional role of art merely to reflect reality. The first Arte Povera exhibition was held at the Galleria La Bertesca, Genoa, in 1967. Subsequent shows included those at the Galleria De’Foscherari in Bologna and the Arsenale in Amalfi (both 1968), the latter containing examples of performance art by such figures as Michelangelo Pistoletto. In general the work is characterized by startling juxtapositions of apparently unconnected objects: for example, in Venus of the Rags (1967; Naples, Di Bennardo col., see 1989 exh. cat., p. 365), Pistoletto created a vivid contrast between the cast of an antique sculpture (used as if it were a ready-made) and a brightly coloured pile of rags. Such combination of Classical and contemporary imagery had been characteristic of Giorgio de Chirico’s work from ...

Article

Ben  

Vanina Costa

[Vautier, Benjamin]

(b Naples, Italy, July 18, 1935).

French painter and performance artist. In 1949 he settled in Nice, where in 1958 he bought a record shop, which he used to stage exhibitions. In this gallery, which he initially called Laboratoire 32, and later Galerie Ben Doute de Tout, he held his first one-man show in 1960. Self-taught, he was by this time producing paintings of large handwritten words on a plain background, often coloured black and white, as in Je suis un menteur (1959; see 1987 exh. cat., p. 24). In an equally subversive spirit he created the Vomit Pictures (1958; see 1987 exh. cat., p. 14), which consisted of black canvases on to which he vomited. In the early 1960s he became associated with Fluxus, inscribing a ping-pong ball ‘Dieu’ for his Fluxbox Containing God (1961; see 1987 exh. cat., pp. 54–5) and in 1962 taking part in the Festival of Misfits at Gallery One in London. His Fluxus editioned works were often containers filled with everyday objects or materials, such as ...

Article

Heiner Stachelhaus

revised by Ina Blom

(b Krefeld, May 12, 1921; d Düsseldorf, Jan 23, 1986).

German sculptor, performance artist, printmaker teacher, and political activist. He opposed a concept of art based on such autonomous genres as panel painting and sculpture. Instead he pursued in his performance art (‘Aktionen’) and sculpture an ‘expanded concept of art’, aimed at a total permeation of life by creative acts. By his provocative and often misunderstood statement that ‘each person is an artist’, he did not mean that everyone is a painter or a sculptor. Rather, he wanted to express the idea that any person could become creatively active. This concept culminated logically in his idea of ‘social sculpture’, an art designed to activate the creative power possessed by every individual to form his or her own life situation.

As a schoolboy Beuys was strongly interested in natural science, which remained significant for his later work. After taking his Abitur in 1940 in Kleve on the Lower Rhine, where he grew up, he first wanted to become a paediatrician. However, in ...

Article

Erró  

Ađalsteinn Ingólfsson

[GuÐmundsson, GuÐmundur]

(b Ólafsvík, July 19, 1932).

Icelandic painter. He studied at the Myndlista-og handíÐaskóli Íslands (Icelandic School of Arts and Crafts, Reykjavík, 1949–51) and the Kunstakademi, Oslo (1952–4), where he specialized in fresco painting and printmaking. He undertook further studies in painting and mosaic at the Accademie in Florence and Ravenna (1954–7). He settled in Paris in 1958, later dividing his time between Paris, Bangkok, the Mediterranean island of Formentera and Reykjavík. During his period of study he undertook numerous experiments with style, which coalesced in Italy as a polemic figuration in the Carcasses series (e.g. Black Bull, 1956; Jerusalem, Israel Mus.)

A cosmopolitan and eclectic artist, Erró developed his work from his study of Old Masters such as Uccello and Bosch, and his close association with the Chilean Surrealist Roberto Matta in 1959. Photomontages and assemblages of found objects underlay his continued interest in Surrealist techniques. In the early 1960s, prompted by repeated visits to the USA, Erró began using popular imagery. In common with other artists associated with ...

Article

Vanina Costa

(b Sauve, Gard, Jan 17, 1926; d les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, nr Périgueux, Dec 2, 1987).

French performance artist, conceptual artist and writer. He studied economics and science at the University of California at Los Angeles from 1948 to 1951, but he was self-taught as an artist. Having first worked as a playwright during the second half of the 1950s, in 1960 he presented the first of his performances incorporating poetry. By 1962 he was involved with the Fluxus movement; sharing his fellow artists’ distaste for marketable art objects, he not only continued to create performances and other ephemeral works but also involved himself in conceptual gestures such as the foundation of a ‘République Géniale’. He made films and videos, sent enigmatic objects through the post as a form of correspondence art and worked against traditional ideas about the individuality of the artist by working collaboratively with others: in 1964 he and Joachim Pfeufer created the Poïpoïdrome, a group researching ‘permanent creation’ and the ‘principle of equivalence’, and in ...

Article

Fluxus  

Michael Corris

Informal international group of avant-garde artists working in a wide range of media and active from the early 1960s to the late 1970s. Their activities included public concerts or festivals and the dissemination of innovatively designed anthologies and publications, including scores for electronic music, theatrical performances, ephemeral events, gestures and actions constituted from the individual’s everyday experience. Other types of work included the distribution of object editions, correspondence art and concrete poetry. According to the directions of the artist, Fluxus works often required the participation of a spectator in order to be completed (see Performance art).

The name Fluxus, taken from the Latin for ‘flow’, was originally conceived by the American writer, performance artist and composer George Maciunas (1931–78) in 1961 as the title for a projected series of anthologies profiling the work of such artists as the composer La Monte Young (b 1935), ...

Article

Sarah Cook and Marialaura Ghidini

[net art]

Sarah Cook and Marialaura Ghidini

Art that uses the Internet not only as its tool of production and distribution but also as its source material or medium, and exploits or reflects the Internet’s inherently connective characteristics. While not a distinct art form or style, Internet art has been discussed in connection to the history of media art, predominantly through studies of the screen (see Bosma, 2013; Manovich, 2001) and the way things are framed, including still or moving images (see Video art and New media art in India). Internet art exceeds this narrow definition and its lineage can be better understood in the context of telecommunications, with a focus on information exchange and its occurrences through networked channels of transmission and their inherent politics. Because of this it is linked to Conceptual art practices, including intermedia art, Fluxus, and Correspondence art (such as the work of Knowles, Alison...

Article

Anna Bentkowska

(b Wielopole, nr Kraków, April 6, 1915; d Kraków, Dec 8, 1990).

Polish painter, draughtsman, theatre director and stage designer. He studied painting and stage design under Karol Frycz (1877–1963) at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, graduating in 1939. After the outbreak of World War II he organized in Kraków an experimental underground theatre (1942–4), exhibitions and art discussions. He painted and produced numerous drawings and stage designs for future performances. He was influenced by various artistic movements such as Constructivism, Expressionism and Futurism, as well as by the writings of Bruno Schultz (1892–1942) and Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (ii), whose plays he later staged. In 1947 he went to Paris, where at the Palais de la Découverte he ‘discovered’ the infinity of nature that he examined through the microscopic images of cells and cross-sections of minerals. As the scientific approach to this was beyond his means, he began to explore the natural world by developing the concept of inner, intellectual and spiritual space through the act of artistic creation. He called it ‘the umbrellic space’. A series of abstract and metaphorical paintings and drawings followed, with the motif of an umbrella that could ‘fold’ and ‘unfold’ the space (e.g. ...

Article

Jens Peter Munk

(b Copenhagen, Sept 1, 1938).

Danish painter, sculptor and writer. He graduated in geology from the University of Copenhagen in 1964 and did geological work in Greenland between 1958 and 1972. In 1962 he entered the Eksperimenterende Kunst-skole (Experimental Art School) in Copenhagen. His first one-man exhibitions were in 1964 at the Hovedbibliotek in Copenhagen and in 1965 at the Frie Udstilling, Copenhagen. His first important one-man exhibition abroad was at the Museum Folkwang, Essen, in 1977. He later exhibited widely at public and commercial galleries throughout Europe and the USA.

A prolific artist, Kirkeby used a range of different media. He was a member of the Fluxus group and was influenced by Pop art in the 1960s, as can be seen in The Price of your Stupidity (1964; ex-J. Hunov priv. col., see 1984 exh. cat.), an overpainted prototype for a series of modifications of diverse newspaper illustrations. Later he was influenced by Tachism and Abstract Expressionism. The vigorous brushwork and chromatic beauty of his, mostly untitled, paintings (e.g. ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Düsseldorf, April 11, 1939; d Düsseldorf, Nov 24, 1996).

German painter and dealer. He studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (19587ndash;62) and in 1963 co-staged two events, part exhibition and part happening, that betrayed the influence of both Pop art and the Fluxus movement. The first, Malerei und Grafik. Sonderausstellung, was organized with fellow graduates Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter and Manfred Kuttner in May of that year, in a disused shop at 31A Kaiserstrasse in Düsseldorf. The impact of popular contemporary trends from France, Britain and the USA was evident in the second happening that Lueg staged with Richter five months later, Leben mit Pop – eine Demonstration für den Kapitalischen Realismus, in a furniture department store (Möbelhaus Berges, Flingerstrasse 11, Düsseldorf). This featured the two artists as living sculptures alongside papier-mâché figures of American President John F. Kennedy and the art dealer Alfred Schmela, as well as works by Lueg, Richter and Joseph Beuys, amongst the furniture displays. The event was critical not only of the consumerism of post-war West Germany, but also of the art scene in Düsseldorf, which was dominated by Galerie and by the Zero group. Lueg’s subsequent work under the banner of ‘Capitalist Realism’ was a loose exploration of both popular imagery and commercial patterns, in paintings such as ...

Article

Julia Robinson

(b Kaunas, Lithuania, Nov 8, 1931; d Boston, MA, May 9, 1978).

American artist, architect and designer. Maciunias is best known as the key impresario of Fluxus, the international group of artists, composers, poets and performers who came together in 1962. Maciunas chose the name “Fluxus” to galvanize the radical activities of this group, and to define a sense of constant, dynamic, agitation and thus a politics for the work. Arriving in the USA in 1948, he studied graphic design at New York’s Cooper Union, architecture at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, PA, and art history at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. At this time he developed vast, genealogical art history charts, which he called “Learning Machines.” He later used this model to situate Fluxus within the genealogy of 20th century avant-gardes.

A 1960 class in Electronic Music with Richard Maxfield at the New School for Social Research introduced Maciunas to the New York avant-garde. In 1961 he opened the AG Gallery on Madison Avenue, New York, asking ...

Article

Barbara Haskell

(Thure)

(b Stockholm, Jan 28, 1929).

American sculptor, draughtsman, printmaker, performance artist, and writer of Swedish birth. He was brought from Sweden to the USA as an infant and moved with his family to Chicago in 1936 following his father’s appointment to the consulship there. Except for four years of study (1946–50) at Yale University in New Haven, CT, during which time he decided to pursue a career in art, Chicago remained his home until his move to New York in 1956. Within two years of this move, Oldenburg had become part of a group of artists who challenged Abstract Expressionism by modifying its thickly impastoed bravura paint with figurative images and found objects. Oldenburg’s first one-man show in 1959, at the Judson Gallery in New York, included figurative drawings and papier mâché sculptures. For his second show, also at the Judson Gallery, in 1960, shared with Jim Dine, Oldenburg transformed his expressionist, figurative paintings into a found-object environment, ...

Article

Mick Hartney

(b Seoul, July 20, 1932; d Miami, Jan 29, 2006).

South Korean video artist, performance artist, musician, sculptor, film maker, writer, and teacher, active in Germany and the USA (see fig.). From 1952 to 1956 he studied music and aesthetics at the University of Tokyo. In 1956 he moved to the Federal Republic of Germany: he studied music at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich, and worked with the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen at Darmstadt, before joining Fluxus, with whom he made performance art, experimental music, and ‘anti-films’ (e.g. the imageless Zen for Film, 1962). His Neo-Dada performances in Cologne during this period included a celebrated encounter with John Cage, during which he formed a lasting friendship with the avant-garde composer by cutting off his tie. Inspired by Cage’s ‘prepared piano’, in which the timbre of each note was altered by inserting various objects between the strings, Paik’s experiments from 1959 with television sets, in which the broadcast image was modified by magnets, culminated in his seminal exhibition ...

Article

Lucius Grisebach

(b Antwerp, Feb 5, 1940).

Belgian conceptual artist. He adopted the pseudonym Panamarenko at the outset of his artistic career. He studied at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp (1955–60), and at the National Hoger Instituut, Antwerp (1962–4). He was active in various Happenings in Antwerp between 1964 and 1966. With friends Hugo Heyrman (b 1942), Bernd Lohaus (b 1940) and Wout Vercammen (b 1938) among others, he produced a photocopied magazine called Happening News (c. 1964–6). From 1966 to 1968 he made what he called ‘poetic objects’, which included such quiet, contemplative works as Snow (leather bag, rubber boots, twigs and snow, 1966; priv. col., see 1978 exh. cat., p. 98) and Moths in Reeds (moths, reeds and motor, 1967; Naarden, Becht Col., see 1978 exh. cat., p. 103), and also a large, bicycle-driven structure, Aeroplane (aluminium and mixed media, 1967...

Article

(b Stockholm, June 4, 1934).

Swedish painter, printmaker and laser artist. He studied in Paris at Fernand Léger’s studio (1952). His work was linked in the 1950s and 1960s with that of Öyvind Fahlström in its random calligraphy of words and phrases and serially arranged signs; each artist shared an interest in merging painting, poetry and theatre. During the 1960s the Moderna Museum, Stockholm, was the setting for a number of contemporary international exhibitions and avant-garde events, where Reuterswärd mounted several mixed-media Happenings. In his work Mascot for ‘Movement in Art’ (1960) he bound a tailor’s dummy to a chair and later had it cast in bronze. From 1965 he taught at the Kungliga Akademi för de Fria Konsterna, Stockholm, and in the same year began his pioneering experiments in the use of laser beam (see Laser) and holography. A retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, in ...

Article

[Diter; Diterrot; Karl-Dietrich]

(b Hannover, April 21, 1930; d Basle, June 6, 1998).

Swiss painter, collagist, draughtsman and poet. Born of a German mother and Swiss father, he was evacuated in 1943 to Zurich, where he began to draw and write poems. By 1946 he had taken up etching and oil painting and in 1947 he left the Gymnasium in St Gallen to become a graphic design apprentice at Studio Friedrich Wüthrich in Berne, where he remained until 1951. While there he experimented with linocuts, woodcuts and collage and in 1950 took private lessons in lithography from Eugen Jordi in Kehrsatz. He tried unsuccessfully to refuse military service in 1950 but, following a year of feigning madness, was discharged from the army in 1952. In 1951 he met the poet Eugen Gomringer and the Swiss painter Marcel Wyss (b 1930) and with them co-founded the review Spirale in order to publish their poetry, the first issue appearing in 1953. In 1953...

Article

Constance W. Glenn

(b Kastoria, Greece, Sept 14, 1936).

American painter, sculptor and photographer of Greek birth. He immigrated to West New York, NJ, in 1948 and graduated from Rutgers University in 1959. He participated in the earliest Happenings, and he studied art history with Meyer Schapiro and acting at the Stella Adler Studio Theater. In 1960 he created the first of his well-known boxes, for example Box No. 3, 1962–1963 (New York, Whitney). His choice of media ranged from the sensuous to the menacing, and he preferred opulent textures and colours. Tacks, pins and shards of glass encrusted such early works as Book #4 (Dante’s Inferno) (1962; New York, MOMA). Always self-referential, he first secreted a photograph of himself in early boxes and constructions. On moving to New York in 1964 he created another unconventional self-portrait: a gallery installation, Room, inspired by his claustrophobic New Jersey bedroom.

From 1969 Samaras began to produce photographs using his body as subject and metaphor in a series entitled ...

Article

(b Groningen, July 1, 1942).

Dutch conceptual artist, film maker and television actor. He started to experiment with different coloured smoke in 1957. From the 1960s he was active as a Fluxus composer. In 1961 with Ger van Elk and the photographer Bob Wesdorp he founded the Adynamische Groep, which primarily reacted against post-war Expressionism. In 1962 he was given an exhibition at the Fodor Museum, Amsterdam, for which he covered the floor of a room with a 100 mm layer of salt and another with a few tonnes of broken glass. In pursuit of performance art, in 1963 he instigated a happening: he emptied a bottle of lemonade in the sea outside Petten, an action broadcast by Dutch television. In the same year he made a television programme about contemporary art (e.g. Fluxus, Pop art, Zero). Also in 1963 the fire brigade banned the performance of his Economic Concert (1958), which consisted of one single explosion on stage. Two years later he displayed a 5 m high purple chair in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam and organized an exhibition called ...